Which Sport Requires the Most Athleticism?

It's overlap season! Baseball, the NFL, college football, the NHL, NASCAR and MLS all are all in their playoffs or regular seasons, NBA camps have started and Midnight Madness is Friday. With that in mind, our question: Which sport requires the most athleticism?

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor |  October 8, 2007; 1:00 AM ET
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NBA
NFL
NHL
MLS
NCAA Football
NCAA B-ball
Baseball

NASCAR isn't a sport.

Posted by: SnorlaxMcSoggybottom | October 9, 2007 1:42 PM

NBA
Soccer goalies
NFL skill positions
Soccer
NHL
NFL non-skilled
MLB
Nascar - still not a sport

Posted by: Ghitza | October 9, 2007 2:01 PM

I actually had this discussion with one of my friends not too long ago. We both came to the realization that baskteball requires the most all-around athleticism. The basketball player needs:

speed
endurance
agility
superb body control both on the ground and in the air
quickness
soft hands
stable torso
peripheral vision
hand-eye coordination

All other sports require some of these aspects, but no other requires all. Some positions in a certain sport come close, but all good basketball players must have all these facilities.

I can also say that I am unbiased in this assessment, because I really don't like basketball as a sport to play or watch. But I am in awe at their athleticism.

Posted by: Robert | October 9, 2007 2:05 PM

basketball
lacrosse
soccer
wrestling
hockey
football

NASCAR is not a sport, neither are golf or poker. The question in this forum was not to rank the leagues that required the most athleticism, but the sports that did. Please do not contribute unless you have actually participated in multiple athletic competitions because being a couch potato doesn't qualify you to have any input in this discussion. I have competed in all of the sports I listed.

Posted by: realist | October 9, 2007 2:14 PM

Yet noone cares....
Basketball
Football-skill positions
soccer
hockey
football-fat-bodies

Posted by: tullamore | October 9, 2007 2:28 PM

What about tennis? Tennis players like Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal, and Justine Henin are some of the best athletes in the world. Superb tennis players must encompass all of the skills that Robert listed for basketball: speed, endurance, agility, superb body control both on the ground and in the air, quickness, soft hands, stable torso, peripheral vision, and hand-eye coordination.

If you do not believe me, just watch Roger Federer play a match; the ease at which he plays the game is unbelievable. I might even go as far as saying that he is the best athlete in the world right now.

Posted by: Underappreciated Sport | October 9, 2007 2:35 PM

BOWLING, HANDS DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Poop on your face | October 9, 2007 3:01 PM

Rugby needs to be added...try running a half marathon while tackling the guy in front of your every 20 secs....you have to be in far better shape to play rugby then any of the sports listed...Period....

Posted by: chris | October 9, 2007 3:20 PM

No one has mentioned: TRIATHLON

You have to be good at 3 sports at once.

Posted by: Boulder Tri-Guy | October 9, 2007 3:24 PM

Boxing.

Posted by: Max | October 9, 2007 3:31 PM

triathlon is not a sport, its an event that combines 3 sports/activities.

Posted by: swimming is the hardest bar none | October 9, 2007 4:07 PM

Rugby League; not even close. Take an in-shape NFL player. Now take away all his padding. Make the game 80 minutes long instead of 60, and eliminate all the stoppages of play, mass substitution, timeouts, etc. An average professional rugby league game involves roughly 500-650 tackles PER GAME. Some players can make 50-60 TACKLES PER GAME (no pads, no endless commercial breaks, no going back to a huddle after each tackle, and playing both offense and defense). Then tack on running 4-7 kilometers per game. Oh, and you have to be able to run, jump, tackle, pass the ball, and kick the ball. Rugby league seasons run at least 24 regular season games, plus playoffs, PLUS international matches.

Followed by ice hockey (until you've skated you've no idea how hard it is), then soccer, then lacrosse, then basketball. Then football, and then baseball.

Posted by: Patrick | October 9, 2007 4:26 PM

Robert, all those things you listed for NBA players (except body control in the air), add doing it on skates at 25 to 30 MPH and you got hockey. Nevermind the flexibility of the players, particularly golatenders.

Everyone reading this can step onto a court and throw the ball at the hoop, how many can get out on a pair of skates and put any kind of shot on net? Go watch the people during intermissions in their sneakers and how bad they shoot.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 9, 2007 4:48 PM

If it's basketball, then why couldn't Michael Jordan hit .200 in the minors? Baseball is the hardest sport to play, and if you are a 5 tool player, the most athleticism.

