Related Videos

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Michael Wynands

Have you got the skills required to play? From soccer, to baseball/softball, to gymnastics, these sports are harder than they may appear… WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Most Difficult Sports.

Special thanks to our user Rodolfo Hernandez for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/top+10+most+difficult+sports.


You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports

Have you got the skills required to play? Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Difficult Sports.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most challenging popular sports as ranked by ESPN and its panellists. These are based on a balanced evaluation of the endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye coordination, and analytical aptitude required to excel in the sport.

#10: Football [aka Soccer]

Requiring little equipment and with basics that are easy to learn, football has unsurprisingly become the most played sport in the world. That being said, while it might be easy to get involved, mastering the nuances and techniques of this game is anything but. Otherwise known as soccer, it is all about speed and control; it actually requires a higher level of agility than any other sport that we’ll be discussing today. Considering the size of the field and long periods of often-continuous play, it also demands extreme endurance. Add to that the analytical aptitude necessary to coordinate with your teammates and navigate your opponents, and you’ve got a game that is both physical AND cerebral.

#9: Baseball / Softball

It might involve a lot of standing around, but don’t let that fool you… baseball and softball are both seriously tough. While the endurance required is marginal compared to other sports, the level of hand-eye coordination they demand is off the charts. And apart from those two outliers, baseball – and its variant softball - requires a mid-to-high level of performance in pretty much every other one of the categories discussed. Analytical aptitude and raw power are both essential, as the sport is rooted in careful planning, split second decisions, and short but powerful bursts of energy. So yeah, there’s a fair amount of downtime, but players never stop thinking, and when they’re active… these athletes are giving it their all.

#8: Gymnastics

We’ve got one word for you: “flexibility”. As baseball is to analytical aptitude, gymnastics is to flexibility… and then some. Considering the fact that flexibility seemingly becomes an issue by default as we age, you can only imagine the sort of rigorous training that professional gymnasts go through to maintain the awe-inspiring range of movement essential to their sport. Of course, while professional gymnastics would be literally impossible without a high level of flexibility, that’s far from being the only factor. Just look at the sort of positions these athletes put themselves into - that requires power to achieve, strength to maintain, and nerves of steel to even attempt.

#7: Tennis

Like baseball, this racquet sport requires wicked hand-eye coordination. When being served, tennis balls are regularly travelling at well over 100 miles per hour; the WTA recognized world record is 157.8 mph for men, and 131 mph for women. Now imagine the sort of hand-eye coordination and reflexes required to not only hit a tennis ball travelling at those speeds, but also accurately redirect it. Then there’s the power necessary to hit them at that speed to begin with. If you’ve ever played tennis before, you’ll know that endurance is also a major factor; it takes excellent cardio to be able to keep moving around the court like that - agility too.

#6: Martial Arts

This one should come as a surprise to no one. To be involved in martial arts at a professional level involves extreme levels of dedication, physical fortitude, self-awareness and control. Regardless of which form of martial arts you’re talking about specifically, you’re going to need power, speed, agility, and durability to make it through a bout. Of course, the analytical aptitude also needs to be there since you’re going toe-to-toe with an opponent both physically and mentally, meaning that you’ve got to be able to analyze and adapt your approach as you go.

#5: Wrestling

On the subject of combat sports, how about this long-practiced form of grappling? It’s an interesting one because, like martial arts, it requires a fair amount of power and flexibility, but it differs from the former in that it demands significantly more strength. Unlike in mostsports, when wrestling, your muscles are exerting force for long periods of time rather than in short powerful bursts. The specifics vary depending on the type of wrestling that you’re doing, but in all forms of competition, a wrestler is grappling for superiority over their opponent or to push them out of the ring, both of which require tremendous strength to accomplish.

#4: Basketball

There are few professional sports that demand a more varied performance from their athletes than basketball. This relatively young sport, invented in 1891, is second only to football in terms of agility, but in almost every other regard, it is more taxing on the players. The style of play requires a high level of endurance and analytical aptitude, while the physicality of the sport demands strength, power and speed. Where it really stands out however, even within the context of other ball-based sports, is the hand-eye coordination involved. The target is incredibly small considering the distance from which the athletes are often shooting.

#3: American Football

Evolving out of traditional football (meaning soccer) and rugby, this distinctly American game takes a serious toll on its athletes. Protective equipment and all, the extreme physicality of the game is devastating and injuries are very common, meaning that it requires a high level of durability. The game is truly explosive in nature. While it may have a lot of stopping and starting, from the moment that the quarterback gets the ball… every player on the field, defense and offense alike, is giving one hundred percent to the task that they’ve been assigned. As such, the sport demands both strength and power of a level rarely seen in other sports.

#2: Ice Hockey

Requiring only marginally less durability than football (but still a whole of it), hockey is arguably the most technically complex team sport that an athlete can play professionally. The speed and style of gameplay require an incredible level of analytical aptitude, and the often lengthy periods of uninterrupted play demand an exceptional level of coordination between players. Of course, because of the physical nature of the game, strength, power, endurance, agility and speed are all prerequisites. Really… there a few aspects of athleticism in which hockey players can afford to not excel.

#1: Boxing

This long-popular combat sport requires an off-the-charts level of performance in more ways than one. The length of each round requires a high level endurance, while the nature of the competition demands peak power and strength. Speed and agility might not need to be quite as crucial as in some of the other sports discussed today, but depending on a boxer’s fighting style, they’re still major factors. Boxing requires comparable durability to American football, but admittedly more nerve and significantly greater hand-eye coordination. In many ways…a boxer is an athlete operating at peak competitive physical performance.


Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs