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Korem wants players to leave the headphones at home

You won’t catch many Kentucky football players listening to music through their Beats By Dre headphones prior to games, thanks to a new locker room philosophy from Erik Korem, UK’s high performance coach. Korem encourages players to create their own music and generate excitement from within.

“We actually showed them, through research, that there is something called ‘fight or flight’ response, and when you’re about to go in the game, or if you’re about to get into a fight, your nervous system excites. But when you’re constantly plugged into music, we found that your body doesn’t have that natural response.” he explained.

“When we first started training, we wanted to show these guys how to naturally, and fully control what we call their ‘arousal levels’, and it wasn’t fun at the beginning, but then we explained to them that, ‘Guys, you have to learn how to create your own music’ and it started to click with them that YOU create your own level of excitement. You don’t want to be hooked on some type of stimulus.”

Korem also encourages players to leave the headphones at home when they’re walking around campus so they don’t miss out on life around them. That can’t be an easy lesson to teach 19- and 20-year-old college students.

Watch Korem’s high performance interview with CBS below:

[via Football Scoop]

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

30 Comments for Korem wants players to leave the headphones at home



  1. I Am Spartacus
    1:33 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with E.K.



  2. Axe Cop
    1:35 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Arousal Levels. Hmmmm.



  3. AnthonyBBN
    1:42 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    I love when science gets applied to anything.



  4. The Hoff
    1:44 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Couldn’t they keep their Beats By Dre headphones but right before the game play the Night Court Theme Music for the whole team. That should also work….scientifically speaking.



  5. Josh
    1:51 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Sounds like an old man shaking his fist at the young whippersnappers. “Get off my lawn!”



  6. O T I S
    1:54 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    2-10 with headphones, 2-10 without headphones
    Irregardles there record ain’t gonna change



  7. UKBLUE
    1:57 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Good, players or people in general look stupid walking around with headphones. Kids now adays do a really good job making themselves look stupid!



  8. Mike In The Wood
    1:57 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    I hope the cheer squead loses their headphones. I think I already read this in penthouse forum.



  9. AnthonyBBN
    2:00 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Hey O T I S, don’t make a sweeping comment like that when you have no proof. Of course I believe the record this year will probably end up being 3-9, I really think we have a shot against Missouri. BUt you notice I don’t put certainty there because who knows what the future brings, just enjoy the ride. That is hard with Card fans.



  10. CATUSA
    2:10 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Wow, lets blame the headphones. I wonder why people make fun of us, surely could not be articles like this….



  11. Dr. Davis
    2:18 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Korem is 100% correct and I am surprised it has taken this long to realize that the use of headphones/earphones to drown out the environment will have a negative effect on performance.



  12. HicksPickSix
    2:19 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    @ CATUSA – Surely you meant to be grammatically incorrect in your post, right? As a lifelong Kentucky fan, I’m sure you’ve also never heard of other fan bases making fun of us for our supposed intellectual shortcomings, yeah? “Let’s” make the sarcasm more clear next time…



  13. Bob Marley
    2:20 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain



  14. Mista Rodgas
    2:23 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    I would recommend a nice bottle of wine and some Barry White on vinyl if the goal is to increase arousal levels. Works like a charm



  15. BigBlue
    2:25 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    You guys are idiots…let Korem do what he is doing..he knows what he is doing.



  16. Smiley Pete
    2:27 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Just give them all a small hit of bath salts amiright?



  17. Jack Nicklaus
    2:35 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    This kids and their dang rock n roll. I bet they talk on the telephone all night too!



  18. DH
    2:45 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    O T I S, also learn how to spell, learn the difference between their, there, and they’re, and more importantly, learn that “irregardless” isn’t a word. I sure hope you’re a UL fan…



  19. DavidUNC
    2:51 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    This is dumbest idea i’ve ever heard and clearly comes from someone who has never really played sports. Music puts your mind in focus. Music gets you way more hype than any other natural stimulant can. Go look at powerlifters before they lift. Better yet go walk on to a techno club dance floor. They are clueless about what it takes. Plus they’re only playing in front of 30,000 people. If that doesnt do it, nothing can.



  20. Ryan Bowlds
    2:57 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    How about we start worrying about a gameplan and not wether or not someone should wear headphones. All college athletes and NFL players do it, why UK thinks its going to help is beyond me. We need better players period.



