I have read, Inadvertently Failing Our Players – and Intentionally Supporting Our Players! and fully agree with the content.
HOWEVER, the problem you are trying to tackle is not an issue in Holland. Wherever you go in Holland, any city or village, you will see sports-grounds and soccer fields.
Through the initiative of Johan Cruyff in each part of the city or village, we also have at least one or more Cruyff courts where the kids come together to play small-sided games with their friends or just whoever is at that moment available.
So young and old, talent or no talent, they just organize themselves and play. Sometimes small-sided games such as 4 v 4 or 5 v 5, or 6 v 6, but they can play 10 v 10 when too many kids are present. When there are only 2 boys or 2 girls, they can decide to play 1 v 1, and when they get tired, they start a penalty shoot-out or who hits the top bar of the goal most, etc.
So here they learn how to organize themselves: who brings the ball, who plays with who, are girls allowed to participate with boys, do we play with or without off-sides, do we play with or without free-kicks, throw-ins, etc.
After school, they go to club sessions where the coach will guide them to a higher standard related to their age and development level. But they always consider not to dictate but activate their imagination, creativity, and teamwork.
So you are right; a swimmer never learns how to swim without water!
Each session’s principle should be objective: how to score and defend > in between, there is a ‘transition.’
During warm-up, any fun game is welcome (Sharks & Minnows, King of the Dribblers, Simon Says’ and countless more.)
But ……………………………soccer is played with 2 goals!