Top 10 Most Difficult Sports In The World | Toughest Sports

In all the most difficult sports, there is always more hardship and difficulty than what meets the eye. Be it in the process of selection or performance; it is mandatory for players to present the skills and capabilities of their minds and their bodies.

In some sports, key skills required are athleticism, speed, and agility, while many other sports require keeping the mind in the game. Some sports require players to be slow, steady, and patient.

Most Difficult Sports | Hardest And Most Demanding Sports

Content Summery

In many sports, the cardiovascular measures of the athletes play a vital role, while in others, knowing the complex rules of the game and using the rules in one’s favor is what is important. Be it the physical demands or mental strength, the overall durability demanded of a player increases the difficulty level of a game. So, let us look at the 10 most difficult sports in the world.

11. Boxing


Boxing definitely deserves its place in this list of top 10 difficult sports in 2023, we have Boxing.

It is, again, a fighting sport that requires two people to box against each other in a ring.

This game also has high chances of bruises and injuries. Also, sometimes the games can be easily rigged and pre-planned.

That increases the chances of bigger and more serious injuries. This sport has already witnessed some of the greatest boxers of all time who dominated the world.

10. Gymnastics


Gymnastics is a complex sport that needs physical strength, flexibility, grace, agility, power, coordination, balance, and control. The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique was founded in 1881.

It governs competitive gymnastic events internationally, with each country having its own national governing body. Modern gymnastics was first developed by three pioneer physical educators in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Germany, in the form of exercises for young men and boys, on apparatus.

Of the gymnastic events, competitive gymnastics is considered the best known. The men’s events include a high bar, parallel bars, vault, still rings, pommel horse, and floor exercise.

While the women’s events included vault, floor exercise, balance beam, and uneven bars, gymnastics actually evolved from the exercises used by the ancient Greeks.

9. Swimming


Swimming is a type of water sport where swimmers try to swim as fast as possible with various strokes such as Butterfly stroke, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.

The Fédération Internationale de Natation currently governs this sport internationally.

The earliest reference to swimming was found in paintings. Swimming now holds its place among the most demanding sports in the World.

Besides, it also deserves its mention as one of the most difficult sports in the world.

8. Skiing


Next on the list of hardest sports, Skiing is a form of ice sport where contestants use skis to glide on snow. The word “Ski” is derived from “skíð,” an Old Norse word that means “split piece of wood or firewood.”

The International Olympic Committee and the International Ski Federation currently govern this game. Skiing was first primarily used solely for transport. And during the 18th century, Norway started to host Military ski races.

Two main genres of this sport, Alpine Skiing, and Nordic Skiing, were developed in the 1930s. Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, Alpine skiing combined, and Downhill then became the main disciplines of Alpine skiing.

Cross-country, Telemark, Ski touring, Skijoring, and Ski-flying are the main discipline of Nordic skiing.

7. Motor Cross

Motor Cross

Motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing on enclosed off-road circuits. It is one of the most physically-demanding sports and is usually organized in all weather conditions. Motocross actually originated from motorcycle trial competitions in the United Kingdom.

The earliest reference to the origin of this sport can be found in the first quarterly trial of the Auto-Cycle Clubs in 1906 and the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1909.  And now, there are several greatest motocross racers who dominated this sport.

The word “Motocross” is a combination of Motocyclette, the French word for motorcycle, with “cross country.” Camberley town in Surrey hosted the first-ever scramble race or modern Motocross in 1924.

The FIM Motocross World Championship, the AMA Motocross Championship, British Motocross Championship, and Motocross des Nations are the major event of Motocross. Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme now governed this sport.

6. Figure Skating

Figure Skating

Figure Skating is a type of sport where teams, duos, or individual skaters perform on figure skates on ice. Men’s singles, ladies’ singles, ice dancing, and pair skating are the four main Olympic disciplines of this game.

Figure Skating was first introduced in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London as the first winter sport in the Olympics.

The International Skating Union is the governing body of international Figure Skating that includes the Winter Olympics, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships, the European Championships, and the Grand Prix of skating.

Figure skating blades used in this sport are typically 4.7mm thick with a slight curve of an arc of a circle having a radius of 180-220cm. Figure skaters usually perform spins, lifts,  jumps, throw jumps, moves in the field, death spirals, and various other moves.

5. Water Polo

Water Polo

Water polo is a team water sport consisting of four periods where two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into the opponent’s net. Each team in this game consists of six field players and one goalkeeper in the water.

Water Polo is typically played in at least 1.8 meters deep pools with a water polo ball that floats on the water. The game comprises swimming, catching, and shooting the ball using a single hand.

The game actually originated as a sort of “water rugby” in the late 19th century in Scotland. William Wilson first organized a set of rules for a team water ball game called “aquatic football” in 1877.

The Bon Accord Festival on the banks of the River Dee in Aberdeen, Scotland, hosted the first-ever game of Aquatic Football or Water Polo in the late 19th century. Fédération Internationale de Natation is the governing body of this game on the international level.