Posted by: flynnie | October 9, 2007 6:36 PM

Basketball
Hockey
Tennis
Rugby/Soccer
Wrestling
American Football
Baseball

Fitness is a component of athleticism, not the defining quality. There is also strength, stamina, agility and the physical skills involved. That is why I have Tennis above the "ball field" sports, because the game requires better athletes and stresses individual performance (even in doubles you are 50% of your team).

While baseball does have a lot of athletic players, it doesn't require the most athletic ability. Look at Barry Bonds (and his knees), Babe Ruth (couldnt even run his own bases) and John Kruk. They all have excellent hand-eye coordination, but thats pretty much where their athleticism ends. American Football is the same way in some aspects(line men), and in others you have your McNabbs, Randle Els, Bushes and (dare i say it) Vicks; that could have played a multitude of professional sports.

Posted by: J-Mart | October 10, 2007 11:40 AM

Basketball. No question. Speed, strength, agility, jumping, hand/eye coordination, endurance, and durability. Not too mention specific dextrous skills such as shooting and passing abilities. Except for some of the tall gawky guys, most NBA players could probably make a reasonable attempt at football, baseball, soccer, friggin' car racing, tennis, etc. They might not bat above .200 but they could transfer their athletic abilities quite easy. Shaq could play first base and Yao could pitch. I don't think John Kruk could run the point or Greg Luzinski could bang the boards.

Posted by: SJAY | October 10, 2007 11:48 AM

Riddle me this.

Better topic: which sport fosters (in young people) the highest probable level of growth in:
- ability to work in a team environment
- self-esteem
- decision making
- leadership
- long term ability to play & enjoy

While minimizing the chances of serious injury.

Riddle me this.

Posted by: Crabhands | October 10, 2007 12:11 PM

Crabhands,

That would be either Basketball, Soccer or Baseball (all team sports). Unfortunately none of these really provide a long term to play unless you continue to compete past high school (not counting beer leagues). Whereas Tennis and Golf, which can be played as a team sport, ultimately provide the most long term playability free of injury.

Posted by: J-Mart | October 10, 2007 12:20 PM

Hockey by far is the most athletic listed. I'm not going to compare rugby because I dont know enough about it but I do respect it.

While everyone is saying basketball, there is a major aspect missing from the sport of basketball that hockey includes and that is high contact. In basketball, there are fouls for most situations or player contact. Hockey players are just as mobile, skilled and conditioned but also need to be able to hit and be hit.

Gordie Howe was offered a contract by the Detroit Tigers when he played for the Red Wings but turned it down. Baseball is not as hard once the skill and vision are up to par.

Also how can a sport like baseball be the most athletic when it is so easy to pump juice in to yourself and shatter records?

Steroids dont work in the NBA and NHL because there are too many skills/vision/thinking in the game to cloud it with brute strength. I think this would also rule out rugby.

Posted by: dang | October 10, 2007 12:29 PM

NCAA Wrestling

The toughest, most demanding, most physical of all sports bar none. It is all on you - no teammates to help, no time to rest up after each play, no time outs, just go go go. Try it - see how long you can survive...

Posted by: BJH | October 10, 2007 12:46 PM

Any fighting sport requires superior athletic ability.

In almost every major sport, when you get injured, you can be pulled out of the line up and patched up. No such pampering in fighting sports.

In almost every major sport, the rules get in the way of athletic ability. There are very few rules in fighting sports. It's a pure sport like track and field.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 12:56 PM

Wrestling
Rugby
Basketball
Football
Tennis
Baseball
Golf

Having played all these sports for multiple years, I came up with this list. My list is based on my experience with having to be in the best all around(muscle strength, endurance, etc) shape for which sports. Remember, the question was 'Which sport requires the most athleticism'.

I haven't played hockey or soccer. Since I put a higher value on the sports that are more physical, requiring more all around strength, I would put hockey under rugby and put soccer after football.

Posted by: stud | October 10, 2007 1:02 PM

Any combat sport, as stated above. I'd put mixed martial arts ahead of boxing, because of the emphasis on the ground game. MMA takes an incredible amount of endurance, strength, agility, flexibility, and toughness.

Posted by: Kenny | October 10, 2007 1:14 PM

Of the top sports
Hockey
Soccer
Basketball
Football
Baseball

George Mirason (sp) played in the NBA and his ability was to be 7'7". The Fridge was fat as was John Cruck. Athletically, Hockey and Soccer encompass all that athletics define. Having played all these sports Hockey gets the edge because of it's speed and physicality while on skates. As the gentleman said above if you haven't been on skates you got no clue!

