It’s hard to know if your team is improving if you don’t set goals and keep track of them. Most coaches set Outcome Goals, which are highly dependent on the quality of one’s opponent and tend to reflect the Scoreboard. On the other hand, Effort Goals are largely under one’s control regardless of the competition and tend to reflect Mastery.
When you see players trying hard and failing to make a play, you can reinforce them by commenting on how hard they were trying. Of course we want results, but people tend to get reinforced only for good results. We don’t want kids to give up when the result isn’t good, so we need to reinforce even unsuccessful effort. If your players are only rewarded for successful outcomes, and they aren't sure they can come up with a successful outcome, they will tend to be discouraged.
adapted from The Double-Goal Coach by Jim Thompson