January 12, 2013

The Art of Trash Talking

By - Jaquan Murphy

Trash talking. It's something we've all done at one time or another. But what makes someone good (or bad) at it?

The first thing is understanding that trash talking is almost a form of art. Yes, there are rules and guidelines. It's all an unwritten code that a person needs to understand in order to effectively get a guy out of his game.

Ever seen someone get knocked out, or an altercation break out as a result of someone talking smack? Well that is the result of somebody breaking one of the rules of what not to say.

Photo by: Getty Images
Contrary to popular belief, trash talking is not one of those 'anything goes' type of deals. Certain things should not be brought onto the field of play. For example, someone's personal life should not be thrown at them.

That means the next time you are playing a pick-up game with your buddies and you and a friend are battling for position in the post, saying, "your post game is why your girlfriend left you," is unacceptable.

Talking about someone's significant other in an explicit manner is also a big no-no. So Kevin Garnett was in the wrong saying Carmelo Anthony's wife, La La Vasquez, "tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios."

It was still pretty damn funny, though.

So what is acceptable? Although cliche, the old-fashioned momma jokes are always good. If one of your buddies drops an easy pass during a pick-up football game, hitting him with a, "your crusty old momma could have caught that," is perfectly acceptable.

Along the lines of what's acceptable leads into the next step in talking smack -- knowing your opponent. Knowing them and their tolerance level, and even what gets them out of their game, is key to being a good trash talker. It is very important to know your opponent's limit. How many buttons you need to push to get them out of their game, and what buttons shouldn't be pushed.

Remember, trash talking has a threshold. Once the opponent hits that level, you have successfully taken them out of their game. Once you pass that threshold, however, you are treading on thin ice. That can lead to a result you may not want.

The final and perhaps most important aspect of talking smack is not letting it take you out of your game. You can not be more focused on trying to take your opponent out than actually producing and trying to win. Having a guy outplay you while you're doing all the talking is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world, so be sure to keep the main goal in mind while trying to take someone out of their game.

Whether it's playing a pick-up game with some friends or an intense matchup on a video game, trash talking is an art. It's not just say what you want when you want, it's all about saying the right things at the right time.

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