About Dr. Tom Hanson

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Tom Hanson, Ph.D.

I have coached baseball players ranging from World Champions to Little Leaguers since 1983.

I played high school baseball in Moorhead, MN, and college ball at Luther College (including 3 Iowa Conference Championships). I then served as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois, the hitting coach at The University of Virginia (3 years), and head coach at Skidmore College, NY (7 years). I also played rugby for 9 years (including 3 Big Ten Championships), coached youth sport teams and directed sports camps and clinics.

Baseball is my first love, but I’ve coached athletes in golf, softball, tennis, basketball, swimming, skiing, riding, volleyball, rugby, and others for many years, and have extensive experience coaching in the business world, particularly with CEO’s and high performance work teams.

baseball bat

Career highlights include:

  • Full-time Performance Enhancement director for the New York Yankees (2001)
  • Performance Enhancement Consultant for the Texas Rangers (1999, 2000)
  • Performance Enhancement services for Anaheim Angels & Minnesota Twins
  • Head baseball coach and tenured professor at Skidmore College (NY) (1990-1997).
  • Co-Author of Heads-Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time.
  • Interviews with Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Pete Rose, Tony Oliva, Carl Yastrzemski, Stan Musial, Kirby Puckett, Billy Williams and others for my research on the Mental Aspects of Hitting.
  • Interviews with pitching greats Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, Ferguson Jenkins, Bert Blyleven and many current major league players.
  • Corporate Coaching and Training for businesspeople and organizations ranging from Fortune 500 Companies to start-ups.


  • Ph.D. in sport psychology from the University of Virginia (1991)
  • M.S. in sport psychology from the University of Illinois (1987)
  • Certified Personal and Professional Coach, The Newfield Network (2000)
  • Certified Yoga Teacher, Kripalu Yoga Center, (1996)

“One Dramatic Adventure Changes Many Lives”


At age 36, Dr. Tom Hanson changed his life dramatically. 

Two years earlier he’d won the biggest prize in his field: Tenure.  A sport psychology professor and head baseball coach at a small liberal arts college in the Northeast, Hanson’s previous 6 years of work was scrutinized by the toughest committee on campus and they gave him their stamp of approval.  He had a secure job for the rest of his life.

To the shock of many, he soon left it all and set off on an extraordinary personal adventure.  “I just imagined how my life would be better if I could fully focus on what I was most passionate about,” he said.

His passion for enhancing human performance lead to the creation of his company, Heads-Up Performance, Inc. and consulting gigs with the likes of Microsoft, Fannie Mae, Kaiser Permanente and, in 2001, a full-time position coaching the New York Yankees.

“They were really good and wanted to get a lot better,” said Hanson of the Yankees, “that’s the profile of the people I help most.  Plus it fulfilled a life-long dream for me.  I like making dreams come true – especially mine!”

Bounty from Hanson’s personal adventure includes insider success secrets from elite performers in many fields.  Sometimes they came in formal interviews with people like Home Run King Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, or Fortune 500 executives, and sometimes they came from his individual coaching clients. 

“My doctoral research at the University of Virginia, my coaching, and most importantly, my personal experience show clearly that in order for people to make significant changes in their lives on the outside, be it getting rich, succeeding in their own business, or even losing weight, they need to first make significant changes on the inside,” Hanson said.  "They need to think better.”

Hank Aaron’s thinking changed Hanson’s life.  “He gave me a road map to high level, consistent excellence.  He transformed himself from humble beginnings to the breaking the most coveted record in American sports and attributes his success not to any particular technique or strategy, but to the mental approach he detailed to me.”

“My mission is to share the message that dramatic change is possible, and not all that hard, if you have some know-how, use your imagination, and take action.”

Hanson has had considerable success driving that message home.  His first book, Heads-Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time, has sold over 60,000 copies worldwide and is called “the bible for learning mental toughness in baseball” by the leading publication in amateur baseball.  It was required reading for the U.S. Olympic baseball team and many pro teams.

His second book, Who Will Do What By When: How to Improve Performance, Accountability and Trust with Integrity has already empowered thousands of leaders with a step-by-step guide for manifesting their vision.  Hanson’s coaching, keynote speaking, and products (including his latest, “Confidence Conditioning”) have all brought great acclaim.

Regardless of his audience, Hanson follows his dream by coaching others to reach theirs -- first by exercising their imagination, then by “stepping up to the plate” and getting into action.

As he sits poolside at his spacious home in Tampa, Hanson is a dramatic adventure away from his former job in the frozen Northeast, and is living proof that you can live the life you imagine.

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"We made significant improvements in significant areas in 2001 throughout our player development system, and Tom played a big part in our doing so.

" I recommend you let him do the same for you."

Mark Newman
Vice-President of Player Development
New York Yankees 

"Keep the great email coaching seminars coming. Not only do we use them as board material, but we discuss the articles with our players at our weekly "mental meeting" Thanks!
Brett Merritt
Assistant Baseball Coach
New Mexico Military Institute