Posted by: Drew | October 10, 2007 1:52 PM

It's definitely hockey. Anyone can put on a pair of sneakers and shoot hoops. Anyone can throw punches or wrestle another person, with variable success. But hockey takes place on a whole different medium. Not just anyone can put on a pair of skates and even stay on their feet, let alone sprint, take hits, and make shots on a goal.

The other sports certainly involve a high degree of athleticism (isn't that why we watch pro sports?), but the only one where you can't have a backyard pickup game is ice hockey - even if you had a rink in your backyard.

Posted by: PJ | October 10, 2007 2:14 PM

Define athleticism!! Otherwise, this is as silly a question as "Which fruit is the best?"
A better question is "Which is the dumbest question asked in this blog?"

Posted by: Jesus | October 10, 2007 2:30 PM

I love reading all the "Al Bundys" in here acting like they are an authority on which sport requires the most athleticism. No one cares that your mom drove you to a Kim's Karate at the local strip mall to learn how to be tough. No one cares that you only want to read comments from people that agree with you or, "..have participated in multiple athletic competitions..", in order for them to be deemed credible. To be a pro athlete in any sport there is a level of athleticism that few of us will ever comprehend. That's what you learn if you've ever participated in sports there Mr. shoe salesman. Go throw your lawn darts and berate your kid until he/she runs away and becomes a porn star for not taking it as seriously as you.

As far as the actual answer to the question, we can get there by removing some non-sports. For example, hunting is not a sport. In fact the whole idea of hunting isn't even really hunting anymore. It should be called waiting....with a gun. NASCAR isn't a sport. The only sport Tony Stewart can beat me at wout be speed-eating. Golf isn't a sport. Tiger even admits he is not athletic. So he's buff and has mastered a game that he began when he was 3 - it's still a game where you can smoke and pound beers and still win. Not a sport. Bullriding isn't a sport. After a few cocktails and with enough women around urging me on, I might get up on there and actually last a few more seconds than Billy Bob Whatshisname. Speedwalking is not a sport. Finding a way to earn a living doing what we all do when we are 5 minutes late to work is commendable but not a sport. Curling is not a sport. Do I even need to explain why?

This pretty much leaves the NFL, NHL, NBA and major-league baseball.

Any one of us can find a pro in any of these leagues that is an utter non-athlete. Any one of us can identify a player in any of these leagues that is the dictionary definition of the purest of athletes. In the NBA there is at least one "Hot Plate" Williams for a Kobe Bryant. A John Daly for a Tiger Woods. A John Kruk for an A-Rod. A Tony Siragusa for a Walter payton. And no one cares about hockey so i won't rack my brain efforting to come up with a comparison.

What sport requires the most athletic skill? Skill that if not present, the athlete would suffer the most severe of loss? It would have to be a sport where there is no gray area. A sport that would never inspire crossover (i.e. Bo Jackson, Dieon Sanders, MJ, etc.)

I submit to you the sporting spectacle seen as a rite of passage in the sub-saharan Sudan.

LION FIGHTING!

Let's see that on ESPN.

Posted by: Wayne P. | October 10, 2007 2:41 PM

All around athletic ability, Basketball wins hands down.

Track and Field and soccer are more demanding than folks realize. And, of course, the physical nature of football definitely makes them the toughest athletes out there of the major sports.

Baseball needs to get a grip, they are not the greatest athletes, esp when the chubby 250lb guy looks like a slob on the field, but is you most feared hitter. then guys with a great physiques darn near pulls a muscle everytime he runs out a double or pushes for a triple, a mere 180 feet.

Posted by: RobGreg | October 10, 2007 2:48 PM

Gymnastics, both men and women. Requires strength, balance, body spacial awareness, fluidity of motion, control and the mental toughness demanded by individual competition.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 10, 2007 2:59 PM

baseball, no question. hoops and soccer are for running, tennis and lacrosse are for running with sticks, f'ball is for crashing, hockey is for running on skates with sticks and then crashing. the batting, fielding, baserunning and strategic skills needed by just the average baseball player test the human skills package like no other sport.

Posted by: slangist | October 10, 2007 3:11 PM

freakinandpeakin:

I played hockey until I was 38. I still think it is the greatest sport on earth (see previous discussion regarding the beginning of the NHL season). It's a lot easier than people think.

