The important thing to remember when handling a loss is that you have to be very careful. Choose your words and actions wisely because if you handle a loss poorly, you could easily lose respect from your team. For example, do not reprimand or punish the team if their heart was in the game. They do not deserve to be punished. Losses are a big part of the game so dealing with them appropriately is important.
The worst thing you can do is overreact. People are very reactionary, so coaches must never react spontaneously. After a big loss, all coaches should have a cooling-off period. When we bring too much emotion to the game, we tend to make bad decisions. So, as a coach, if you are feeling emotional after the game, take a minute and reach for that scorebook, study it, and really analyze where the mistakes were made.
If the mistakes were mostly physical, those can easily be corrected. For example, defensive errors, base running errors, not getting bunts down, etc. These errors you can work on in practice. It’s the mental errors, the lack of hustle that typically hurt more than physical errors. These should be addressed in a classroom manner. You can do this by dissecting film, dissecting the book, the will and the desire of the team. If there is a lack of desire to win, then that is the rotten apple that can spoil the bunch. It is important to take control of those issues before they get out of hand.
With this in mind, it is crucial you pay attention to whether or not they were focused and their heart was in the game. If you players were invested in the game, you must make sure you do not berate or discourage them. This could make them lose their confidence. An unconfident team will never be a successful team.
When disciplining an athlete, you must be cautious how you talk to them. Make sure you do not come off harshly. Calmly let them know the mistakes they have made and give them a game plan on how to correct those mistakes. By giving them a game plan, you are showing them you have confidence they can do better.
After a bad loss, never beat your team down; motivate them to do better. One essential aspect of being a coach is being able to motivate your team. Losses are part of the game. They are going to happen. How you and your team deal with losses can make or break a team.