The Toughest Showdown: Decoding What Makes a Sport Truly Hard!

Have you ever wondered what’s the hardest sport out there? You may have also thought about what determines if a sport is tough or not. Does it depend from person to person? Well, we do not only have the answers to these commonly thought-about questions, but we have also rounded up a list of some of the most popular sports that are ranked difficult in terms of the variables mentioned below. Read more to find out!

  • Physical requirements – the more physical requirements a sport possesses; or the more physically demanding a sport is, the harder it is.
  • Endurance – the more difficult the ability to endure and continue a sport is, the harder the sport is.
  • Speed – probably the most common determinant of a sport. The more the speed required, the tougher the sport.
  • Strength –   this goes without saying: the harder a sport is, the more strength it requires.
  • Agility – this is a key factor in being a good athlete; having the ability to move around or respond quickly. Hence, the more agile a sport is, the more complex it is.
  • Skill – all difficult sports require an extensive set of skills that are acquired through rigorous practice and training.



After doing a pretty decent amount of research, I have found out that boxing is ranked as the toughest sport in most parts of the world. Despite its rising popularity, the full-contact sport is considered one of the deadliest sports out there. In terms of physicality, boxing requires a person to be physically fit as well as have agility, speed, and endurance to beat the competitor. Moreover, it doesn’t come short of athletes having crazy fighting skills and incredible strength, especially when playing professionally!

Water Polo

This is one of the least popular sports that a lot of people do not even think about when mentioned as the toughest sport out there. But to your surprise, it is one of the most difficult sports out there, based on the physical requirements to play this sport, skill set, speed, and endurance. While like many sports, this is a combination of several sports. You naturally need to be good at swimming and strategize as a part of a team for this water ball sport.

Formula One

Formula One or just F1 is the toughest motorsport so far. It is also the most popular racing sport in the world. It is a physically demanding sport that involves high-speed racing, understanding the technical aspects, and a superior level of skill set needed by the racers to drive high-performing automobiles. Formula One is also one of the most widely watched sports, which is loved by fans from around the world for its competitive and exhilarating nature!


While gymnastics is beginner-friendly and can be started from a young age, mastering the series of gymnastic techniques that come under this umbrella sport is quite difficult. So, what makes this sport so hard? You do not only need the variables mentioned above such as being physically fit, skills, strength, endurance, and agility but it also requires a great deal of coordination and balance to become a professional gymnast. This sport has two variations that are part of the Olympics and several world championships: Artistic Gymnastics and Rhythmic Gymnastics – both being equally tough and challenging.

Ice Hockey

Playing hockey while ice skating even sounds difficult! One of America’s beloved sports, ice hockey is a modified version of the original game of hockey. This version is more complex because takes place on an ice rink. Ice hockey is a popular winter team sport that is also part of the Olympic games. Speed is the essence of this sport and it also requires excellent teamwork, agility, endurance, and of course, decent skating skills.


Q. What is the difference between boxing and wrestling?

Boxing involves fist fighting, first with bare knuckles and then fighting with padded gloves. Whereas wrestling involves grappling techniques, with the aim to knock down the opponent.

Q. What is the second biggest sport in the world?

Cricket is the second biggest sport in the world in terms of popularity just after soccer.

Q. What is the hardest sport in Asia?

Sepak Takraw is considered the hardest sport played in Asia.

Q. Which sport has the strongest athletes?

Weightlifting has the strongest athletes ever seen.

Q. What are some mental challenges of sports?

Athletes may experience anxiety, plateaus, and life balance problems due to sports.

Author’s Opinion

It does come down to several factors as to what determine if a sport is difficult or not. it was quite interesting learning about what makes a sport truly hard. While these are the basic factors, there are a lot of other variables that affect the difficulty level of a sport. And if you are looking for a challenge for yourself, then I highly recommend trying out these sports!

What do you think?

Written by Usama

Usama J. is a passionate writer about the sports and works as an in house sports journalist at Openiun, and covered many international sporting events including ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.