Just because you are on skates, doesn't make it different. Once you figure out how to skate, it's similar to soccer, football, or lacrosse, just faster. Skating is like walking to the professionals. They don't have to think about it. And the hits are nowhere near the brutality of football.

Posted by: Robert | October 10, 2007 3:19 PM

flynnie:

Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in any sport (maybe cricket comes close). That doesn't mean baseball players are the most athletic. For qualifications, I had a .386 average in American Legion after high school. But baseball is mostly mental, not physical. You can be overweight, slow, and not have any coordination in the air and still play baseball.

Posted by: Robert | October 10, 2007 3:28 PM

PJ:

Skates and sticks are expensive, which is why not a lot of people play it. I can buy a basketball for $30 and put up a hoop for another $50. Skates are usually over $100 and it takes time to get a rink up every winter. In the South, it is impossible to get one going.

Broom-ball, however, is inexpensive and very easy to play in your back yard if you are in a cold enough climate. Set up your rink, tell your friends to bring their brooms, and supply the ball and beer.

Posted by: Robert | October 10, 2007 3:35 PM

You people are crazy. Basketball?

Hockey requires the most athleticism, hands down. You look at every sport -- basketball, football, and baseball -- and there's always some out of shape slob on a team.

Look at hockey players. Even the most "non-athletic" hockey playing goon has to have the ability to skate well, balance himself while knocking the heck out of someone, and accurately shoot and pass a rubber cylinder at the end of a 4-foot stick. Ever see a FAT hockey player in the pros?

If you had a school yard full of kids and they're picking for a basketball team, where do you put the worst player? Anywhere, because the other 4 don't have to pass to him. Same scenario for hockey. Where to put the worst player? Can't, they all have to be decent because they all have to be involved.

Soccer would be next, then football skill positions.

Any hockey player can play basketball and many can do it well. Basketball players trying to play hockey? I'd pay to see that!

Posted by: Derrick | October 10, 2007 3:52 PM

Anyone who even thinks baseball should be on this list needs to give up all rights to ever talk about sports again. Baseball is by far the most unathletic game ever created. Hand-eye coordination...yes, coaches falling alseep in the dugout because the sport is boring even to those that make a living at it...yes, athletism...no. All of the aforementioned sports have their pluses and minuses, but for me Rugby and Soccer require the most athletism. Everything that has been mentioned above as a reason for their sport to be number 1, is required in rugby and soccer period.

Posted by: Iluvbaseball | October 10, 2007 4:01 PM

I think football players would be the most athletic, however I think soccer players are right behind them. Both require almost the same skills and stamina.

Posted by: Redskins101 | October 10, 2007 4:07 PM

Water Polo. All of the above skills reuqired, plus you must keep yourself from drowning!

Posted by: howboutdemcowboys | October 10, 2007 4:16 PM

Jarts.

Kidding....

LAX by far. The running of Soccer, the hits of Football, the agility of Basketball, and the mental aspect of Baseball.

NHL is stupid. LAX should take it's place. NASCAR is not a sport. Poker is not a sport. Poker is as much of a sport as sleeping is.

The "Water Polo" guy is close.....swimming would be up there although it's about boring as all heck.

Some of the Football DB's and WR are amazing but it's LAX by far.

Posted by: Svengali | October 10, 2007 5:32 PM

realist said: "Please do not contribute (to this discussion) unless you have actually participated in multiple athletic competitions because being a couch potato doesn't qualify you to have any input in this discussion. I have competed in all of the sports I listed."

Wow, realist is a veritable Jim freaking Thorpe.

Posted by: rg019571 | October 10, 2007 7:23 PM

All professional sports require athleticism. I've had the pleasure of playing baseball, football, soccer, basketball, tennis, hockey, golf and rugby. Of all the sports, hockey is the toughest and most athletic sport I have had to play. For the guy that said it is easy, they why aren't you in the NHL? Basketball ranks lowest on my list. Rugby is just behind hockey but you can still get by not having all the skills necessary.

Hockey requires every ounce of energy and athletic ability you have. For all those who have never played it..go ahead and try

Posted by: JOE | October 10, 2007 8:11 PM

Come on you clowns, Dick Weber was the best athlete of all time. Hands down!

Posted by: arlan | October 10, 2007 10:21 PM

wrestling
boxing
triathelon
hockey
soccer
basketball
football
soccer

baseball

Posted by: david | October 10, 2007 10:45 PM

Soccer, with only two or three subs per game, it is tough. Hockey is tough, but you only play in minutes not in hours. Have you seen cramping on the fields? it is most likely soccer players.....

