The Hardest Sports to Master in the World

With all the sports available for participating and viewing, it’s hard to determine which is the most challenging to master. Some are harder to play; others are harder to break into professionally, some require more athleticism or the best fitness levels. How do you determine the hardest sport to master? When you think sports, football, baseball, and basketball may come to mind first. There are so much more, and unless you’re involved in the sport, you may not think about it as a contender for hardest to master. Let’s take a deeper dive into a few games to learn more.

sportsTough Sports

Regarding skills, danger, conditions, and degree of difficulty, the following sports top our listing in the tough as nails category.

  • Bull Riding: Saddle up a lil’ ole 1,700-pound bull and jump on! Ya’ got‘a be a diehard fan or lover of this sport to hang on for dear life. Of course, the fact that the bull wants to throw you and stomp your brains can be a big motivator.
  • Horseback Show Events: In this case, you not only need to be sure you’re in great shape, but you also must train the horse in more than one discipline. Dress, show-jumping, and cross-country training teach you about tough.
  • Big Wave Surfing: It looks like fun and all you need is balance, right? Not exactly, this isn’t just “normal” surfing. In this case, the waves can tower to 100 feet. Water conditions are often both dangerous and unpredictable.
  • Boxing: Fast feet, punches packed with power and endurance is needed to master this sport. Oh, also you need to avoid being hit, or worse, getting knocked out. Boxing experts tell us that taking hit after hit drains boxers of energy twice as fast as any other activity.
  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA): While it is akin to boxing, MMA requires a variety of fight tactics to survive in the ring. Let’s say a soccer player trains weekly; an MMA fighter can take months to prepare and train for an event.
  • Water Polo: How hard can it be to hop around the pool for heaven’s sake? Darn hard! Kicking, swimming and reaching for the ball requires an elevated level of physical fitness. And at the same time, try to avoid taking hits and drowning
  • Decathlon: You have two days to complete ten grueling events. Each requires a high degree of proficiency in the long/high jump, discus, javelin, sprinting, hurdling, shot put, pole vault, and both the 400 and 1,500-meter races. That’s a bit more than a day’s work!
  • Rugby: Resilience is the first word that comes to mind because the ball can be in play for what seems like forever. But you also need power, mental strength and endurance to make it in this sport. And the physicality of the players must be incredible to withstand the contact with the ball and other players.
  • Ironman: Anyone remember how intimidating the Black Sabbath song, “Ironman” was when you first heard those beginning sequences? Well, it is indeed intimidating with a 3.8-kilometer swim, followed by a hearty 180-kilometer bike ride and a quick 42.2-kilometer jaunt to wrap up the day.
  • Hurling: It’s more than just “tossing your cookies” with an upset tummy! Grab a stick made of ash called a hurley. Add a ball that is hard as steel called a sliotar and toss it around a field for a long 70-minute stretch.
  • Ice Hockey: The reason many of us love to watch hockey is the never-ending speed and action. Controlling the puck, stick handling, and passing are a few skills you need. Speed skating with a stick is the sum of this cool sport. During the off-season, players of this sport hold their breath, because it strengthens their oxygen intake and efficiency. Then there are the other players who make every effort to knock you off balance and grab the puck.


To wrap things up, let’s look at the most strategic sports and what makes them that way. This is another wide-open field of questioning. Everyone has their own opinion and reasoning skills. Here are few to get your thinking. These aren’t necessarily our views; we’re just giving you some thoughtful information.

  • NASCAR: Wonder what’s strategic about driving around in circles? When to take a pit break, when to put your foot up or to the metal, keeping your auto in shape and knowing what your car is telling you with each turn and each noise are a few of the skills of a driver. Always knowing where your competition is to avoid a race-ending wreck is on the minds of drivers and pit crews. Not as easy as it sounds!
  • Baseball: This game is all about the kind of pitch to throw, where to stand in the field, close in or deep. Consider teasing the pitcher with the possibility of stealing a base, or just go and steal. Knowing the count and when to run or hold, thinking fast to create double play opportunities, bunt, walk or hit the ball out of the park, are all things that this game’s players and coaches deal with during nine innings.
  • Football: Football has a strategy? Oh yes, it does! Think about: calling the plays; getting to a first down; pass or run the ball; unpredictable penalties and loss of yardage; keeping your quarterback safe in the pocket; who can get open; and who is open when the one you want to throw to has defenders all over him. Just a few things to ponder while you play for 60 minutes that is more like three hours often in extreme weather conditions. Personnel, injuries, offensive and defensive lineups and being in touch with the other team mentally and physically covers a wide variety of worries for players and coaches.
  • Golf: Most important, unlike the others, you want to have the lowest score at the end of this game. Here are a few strategic tips:
    • Aim for the fattest section on the green, not the pin. The pin is in different places on the green.
    • Watch the mechanics of your body and your club; knees bent, back arched, arms straight, feet pointing forward and about shoulder width apart, eye on the ball is a lot to manage. Some experts say that many golfers focus too much on the mechanics.
    • Positive thinking has an impact on your game.
    • Know which club to use and when.

Whatever your sport is and whatever you think about its strategy or how physically demanding it is; remember this: it’s the love of the game that really counts.

What Do You Think?

The Hardest Sports to Master in the World

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