At half-time, we were down by 16 points, 20-4. I explained to the boys they needed to fight for those shots and rebounds. They said they couldn't do it because the other guys were too tall. They looked thoroughly depressed, beaten. I argued that our best rebounder is almost the shortest kid on our team, and they stopped arguing and listened. It was like a light bulb turned on. They started nodding and looking determined. I told them they could do it, that the other boys weren't that much taller; our team could come back in the second half.
Those boys went out there and played their hearts out, all of them. With 36 seconds left in the game, our team tied the score. When the other team made the winning shot, my poor team looked heart broken. I quickly pointed out they'd outscored the other team that second half, that they'd had their come back. I'm grateful their parents jumped in then with compliments. By the time we left, most of the kids were smiling, but they'd been so quick to blame themselves for losing the game. I can see that they're working hard and learning from their mistakes and that it would be a mistake for them to beat themselves up over the first half. So why am I so angry with myself for not calling that time-out? I don't know that they would have won the game if I'd called it, but boosting their confidence earlier, when I could see they needed it, couldn't have hurt. The next time I see a need for a time-out, I'm going to have the guts to call it.