Posted by: skater | October 10, 2007 11:38 PM

I've gotta say that of the sports I've played, soccer players are up there in athletic abilities. There are players that have a 40 inch vertical and can run a 40 as fast as any receiver, and they do it for 90+ minutes.
But I've got to admit that every sport has athletic players.

my roommate says that billiards, then table tennis, then curling are the three most athletic sports.......
he's an idiot

Posted by: hello | October 11, 2007 12:24 AM

To Jesus, to answer your question. I think they are all dumb questions. Whoever said they were no dumb questions, never came across this blog.

To Hello, your roommate is not an idiot, he is just not 100% correct, he forgot to include marbles and dice.

Posted by: 2bits | October 11, 2007 1:03 AM

Figure skating!

The hardest 'sport' demanding the most skill combined with athletic ability - Figure skating! I defy anyone - even us hockey players - to skate their perfect circles, make their elegant moves, and throw each other around or do the jumps without crashing and burning. I remember a figure skater training us hockey players their balance and coordination, and none of us could cut it.

I've played all of the above mentioned sports and most people can proficiently learn to play those sports, even those in poor physical shape. But most of us athletes would have a really hard time achieving anything looking like a figure skating routine.

Posted by: scottmontreal | October 11, 2007 1:53 AM

in a poll taken amongst NCAA coaches a few years ago, wrestling was rated as the most difficult and demanding sport, by a long shot, with water polo a clear number 2. wrestling requires more athleticism than all the other sports combined. as far as professional sports go, the NFL is at the top spot, essentially because not only to the skill players require incredible athletic ability, similar to the NBA, but the lineman and other big guys now also must run 4.5 40s and have 30 inch vertical leaps.

Posted by: buildinghead | October 11, 2007 3:09 AM

I can put a hockey player in a football or basketball uniform and he will play the whole game without breaking a sweat, but I could not put a football player on ice skates and if I could he would not last one period. A basketball player would have a better chance but I doubt it he would have the grace and the ability to do it. It is granted that none of these players would be better than the others in their respective sports. I am not a hockey fan, but their athleticism can not be denied.

Posted by: Skinsfan | October 11, 2007 3:35 AM

All sports are different. Thus it is truly hard to say one requires the most athleticism. However, it is likely that any sport that asks people to make extreme moves would require the most athleticism, such as stunt skiing or snowboarding. Amongst the mainstream team sports, overall basketball or hockey would probably require the most athleticism because participants are required to keep moving and make plays on the move and at times on the fly.

Posted by: Daniel | October 11, 2007 7:13 AM

Soccer by a mile. 90 minutes of nonstop running and jumping. Hockey players play in shifts that last 2 or three minutes, basketball players play 4 or 5 minutes maybe before timeouts are called, there are a total of 6 minutes of action in a typical NFL game, baseball players watch the clouds roll by.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | October 11, 2007 8:12 AM

Each sport requires some skill and athleticism which is unique. Even race car driving requires skill, timing, and eye hand coordination.

Basketball may be the most phyiscally demanding with soccer coming in a close second.

Football, my personal favorite sport, requires the least coordination, just size and strength at some positions. Not that there aren't great athletes playing football.

Hockey takes incedible coordination. Skating and stick handling at the same time. All while watching others around you. That may be the toughest.

Posted by: jimbo56 | October 11, 2007 8:48 AM

All in all, the best pure athletes play basketball. They have the best balance of speed, strength, and agility...even Shaq in his prime, at 300lbs, was more athletic than the best NFL 300lb offensive guard or defensive tackle.

Rest of my list would go (major sports):

NFL, NHL, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, Golf

Posted by: Justin | October 11, 2007 8:57 AM

The most awsome athletes I have seen and played with are Water-Polo players. Then wrestlers. Those two are the most grueling sports...go watch them.

Posted by: Roger | October 11, 2007 9:16 AM

In response to Robert. Soccer is the most atheltic - far more than basketball. Everybody learns how to control thier hands - controling your feet and balance, no-timeouts, no tv comercials, and a game played non stop for 90 minutes not 60, on a field 110 yards long 75 wide, outdoor in the elements, and not indoors in a climate controlled arena, and no constant subsituting (only allowed three a game).

