Back in the day. Just driving home from Salt Lake and had a random thought. Not sure where it came from. When I was a kid, non-varsity sports was how you discovered talent for varsity sports. Wrestling was how you discovered varsity wrestlers. The coaches picked out the biggest meanest looking guys and had them tear up the rest. Any survivors were varsity wrestlers. They didn't care much if you learned anything or not, because it was just a means of discovering varsity wrestlers, so no technique, no skills, unless you were in that top 5 or so, in which case anything you needed to learn would happen in the next few months or so of varsity wrestling.
Same for football. Have everyone slam into everyone else, throw the ball while someone tried to tear them apart, run like crazy while being chased by the varsity wrestlers, have the ball slammed into you at full force while you were running. Again, no real skills etc. unless you somehow qualified.
Same for baseball. Every pitch was aimed for your head at 70 mph. Every bat was tossed at you. Every tag was a spike in the crotch. Again, the winners....
Now things are quite a bit softer. Everyone gets a trophy. Everyone has the ball held for them while they try to aim for it with a foam bat. People with skills are kicked off the team. I think you get the idea.
It will be interesting to find out in 20 years or so which approach worked best when we either have leagues of super players beating all the records, or the whole pro sports thing falls apart because no one can hit a moving ball.