Say what you want about John Calipari’s recruiting practices, but there is no question that he is a great coach – to mesh a brand new team each season is extremely difficult, and to do it with consistent success is quite impressive. But great coaches come with a side of crazy, and Calipari and his control issues are no exception.
That’s why we’re not surprised he monitors the heart rates of his players to see who’s not working hard enough.
From the mouth of Coach Cal himself:
“I have had to convince our guys that they aren’t working hard enough because they’ve been under the impression that they are. Each individual thinks they are working hard.
To help me do this, each player is now practicing and playing in games with a device that measures their exertion rate, sport zones, caloric expenditure and heart rate.
The device gives us the ability to monitor and check how much effort players are giving in real time. Because we are able to read their heart rates, now we know who is maxing out in practice and who is hiding, who thinks they’re going hard and who isn’t, who is able to push themselves through pain, and who has mental toughness to be special.”
His players operate at a 90% heart rate during games, so he wants to mimic that intensity in practice. Big Brother implications aside, the intention, at least, seems genuine.
But Calipari claims there’s a more noble purpose in all of this as well – that due to the monitors, he knows that his players burn anywhere from 5,000-6000 calories per day playing basketball and working out. This means that they need to replenish accordingly, and he wants to make it his business to ensure that they’re fed properly too.
We’re just afraid that Calipari might be taking it a step too far, getting all up in his players’ business like that. Because sometimes you just shouldn’t help your players become people that they’re not.