Top 10 Hardest Sports in the World – What Is The Hardest Sport?

Top 10 hardest sports in the world - What Is The Hardest Sport?

Believe it or not, there are 200+ recognised sports with national or international federations. Some of these are simple and easy, while others are extremely difficult. This includes both understanding the rules and participating in the game. 

In this article, we will answer the question, What is the hardest sport? You may fancy a challenge and want to try some of them, or you might think no thank you and steer clear.

Here is our list of the top 10 hardest sports in the world:

Water Polo

This competitive water sport is played by two teams of six players on the field and one goalkeeper on each team. The game is divided into four quarters in which both teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing team’s goal.

So what makes this one of the hardest sports to play? Water polo is a physically demanding sport in which players must swim to move around the pool, tread water (primarily with the eggbeater kick), pass the ball, and shoot at the goal, all while not being allowed the pool’s bottom.

Aussie Rules

Besides being one the most profitable sports leagues, Aussie Rules Football is notorious for being difficult. The most common techniques are kicking, handballing, and running with the ball. The team that scores the most goals by kicking the ball between the posts (central and/or outer) wins.

Unlike other football games, there is no offside rule in this one, so players can be in front of or behind the ball. Each team may have up to 18 players on the field at any given time (or, with the AFL Women’s, up to 16). A player may run with the ball, but it must bounce or be touched on the ground at least once every 15 metres (16 yds).


Boxing is a combat sport in which two participants punch each other in a boxing ring, a raised platform surrounded by ropes attached to posts at each corner. Punching is done with force and repetition, so precautions like wearing protective gloves, hand wraps, and mouthguards are used. 

A boxing match is typically made up of nine to twelve three-minute rounds.

If a referee determines that an opponent is unable to continue, disqualifies an opponent, or the opponent resigns, a winner can be determined before the rounds are completed. The judges’ scorecards determine who wins when the fight reaches the final round and both competitors are still standing.


Rugby is a physical strength sport that can be very taxing on the body. Unlike in American football, the players do not wear any kind of armour or protection.

The league is made up of 13 players, while the union is made up of 15. Rugby Sevens is an Olympic form of rugby in which each team has seven players on the field at the same time and plays seven-minute halves. 

The rugby ball is diamond-shaped in order to facilitate the passing.

As a high-contact sport, rugby union is reported to have the highest rate of concussions and injuries of any team sport. Richie McCaw is considered the most famous rugby player of all time.

Related: How much do rugby players make?

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is a full-contact winter team sport played with ice skates on an ice skating rink. Using ice hockey sticks, two opposing teams control, advance, and shoot the “puck” into the opposing team’s goal. Each team has six skaters on the ice at any given time, one of whom is the goaltender.

As with any other sport, the goal of the game is to score more points than the opponent.

Ice hockey is high in speed in which much of the action revolves around physical contact between the players. To halt progress, they are allowed to bodycheck opponents into the boards.

Players must wear protective clothing because the game can be brutal on the ice.

A professional game is divided into three twenty-minute periods, with the clock starting only when the puck is in play. If there is a tie at the end of the match, overtime is played to determine a winner.


Football, or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of 11 players, one of whom must be the goalkeeper. The two teams compete to get the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Except for goalkeepers within the penalty area, players may not use their hands or arms to touch the ball while it is in play. Most professional matches end with only a few goals. The game is officiated by a referee, and his or her decisions are final.

A game is divided into two 45-minute halves. Because each half is continuous, the clock does not stop when the ball is out of play. Therefore, a game that is tied at the end of regulation time may proceed to overtime, which comprises two additional 15-minute periods. Some of these games are played in some of the biggest football stadiums in the world that can reach a capacity of 114.000.


Hurling is a traditional Irish invasion sport. The goal of the game is for players to hit a small ball called a sliotar between the opponent’s goalposts, either over or under the crossbar, into a net using an ash wood stick called a hurley. Each team has 15 players.

It is regarded as one of the fastest field games, which makes it one of the hardest sports on the planet. Since 2010, all age groups have been required to wear a plastic protective helmet with a faceguard. And in the absence of additional padding, or additional body protection, injury is an unavoidable part of this game.


Basketball has grown to become one of the world’s most popular and widely followed sports and has also given us some of the most memorable sporting moments. It is a team sport in which two teams of five players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or passing it to a teammate, both of which require significant skill. The goal of the game is to score more points than the opponent by throwing the ball into their basket.

A player’s ability to take steps without dribbling is limited. The ball may not be kicked or struck with the fist. The referee is in charge of determining whether contact between players is prohibited, as well as if any other violations occurred, which can lead to controversy.


Gymnastics is a sport that comprises physical exercises that require balance, strength, and flexibility. Gymnastics is an individual sport, but athletes can compete in teams as well. It can be practised as artistic and rhythmic gymnastics.

Men’s and women’s gymnastics are the two standard divisions in artistic gymnastics. While some techniques are the same for both sexes, there are some differences in performance in sports events: women perform Uneven bars and Balance beam in sports events, whereas men perform Parallel bars, High bar, Pommel horse, and Still rings.

Only women compete in major international rhythmic gymnastics competitions. This sport incorporates ballet, gymnastics, dance, and apparatus manipulation. Men rarely practise this type, and there are no international rules for them.

All gymnasts receive points on all of their events, including execution, difficulty, and overall presentation skills.

Gaelic Football

Gaelic football is another Irish team sport that requires physicality endurance. The teams, like in hurling, have fifteen players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Each senior inter-county game is divided into two 35-minute halves. Replays or two halves of 10 minutes of extra time are used to decide ties.

Players move the football up the field by carrying, bouncing, kicking, hand-passing, and soloing. There are two types of scores in the game: points and goals. The umpire raises a white flag to show a point for kicking or hand-passing the ball over the crossbar. The referee raises the green flag when the ball is kicked under the crossbar and into the net, signalling a goal.

Up to eight officials oversee the Gaelic football match.


Regardless of physical strength or the pressure of achieving high ratings, the most important aspect of all sports is the mental strength to endure training or performance conditions.

Some of the rules may be confusing and require time and strength to focus on and learn. Keep in mind that all it takes is practice and a high level of discipline.

Now that you know our answer on what is the hardest sport let us know if you agree or have any suggestions to add to our list.

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