Bottom Line - quit looking for the negative and start looking for the positive in your players. Start writing it down and talking to each player about the positive area of their game. When players realize that you are going to talk about positive things that they have done they will work even hard so that you will have more positive things to say about them.
Write the name of each player on a piece of paper. If there is a specific action you want to look for with that player (for example, hustling back on defense, blocking out for rebounds, stayed in the batters box, didn't watch third stike go by) write it next to the players name. Look for the positive things players do. Whenever you see one, jot a note under the player's name. (Over time you'll develop your own shorthand. The key is to write enough so you'll remember it when you get to step #5 below.)
Remember to look for the team-building things that players do to encourage each other as well as their physical actions. Make sure you have about the same number of comments (3-5 is good) for each player. You may have to look hard with some players. And you may have to limit the number of comments for the advanced players. Be disciplined: at the end of the game you should have 3-5 items for each player. Be honest. Don't be tempted to make something up or write something that isn't true about any player. This is the hard part - you have to find something positive about each player. It may be a small thing, but you can find it if you look hard enough. At your next practice, begin with a quick team meeting in which you review your positive charting with your team. Take each player in turn and share with the group the positives. This should take no more than 30 seconds or so per player. Enjoy the positive energy of your players during practice.
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