Getting in the right mind for a big competition is key to success. Whether you’re about to run a 100 meter final or play in a World Series of Tennis, having the right mental approach is definitely the difference between winning and losing. Professional competitors are always looking to get a psychological edge over their opponents, with all sorts of tactics, tricks, and strategies coming into play to help winners get any sort of competitive edge.
One nasty but often effective way of getting into your opponents head is by trash talking. Ranging from mild comments about performance all the way through to extreme verbal abuse, many sportsmen and women resort to negative comments or overconfident remarks to play with their opponent’s emotions.
Trash talking isn’t just limited to certain sports. It can be found in pretty much any competitive environment, from professional horse racing to poker. Although it is seen as unsportsmanlike behavior, trash-talking is usually humorous in nature, relying on puns or hyperbole to get a rise out of the target, but it can and has got a lot more heated, sparking lifelong rivalries that began with trash talking or jibes related to the other person’s performance.
There certainly isn’t a shortage of ultra-competitive loudmouths in the world of sports and competitive gaming and you can lose several hours (I certainly did) watching highlights clips on YouTube. There is also a great infographic created by market leading gaming site 888poker, they have managed to summarize some of the best.
Many people believe that boxing legend Muhammad Ali invented trash talking, with The Greatest even releasing an entire album filled with his one-liners and musings. His put downs were often poetic, especially the line ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his fists can’t hit was his eyes can’t see’ line. This was in reference to his opponent Sonny Liston, who was expected to beat Ali convincingly, but the trash talk worked and Ali won the bout.
It’s almost certain that cricketers got there before Ali however. Sledging has been around as long as the game itself and there have been some classics over the years. Often deployed to put a batsman or bowler off their stroke, Pakistan batsman JavedMiandad did just that by calling Australia fast bowler and mustache enthusiast MervHughas a ‘fat bus conductor’ during a 1991 test. Minutes later, Hughes dismissedMiandad, running past and proclaiming ‘tickets please’. Even the best trash talk isn’t always the key to success.
Poker is another competitive game that sees its fair share of put downs and chatter around the table. Well, most of the share of trash talk goes down to PhilHellmuth. The big guy is notorious for his trash talk, bullying opponents, swearing and being extremely vocal when things don’t go his way. He isn’t alone however, Tony G has certainly got previous for mouthing off when he is on the receiving end of a bad hand.
There is no doubt that there are plenty of instances where trash talk has paid off in a competitive scenario, however, there is a large number of examples of famous personalities being left red faced!