An intriguing blend of science and sports that explores how some of the worlds greatest athletes are utilizing the last frontier of performance-enhancing technology—the mental mapping and engineering of their own brains—for peak performance, and what it means for the future of athleticism, sports, and the rest of us.
Moneyball showed how statistics were revolutionizing baseball. The Sports Gene revealed the role genetics play in sports. Now, Head in the Game examines the next evolution: how mental engineering—the manipulation of the cognitive processes of the brain—can make gifted athletes even better.
For years, technology—from EEG (electroencephalogram) to fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) to video games, tablets, and personal data collection devices—have been used with soldiers to understand their physical and mental functioning. Touching on brain functionality vital to sports—both the "hard" (coordination, stimuli processing, functional memory, decision-making, load-processing) and the "soft" (emotion regulation, visualization, psychology, mindfulness)—this tech is now being adopted by scores of championship franchises and top athletes—including scrappy underdogs forced to innovate and elite players looking for an advantage.
Star NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, the NBA’s Kyle Korver, and Olympic volleyball champion Kerri Walsh are using mental engineering to up their game. It’s not luck that has transformed the San Antonio Spurs into a formidable force—it’s science, Sneed demonstrates. As mental engineering becomes widespread—taking athletes who are already freaks of nature and making them better—the impact on the multi-billion dollar sports industry will be dramatic on players, managers, trainers, owners, and even fans. Interviewing athletes and coaches, visiting training camps and sports science firms, Brandon Sneed offers a firsthand, on-the-ground look at this exciting breakthrough that has the potential to transform to transform the game—and all our lives.
“Brandon Sneed offers a deep dive into the cranial lobes of elite athletes. You’ll marvel at what he uncovers.” — Jeff Pearlman, former senior writer at Sports Illustrated and New York Times bestselling author of Gunslinger, Showtime, Sweetness, and Boys Will Be Boys
“Sneed has shared insights that are not only often revelatory, but potentially life-changing, for any -- or all -- of us. No matter whether you come at Sneed’s work as a sports freak or a student of neuroscience, this is a goddamned jewel.” — Peter Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of Badasses
“Brandon Sneed has pulled off something extraordinary...Head in The Game is a graceful story about a revolution in sports and, ultimately, what it means to be a human being. A stunning work of narrative non-fiction.” — Lars Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including The Mannings and The Storm and The Tide
Brandon Sneed has written a thrilling manifesto that reveals the many ways we can enhance the efficiency of our brains to improve our games and our lives. — Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN investigative reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of First Off the Tee, Her Way, and Wonder Girl
“Sneed’s captivating voice bring into focus in marvelous detail to illuminate what lies ahead. Head In The Game is a remarkable examination.” — Brin-Jonathan Butler, author of The Domino Diaries (Boston Globe Best of 2015, PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing shortlist
This book is great. Anyone looking to learn more about the world around them and how the athletes they adore do what they do should read it immediately. — Will Leitch, author of Are We Winning? and God Save the Fan
In an engaging, articulate, entertaining way, he shows us how the very best athletes get an edge in a world in which finding an edge is nearly impossible. This book will captivate both casual and rabid sports fans. — Kate Fagan, espnW columnist and author of the forthcoming What Made Maddy Run?