4. Bull Riding

Bull Riding

Bull Riding is the most popular type of Rodeo sport, where the rider attempts to stay mounted while the bull attempts to buck off the rider. The rider must stay for eight seconds atop the bucking bull.

And due to the risk, this brief moment is often dubbed “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.” Bull riding actually originated from the Mexican Charreada. One of the earliest variants of Bull Riding, called Jaripeo, a hacienda contest, was developed during the 16th century when the riders rode the bull until it stopped bucking or till the rider died.

A Texas Ranger named H. L. Kinney staged the first Anglo-American organized bullfight in 1852 in the southwest.

Both the rider and the bull earn from 0 to 50 points from two judges based on several fundamental aspects of the event. Cowboy boots and hats are the additional attractions of these sports besides the riding.

3. Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding or Equestrianism involves steeplechasing or vaulting with horses and riding horses. Jockeys trained the horses to perform a set of skills on the course or to achieve great speed. The coordination between the horse and the jockey or the horse rider has a great impact on the event.

Many historians claim that men started to ride trained horses in approximately 4500 BC. But, numerous other historians doubted that our ancestors started to ride horses long before this claim.

Thoroughbred horse racing or flat racing is the most popular form of these sports. The Royal Charter Jockey Club in the UK and the Jockey Club in the USA currently govern this sport.

Steeplechasing or National Hunt racing has now also become a popular variant of the sport where the horses jump over obstacles while racing on a track. The international governing body of Horseback Riding is the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

2. Freestyle Wrestling

Freestyle Wrestling

Freestyle wrestling is a form of amateur wrestling that is practiced by many wrestling fanatics all over the world. It is one of two styles of wrestling besides the Greco-Roman Wrestling that is contested in the Olympic Games.

The ultimate goal of these sports is to pin down the opponent to the mat, which results in victory. Freestyle wrestling is one of the four main styles of global wrestling according to the international governing body for the sport, United World Wrestling.

The modern variant of freestyle wrestling actually originated as “catch-as-catch-can” wrestling in the United States and Great Britain.

Interestingly, several US presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Theodore Roosevelt, actively participated in the ‘catch-as-catch-can.’

1. Cross-Country Running

Cross Country

Cross Country Running is a type of sport where individuals or teams run a race on open-air courses, generally 4 – 12 kilometers long, over natural terrain. Fans wait for this event during autumn and winter.

But in some scenarios, players need to go through a wide range of temperatures to create maximum difficulty. Cross Country running first became popular during the 19th century in England. The schools started participating in cross-country races as early as 1837.

Wimbledon Common in southwest London hosted the first recorded national cross-country championship on 7th December 1867. The Hamilton Park Racecourse in Scotland hosted the first international cross-country race on 28th March 1903.

Since its establishment in 1973, the IAAF World Cross Country Championships has become the elite competition of the modern-day’s cross-country race.

Final Words

There is a long-standing debate as to which sport is the most demanding and hence, most difficult, so much so that it is not merely a matter of personal opinion anymore.

Sports experts have gotten together to devise their own ways to analyze which sports are the most difficult, taking into consideration various parameters such as durability, analytic aptitude, nerve, hand-eye coordination, flexibility, agility, speed, power, strength, endurance, etc.

Most Difficult Sports | 2023 Infographics

Most Difficult Sports - Infographics
Infographics: Most Difficult Sports

Judging the level of hardness of a sport is not necessarily a matter of expert opinion. Sports fanatics have their own varied opinions in this regard. Irrespective of how hard a sport is, the fans of the sport definitely stay loyal to their favorite game and its players.

So, we hope that you liked our list, and it’s your turn now. Let us know in the comments which sports you think are the most difficult sports.

FAQs Regarding Most Difficult Sports

Q. What sport has the most injuries?

Injuries occur most frequently in basketball. Despite being a popular sport, basketball is among the most dangerous for players of all ages. It is played by 26 million youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 each year. The United States treated 570,000 players for injuries in 2012, and 8,000 of these players were hospitalized.

Q. What sport causes the most broken bones?

Volleyball had the lowest fracture rate (0.52 per 10 000 athlete exposures), while football had the highest (4.61 per 10 000). Girls sustained fractures at a higher rate than boys in basketball (rate ratio, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.72); and soccer (rate ratio, 1.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.71).

Q. What is the hardest sport mentally?

Swimming is widely known as the hardest sport mentally. The fact that swimming is the number one most mentally challenging sport in the world may surprise most people. A lot of swimming professionals fall into a cycle of self-sabotage.

Q. What is the least stressful sport?

The least stressful sports were skiing/snowboarding, track and field, skateboarding, and soccer. According to parents, coaches (3.7 average) are the most common sources of pressure for their children in sports. Parental pressure is less than peer pressure, parents say.

Last Updated On: March 2023

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