What We Do

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 2014 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.  

Hundreds of times per game, an athlete repeats a process we call the Athlete Cognition Cycle®, including the three components of Search-Decide-Execute.

What is an Athlete Cognition Consultant?
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:

  • Educational presentations for coaches (and parents) on the latest research to understand how developing athletes learn sports skills and make in-game decisions.

  • Vision and Cognitive assessments that identify an athlete's strengths and weaknesses in:

    • Focused Attention

    • Visual Perception

    • Pattern Recognition

    • Reaction Time

    • High-Speed Decision Making

  • Integration of training with advanced sports analytics to show improvement and progress

Who We Are

Dan Peterson, M.S. - Co-Founder and Director

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Specializing at the intersection of neuroscience and sports performance, Dan combined twenty-five years of technology management experience with his second life as a sports dad and coach to explore how athletes make decisions.

After years of focus on these topics, he 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 that allows coaches to synthesize the current research from the lab into bite-size chunks that players, parents and coaches can use everyday.

Now, as co-founder and director of 80 Percent Mental Consulting, he works with coaches, trainers and teams to understand and improve their cognitive game. Dan and his wife live near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Leonard Zaichkowsky, Ph.D. - Co-Founder and Senior Consultant

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As a professor, researcher and consultant for almost four decades at Boston University, Len pioneered sport psychology by bringing cognitive neuroscience and sport performance together as an interdisciplinary science. His academic textbooks and research publications demonstrated the importance of an athlete’s remarkable brain in anticipating and acting on opportunities during competition.

He has consulted with teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, Australian Rules Football, the Spanish men’s national soccer team, and Olympic sport organizations around the world. Len is a former president and a fellow of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, and currently section editor on psychology for the International Journal of Health & Sport Science. Recently, the American Psychological Association honored Len with the “Distinguished Service to the Profession” award.

Today, Len is a co-founder and senior consultant at 80 Percent Mental Consulting, advising coaches, teams and sports organizations on developing athlete cognition. After too many Boston winters, he and his wife now live in Fort Myers, Florida.