@Dennis Wright Chris told me that by two weeks into his season, he ran his entire practice 5v5 live, breaking that occasionally for small sided games to polish skills needing work. At the HS level, that would be chaos for me.

However, I am far more games-based then i used to be, with the simple philosophy of inverting the traditional skill acquisition model you mention. Rather than skills-to-games, I try to start with a constrained game first and let them flop about for a bit. Then I step in and teach the skill needed to “unlock” the game, using breakdowns as needed. Then, we return to the game. By tightly integrating the acquisition with the game play, I found dramatically improved retention and live game transfer of the concepts I wanted to see.

In storytelling (I’m a writer), we say “Boredom is getting the answers to questions you never asked.” Sucking at a constrained game creates the need for the untaught skill. When the teaching comes, it fulfills that need, increasing interest and learning focus. Having immediate success with that skill then better cements it into the player’s game. 

Play around with it and see if it works for you.