In the athletic realm, I think there are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to competition. One end would be considered competitive and would include things like professional sport. the other end to me would be recreational sports or even just play in a field or park. I think both of these types and everything in between are important for athletic development and time should be dedicated for all of these levels of competition.
It is very common for me to see a lot of competitive stuff in practices that mimic games, but I think sufficient time also needs to be alotted for athletes to play and "mess around" almost. From what I've seen, this part of sport is severely lacking from the past and I think the current trend is tedious and boring for the athelte which is one reason for burnout. During play time, atheltes are encouraged to try skills they normally wouldn't or play different positions and learn the game from another "angle". All of this is beneficial to me even though I used to be a "strickly business" kind of person as an athlete. Now that I coach, I can see the benefit of play time and the amount of learning this way is invaluable and hard to achieve in other areas of practice.
Thank you for reading and let's try to incorporate unorganized play time into our practices a lot more frequently.