Dan Peterson - Author, Speaker and Athlete Cognition Coach

Welcome to 80 Percent Mental!
As Yogi Berra, longtime player/manager for the Yankees, so clearly articulated, “Baseball is 80% mental, and the other half is physical.”  While Yogi’s math was a little off, he captured the dual worlds of athletic performance.  Impressive size, strength and speed is helpful but not sufficient for getting young athletes to the next level of competition.  They need to be able to sense, perceive, process and react to the ever changing dynamics of a game to take advantage of their physical abilities.

How many times have you heard a coach or even a player blame a “mental mistake” for poor results? A base-running error, an unrecognized blitz or an imperfect pass originates in the athlete’s brain and ends with the wrong signals being sent to those well-conditioned muscles. 80 Percent Mental was created in 2010 to study the latest cognitive science research for clues on how to improve an athlete’s brain processes, including vision, reaction, perception, pattern-recognition, learning, and decision making.   There’s over 250 science-based articles in the 80% Mental Blog to help you understand not only the brain but also to give you real world tips and tricks to improve your “sports cognition”.

After 15 years of focus on these topics, I have learned that the neuroscience community is only at the tip of the iceberg of understanding an athlete’s brain.  Still, there has been an enormous amount of progress during that time and my goal is to synthesize the current research from the lab into bite-size chunks that players, parents and coaches can use everyday.

What is an Athlete Cognition Coach?
Athletes and coaches at the youth, high school and college level need to add cognitive assessment and training programs that include unique technology to supplement traditional sport coaching.

Here's just a few ways that we help athletes and teams:

  • Education for coaches (and parents) on the latest research to understand how developing athletes learn sports skills and make in-game decisions.
  • Cognitive assessments that identify an athlete's strengths and weaknesses in:
    • Focused Attention
    • Visual Perception
    • Pattern Recognition
    • Reaction Time
    • High Speed Decision Making
  • Training programs to improve athlete decision making
  • Integration of training with advanced sports analytics to show improvement and progress

Please contact me anytime to discuss how these concepts and ideas can help your young athletes train their brains for better results.


Dan Peterson
Founder and Athlete Cognition Coach