Let me start by saying I can be & struggle with being negative. For me, not only was the glass half empty, the glass had a crack in it. I use to say "I'm not negative, I'm a realist." Sadly, I coached & lived that way.
Here is where I say thanks to my wife Paige, my friend Alan & influences like Coach Tom Crean, Jimmy Dykes & Jon Gordon for changing my life view. Now that's not to say I still don't get down; it's just not as often.
Negativity kills a program's culture. It's a cancer. It can come in so many different forms its hard to defend against. Whether it comes from a Coach verbally or their body language the leaders of the program have to set the tone. The same can be said for the leaders of the home. Parents' negativity can creep from their lips into your locker room. We all know we can't control every players parents or even everyone's feelings but we can set the tone. Be the thermostat, not the thermometer. So when is it okay to be negative? Here's my 3 points on Negativity.
There is a small amount of room for negativity in practice. I'd rather see a coach be negative in practice than during a game. LET ME CLARIFY. I'm not a sunshine & rainbows guy. I believe you teach basketball. I believe you coach kids. When a mistake happens, correct it don't compound it. I use the same terminology with my 4th grade son, my 7th grade son & my 12 grade players. The delivery is all that changes. It's like the pitching mound in baseball. The pitcher is stilling throwing to home plate, just the distance changes. It's hard to be an effective teacher if you're constantly negative. Think about when you learned to drive. I'd guess whoever taught you didn't sit & tell you how awful you were doing the whole time you were learning.
So when is the time to be negative in practice? Anytime you witness bad body language or lack of focus. Attack it head on but once it's dead move on. Some would say after a loss. Did your kids lose on purpose? If so time to get a Uhaul. Fix the problem, dont dwell on it.
Attack the Problem, not the Person
Pretty self explanatory. Fix what needs to be fixed. If it is an oncoming, repetitive problem fix the player. Remove them. Everyone deserves a second chance but not for the same mistake.
Address the mistakes made. Especially after a win. "Good win, we still need to get better at..." That creates a humble, hungry atmosphere. I am one of the ones that hate to lose more than I love to win. We're suppose to win. I use to have a sense of "just glad we didn't lose" after games. Where's the joy in that?! Being happy is a choice. Negativity is a choice.
After a loss, the negativity is already in place. Talk about why you lost. Talk about how to fix it. The main thing is do not let one loss snowball into more. I'm not suggesting you talk moral victories. That's ridiculous. You can play well & lose. There is no victory in that. Control the amount & time of negativity in your locker room. Losing is suppose to hurt. Every year all of us but one end with a loss. Losing is devastating. How you handle it determines how it handles you.
Hope this helps you out this season.