The top 8 hardest sports

I was an athlete my entire life up until college. I played and participated in a lot of sports including gymnastics, dance, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, track and field, figure skating, cheerleading, cross country, and tennis (to name a few). Further, I believe I am the most informed and educated person to make an accurate list of the hardest sports – I’m kidding, of course! But, in no particular order, here is my very opinionated list of the top eight hardest sports in the world.

  1. Hockey
    I did figure skating as a child for a solid year and promptly quit after I could not pass the “level 2” class at my local ice rink. I also played floor hockey a lot in gym class, and it was quite the challenge. Now combine those two things, and you have my worst nightmare! I mean I’ve never actually played, but it has to be super hard, right? In all seriousness, the endurance, strength, speed, and agility it takes to play hockey is extremely challenging and definitely constitutes a reason to make my list.
  2. Gymnastics
    I was a junior Olympic competitive gymnast for 10 years. So, maybe I’m a little biased here, but I cannot name another sport that defies the laws of physics quite like gymnastics. Of course, gymnasts are strong and flexible, but overall, they are extremely brave. I mean, do you want to throw your body over a four-inch piece of wood? I sure didn’t! That’s why I’m not a gymnast anymore!
    The apparatus I was referring to there is the balance beam, but the uneven bars, floor exercise, vault, parallel bars, rings, high bar, and pommel horse all require unique and intense training to perfect. I think a lot of people underestimate the mental and emotional strain this sport causes on people because it is so dangerous and detailed. That’s not to say other athletes don’t experience mental strains and pressure, but out of all the sports I competed in, gymnastics stressed me out the most.
  3. Boxing
    Boxing made my list because it is so taxing. I would be willing to argue boxers need as much endurance as marathon runners. Okay, maybe not that much, but they do seriously need a lot.
    Volunteering to get punched in the face for (at the maximum) 12 rounds may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you cannot deny it is difficult. It is one of the few sports where athletes go into a match expecting serious physical damage. Again, I am aware athletes can suffer from physical injuries in all sports, but boxing basically welcomes the injuries. Some may say that makes the sport of boxing stupid, but I say it makes it difficult.
  4. Figure Skating
    This may be my 10-year-old self talking, but figure skating is so difficult. As stated previously, I literally could not pass the second level of my beginner figure skating program. Before anyone says, “Well, maybe you were just a bad athlete,” well, maybe I was! Or, maybe figure skating requires a level of agility, artistry, and balance that only a few talented individuals truly possess. A lot of people have two left feet when it comes to non-professional dancing, so doing a much more advanced version of that on ice seems kind of impossible.
  5. Wrestling
    In high school, I was the wrestling team’s manager. I witnessed a lot of blood, sweat, and (sorry if this is gross) vomit at those meets. I have never seen athletes so passionate about their sport; I have also never seen athletes so exhausted after a match. The proof that wrestling is especially challenging was watching those high school athletes walk off the mat utterly exhausted and dehydrated to the point of fainting, puking, and overall, being generally ill. Listen, I am not saying this is a good thing, but I do think it is a tell-tale sign of how challenging this sport is.
  6. Tennis
    I played tennis for two short years, and let me tell you, it was not challenging in the slightest; however, I also did it when I was about eight. With that said, after watching professional tennis matches, I can put it on my list confidently. Once again, it comes down to the level of endurance these athletes must have. I know other factors like strength, physicality, and speed are also important components when considering which sports are the hardest, but in my opinion, endurance is one of the most difficult skills to build. Not to mention the fact that tennis also does include a ton of speed, strength, and agility.
  7. Rugby
    I really don’t know much about rugby, but I often hear it referred to as “American football mixed with soccer on steroids,” and that definitely seems like a challenge to me. Rugby is one of the few sports I included on this list that have some level of physicality. Similar to boxing, volunteering to be tackled has to be difficult (and a little crazy). While I acknowledge American football is similar in that aspect, to my understanding, rugby players don’t wear much protective gear. While I’m not sure if that means it’s more difficult or just more dangerous, I still think the game of rugby is more complex than football.
  8. Water Polo
    The final sport on this list is another that requires a ridiculous amount of endurance. Did you know water polo players cannot touch the floor of the pool for the entire time they are in the game? This was news to me, and when I found out, I immediately added it to my list. I can barely tread water for two minutes, let alone 12. Not only are these athletes treading water, but they are also playing what is similar to a game of handball. Players are (accidentally) whacked in the face and pulled around the pool while trying to come up with a strategy to score a goal (oh, and also trying to remember to not drown).

    To be completely honest, I think all sports are difficult. But, these sports stick out to me due to their unique challenges. Read more below about what other Monmouth students have to say about which sports are the hardest.