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Calpari knows it is embarrassing to players when he says they are soft


Freshman Alex Poythress balked Monday at coach John Calipari’s belief that UK is too soft and said he was working on being more physical every day. Calipari didn’t seem surprised that Poythress disagreed with his assessment of the team’s play.

“He’s getting better, but see it’s hard because it’s embarrassing when you say to a guy, ‘You’re soft.’ So when I tell them, ‘You’re not tough enough, strong enough,’ that’s embarrassing. So you got to deal with the embarrassment of it,” Calipari said. “You also got to deal with the ignorance of it. Not that you’re dumb. You just don’t even know how to be physical, how to be tough, how to wedge. So that’s something that I deal with as a coach every year. Not just this year. It’s what you deal with.”

Calipari said more players need to change their mental approach like Wiltjer did a month ago after the coach publicly called him out for his lack of defense.

“Kyle Wiltjer changed his mental attitude toward practice. He loves walking in. He’s changed how he approached practice, his habits in practice, and it’s changed him. Now they’ve all seen it, but here’s what it is — really hard,” Calipari said. “Anything worth having is a dogfight to get. Stuff that’s free and all that stuff, it’s not worth having anyway. So that’s where we are. But like I said, we’re just going day to day, making strides, trying to keep ourselves in the right frame of mind, yet getting them to come to grips and be honest with each other.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/calpari-knows-it-is-embarrassing-to-players-when-he-says-they-are-soft/


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  1. grant

    Being called soft is probably hard for top flight talent to swallow, since probably 7th grade(or younger) they have all been told that they poop ice cream to borrow a calism.

  2. King Ghidora

    The reason Cal is where he’s at is he doesn’t pull punches with his players but at the same time they know he has their best interests at heart. It’s his job to tell his players how to improve. It’s their job to listen. When everyone does their job UK wins national championships.

    I do think that sometimes a kid just isn’t ready to play as tough as Cal (and other coaches) would like. Their bodies just aren’t ready for it. The thing is they will never be ready until they go to work on it. I remember my high school football coach talking me into running track just to keep in shape and to get in even better shape. At first I wasn’t anxious to do it because I had other plans but I did do it and it made a huge difference in my stamina by the time football season rolled around. Of course the track coach, who just happened to be the football coach too, about killed me in the process. :) Those 400 meter races are just murder. They will kill you or cure you as they say. I could actually win running 200 meters but that didn’t matter. I was stuck with the 400 meter races because the coach had a different motivation besides winning races. He wanted me ready for football practice. I got to run those 200 meter races as a senior when there was no more football to look forward to. If any of you have ever run track you’ll know that the 400 is the toughest race there is. It’s full speed until you heart quits on you – not totally quits of course, you just can’t run any more. That will get you in shape in a hurry.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      Burn Baby, Burn !

      1. King Ghidora

        You’ve been there I see. :)

  3. LindaS

    I don’t think the boys should be treated with kid gloves, but I wonder how much his words actually make these kids think they are not worth his time. It has to be a rude awakening to hear you elite coach say some of the things he has said. I don’t remember in the past 3 seasons he has ever said some of the things he has said. It seems by Feb. he is talking about how good they are and how much better they will be. He mentioned the other night that most of these young men should come back next year. That might burst his bubble, he seems to like to round ‘em up and head ‘em out.

    1. Anonymous

      Tough Love is OK…plus, remember, where not there when the hugs, encouragement and Trust, are truly being built.

    2. King Ghidora

      We should be careful assuming Cal’s tone from news reports even when Larry writes them. There is only so much you can put in a report.

      At the same time tough love has always been a big part of coaching. Most coaches are all tough and very little love in fact. The kids learn that’s part of the process from an early age and that it makes them play better. Clearly sometimes it goes too far but those coaches rarely win anything. But every kids knows the old Leo Durocher quote, “Nice guys finish last.” That includes the coaches.

      Cal is still one of the nicest people in sports IMO. He tells the truth even when it steps on toes. And the truth will set you free. And in this case it will make you rich if you’re a UK player. And those guys already know they are talented or they wouldn’t be playing for the Cats.

      Don’t worry LS. It takes being around a team to really know what it’s like being on a team. And they do treat women’s teams different most of the time. The great coaches don’t but they wouldn’t be called great if what they did was commonplace.

      1. King Ghidora

        BTW LS you know I’m not trying to talk down to you. I think the world of you and your passion. The BBN sticks together.

        1. LindaS

          I know that King, you would never do that. It’s nice we can each comment and respect each other. That is what is so great about being a true blue fan. I love your post also. You have so much info in that brain of yours!

          1. King Ghidora

            LOL Actually I just know how to use a search engine. :)

  4. LindaS

    Most of the stuff I have heard I have seen on the internet from Cal’s interviews after the games and before the games. I’m not worried, this is still my team no matter what.

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