Feature Friday: A Dad Dissects the Mental Aspect of Sports
Every Friday we chat with one of our blog content network contributors to find out what most inspires them to be fit and find adventure every day.
This week we’re chatting with Dan from 80% Mental.
Dan is a self-described “sports dad” who blogs about cognitive science research in order to uncover clues that might help explain how an athlete can develop their brain processes—including vision, reaction, perception, learning and decision making—in order to improve performance.
Read on to find out how he became interested in and started blogging about the science of sports, an interesting fact that you probably didn’t know about your own brain and more!
The Active Times: How did you first become interested in the neuroscience of sports?
Dan Peterson: I’ve always had a fascination with the brain, especially how athletes learn the complicated set of motor skills and tactical awareness they must have to compete.
What spurred you to start your blog?
After 15 years of being a sports dad/coach and 10 years of being a researcher/writer, 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 every day.
What's one thing many people don't know about the brain?
That you are not stuck with the brain you were born with. Like muscles, you can train, change and improve the structure of your brain for activities you want to conquer.
If money were no object, what piece of kit or equipment would you buy?
A personal fMRI machine to measure my own brain activity.
What is the one book everyone should read about the brain?
“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
What is your favorite quote, and what do you so like about it?
“Baseball is 80% mental and the other half is physical.” - Yogi Berra; I liked it so much, I named my blog after it!
Where is your favorite place to be?
In front of my laptop, researching and writing.
Read more on Dan's site, blog.80percentmental.com