Originally Posted by rusak
Sparring is what you make of it. Some sparring isn't worth a damn but you can practice some very real things if you want. The problem with your analogy (starting a job and not being good at it) is that you don't recognize that sparring is a kind of experience. It's not the equivalent of simply "knowing how" to do something.
Itīs an experience in a protected and controlled environment. I donīt say itīs invaluable, it is very much but not as much as actual fighting experience.
and aside of that, the "old timers" - what do you understand there? - sparred. A lot. Probably more than most fighters today.