  21. FIRE KOREM
    2:58 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    That’s it! Fire our high performance coach! DavidUNC has clearly not only played sports, but he has also listened to music. Surely he’ll be able to get our team techno club dancing all over our opponents. MAN our highly paid coaches are clueless.



  22. BluKudzu
    3:06 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    At least get them a higher performing set of headphones. Klipsch is a ton better, lighter, and about 1/4 the cost. Audiophiles everywhere laugh at those wearing the ridiculous looking, overpriced, awkward headsets from Dre. It is a fad like a tattoo, showing your individuality by doing what everyone else does.

    Rock on Cats!



  23. DavidUNC
    3:21 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Having your team come out of the locker room looking and feeling like they’re leaving out of church is not a good idea.



  24. DH
    3:49 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    DavidUNC, you think they’re going to come out of the locker room feeling like they’re leaving church because they’re not listening to headphones? The idea is for them to create their own energy so it can be sustained during the game. You know, when they’re not allowed to wear headphones…



  25. jonathan
    3:57 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    yes, we should just conform to what everyone else has always done because, well, that’s the way it’s always been done and it isn’t hurting anyone, right? far be it for us to allow evolutionary-based science into the equation so that a program – who’s behind in many respects and trying to close the gap – can find a way to optimize training and maybe, just maybe extract some benefit thereafter. DavidUNC and Ryan, how about pulling your heads out of the sand and acknowledge that, while you may not fully understand something, that doesn’t mean there’s no merit to it? thanks.



  26. Ryan
    4:14 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Jonathan, did you play sports? When I play, having music before games is essential for my warm up. It gets me in a zone. You ever worked out with music and then not with music? For me, my workouts are much better with music. Heavy metal is like a PED. Evolutionary science? People believe anything that’s based on “scientific research”. How does one actually prove what they are saying? They can’t, it’s all speculation based on trials with different people. That research doesn’t crossover to every single person. Your energy is built up based on what you believe helps you not what someone else believes. So if the players believe it will help them then it will, if they don’t then they’ll be sitting there saying i wish i had some music to listen to. And you need to get your head out the sand if you think we are closing any gaps in football based on stuff like this. If anything they should have speakers in the locker room for all the players to listen to, that way they can accumulate a collective energy as a team.



  27. DH
    4:23 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Ryan, I played sports and had no problem getting up for a game without music. If you need outside stimuli to get ready for the sport you love to play, especially when that sport involves beating the chit out of somebody, then there may be something wrong. And as far as your idea of speakers in the locker room so everybody can listen to the same thing, you do know not everybody likes the same music, right?



  28. Charlie S
    4:36 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    DavidUNC, does the UNC stand for Uneducated Nut from Carolina? You speak with all of the intelligence of an 8 year old.



  29. Dan
    4:39 pm September 18, 2013 Permalink

    I really like Korem’s approach and think that over time, it will make a huge difference. A lot of what I’ve seen over the last few months is really cool and based valid science, such as the performance trackers (which I believe includes HRV training, and HRV is awesome). I never really thought about the music thing, but I can see where constant stimuli throughout your daily life can keep your arousal levels (don’t be immature, folks… That doesn’t mean sexual arousal) too high all the time so that you’re down when the stimulus is removed. It makes sense in a way. I know that I’m much more focused when I put down the electronics, and that includes music. I say give it a shot. If it helps, great, and if it doesn’t, well it couldn’t really get that much worse, right?



  30. Walsh is Gay
    11:33 am September 19, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah this is bull and a half. I work out regularly, and played football for over a decade.. Let me tell you, you have a selection of songs which are your pre-game ritual, and “creating your own music” is idiotic, borderline “flu shots cause autism” nonsense.

    You have songs you listen to to get you into that killer, fly off the line zone. You *listen* to them, not song them. If I wanted to sing those songs to get into the zone, I’d join a band, or the chorus.

    But I’m playing sports, or working out. I want to listen to my music, and “create my energy, naturally” on the field, not singing and dancing around in the locker room before hand.

    This is basically an example of a new coaching staff taking stabs at experimental coaching styles to throw them at the wall and see what sticks. Will this style of coaching work for some of our players? Probably yes. For all? Almost certainly not. It’s ridiculous to ban headphones, maybe the dumbest thing I’ve heard from the football staff all season.

    But with this kook behind a whistle for Kentucky? Maybe not the dumbest thing we will hear this season..