The contrast comment makes me worry about my calibration. I just re-calibrated yesterday and they definitely don't need contrast from where I am looking. The blacks are blackest black and whites are perfectly close to blown without going over the edge. Someone help? Maybe I am a bit heavy on the black point?
They all seem soft on the focus a bit. Almost a missed focus? I wonder if it's the size, maybe? Usually the smaller size is sharper, but I also know that TPF makes the images it shrinks look soft for some reason. They all seem focused on the ball instead of the faces which is where the action really is in sports. You want that face to be clear-capturing the emotion of the sport is the key.
It's not the contrast, underexposed by about half a stop or so though. The biggest problem is the background they are blending into. Not a lot you can do about that in a gym where the lighting over the stands is as good or better than on the floor.
The reason your photos look soft is because you didn't consider the lense DOF, the pictures are slightly out of focus, if you would have move closer to your subj or step up the aperture you would have gotten better results