And absolutely, putting the player in a position to succeed is important. I can only speak from my observations over the years. For a development team, when a player is perceived to be weaker, he usually gets placed on the wing as forward or back. Over the course of a season, the coach starts playing a player more and more at the same position because he is more successful there. Same coach 2 years later, still favors playing that player at the same position 75% of the time. To me, that is human nature to find best fits for each player that allows the team the best opportunity to succeed. But I dont know if that is necessarily good for player development for 8-11 year olds.I don't put "weaker" players on defence - I put them where it appears they will have the most positive impact based on their needs. That might be forward or wherever. Other team might just put the weaker kids on defence, I don't know.
Reading your story is likely all too common. Likely why the 8-9 year olds on my team so often lack confidence in themselves and fear mistakes already. Not all of them, but maybe half of them? But, I understand this to be the case at most u-little clubs/teams, if not all of them. Makes me wonder where the TD's are? My club has a couple coach that works a lot with these kids, and I know they foster bravery in possession - so where's the gap? My guess is it's game day when the volunteer parent takes over.