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John Calipari encouraging his players to trash talk to improve confidence

“Convince yourself you’re going to play better.”

Texas A&M-Commerce v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Just five games into a season with one of the youngest rosters in college basketball, John Calipari is trying to coach some of his players up.

With Kentucky Wildcats Basketball being a program with high expectations, a player could soon begin to be critical of themselves and lessen their confidence.

After Kentucky’s 96-88 overtime win over Saint Joseph’s, Calipari talked about some advice he gave his player in his postgame radio interview.

“I even said if you’re not playing well, start talking a little bit,” Calipari said he told the players. “Like, convince yourself you’re going to play better, ‘Imma kill you.’ The guy just said, ‘You missed a three, you missed a dunk. What are you talking about?’ Yeah, you’ll see the next play. I’m busting you.”

Calipari’s trash talk could use some improvement, but he makes a valid point. Basketball has a big mental aspect, and overthinking or too much self-criticism can certainly hurt a player’s performance. In contrast, positive thinking and self-confidence can improve a player’s performance.

As Calipari said, That’s what great players do; they talk themselves into it. Let’s hope these Wildcats can learn to do the same.