So if the criteria is

speed
endurance
agility
superb body control both on the ground and in the air
quickness
NO hands
stable torso
peripheral vision
hand-FOOT coordination

Then without a doubt - Soccer requires the most athleticism.

The J

Posted by: The J | October 11, 2007 9:25 AM

PS...Roger has a good point though...Those Water Polo Guys are also very atheltic.

The J

Posted by: The J | October 11, 2007 9:28 AM

The basketball and gridiron supporters are amusing; basketball requires the ability to dunk a basketball (so good vertical leap and jumping), jog, then walk up and down the floor, and miss a series of shots (allegedly) aimed at the basket . Gridiron requires the ability to have a series of meetings over a 3 1/2 hour period combined with short bursts of energy (there are actually about 8-12 minutes of actual activity during a 60-minute gridiron match). Baseball requires excellent hand-eye coordination as well as good throwing skills, but little endurance. No one position of gridiron requires multiple skill sets. Both sports have mass substitution. Ice hockey requires speed, hand-eye coordination, endurance, agility, and the ability to withstand pain. Not to mention skating which requires an entirely different skill set than running and the use of different muscle groups. Lacrosse requires both endurance as well as hand-eye coordination and dealing with contact, but with free substitution.

Sports like rugby and soccer have highly limited substituion and put a premium on fitness and endurance. Soccer's skill set is somewhat limited, but in terms of fitness, they're probably the fittest of team sports (given that they can run up to 8-10 km per match; some basketballers, baseballers and gridiron players are morbidly obese). Rugby requires a complete package- endurance, multiple skill set, limited stoppages of play, and physical strength. Scrums require tremendous physical strength combined with hand-eye coordination. You're literally talking about over a ton of humanity crashing into another ton of humanity. Try pushing this while having to use your feet to kick a ball backwards. Make an NFL lineman hold his block for 20-30 seconds (not four) while dribbling a soccer ball and you begin to see what is required. All while wearing no body armour except maybe a thin layer of neoprene.

1) Rugby
2) Ice Hockey
3t) Lacrosse
3t) Soccer
5) Basketball
6) Gridiron/football
7) Baseball

Posted by: Patrick | October 11, 2007 9:42 AM

1) All I know is water polo, rugby, boxing, and wrestling have to be at the TOP of the list. I was a football player in college, and I agree that any of those would rank higher.

2) Basketball and hockey are a wash in my mind, but probably rank just higher than football and just below the others.

3) Don't distinguish the fat-bodies in football from the skill positions, either. While the fat-bodies are not as fast, they are no less athletic in what they are asked to do.

4) Soccer and lacrosse come next, along with other endurace-type sports.

5) Baseball

6) Golf

7) Bowling

8) Tiddly winks

Posted by: GKC | October 11, 2007 9:51 AM

Tiddly Winks under baseball? I actually break a sweat playing tiddly winks.

Posted by: Justin | October 11, 2007 10:08 AM

I suppose soccer could be included if you consider FLOPPING an athletic skill.

Posted by: howboutdemcowboys | October 11, 2007 10:10 AM

Seriously, anyone who thinks tennis should even be on this list is nuts. I am not saying it does not take skill, but nobody it hitting you and you only have to move within a small area. I think that depending on your definition, it could be a lot of sports. Soccer takes skill, endurance, and coordination. Sports like wrestling and water polo also take incredible conditioning with wrestling also requiring a high pain tolerance and mental toughness. I think what confuses most people is seeing an individually talented athlete such as Jordan or Kobe or Jeter play a sport. That does not make that sport tough or needing incredible athletism to play. For every Kobe in the NBA there are three Manute Bol's. For every Jeter, there are 15 David Wells. The handful of people on here that have played or seen rugby know that it is by far the toughest sport. No huddle so you have to constantly make adjustments without a coach giving you a play, top level conditioning by running, tackling, and being tackled. Plahing offense and defense. No timeouts, and no padding. I play top division rugby in the US and we get college football players that graduate (allegedly) and try to play rugby each fall. They usually last about 2 practices before they quit.

Posted by: Mike | October 11, 2007 10:21 AM

From my experience playing basketball tennis and soccer at D.III level

soccer- you have to run one lazy mistake can cost the game
basketball-played correctly
tennis- you are out there for 2-3 hours. Justine Henin may be the fittest athlete

Other athletes in best condition:

swimming (Michael Phelps is greatest athlete alive)
water polo
wrestling
lacrosse
track and field

One player who amazed me in baseball and football: Bo Jackson. Throwing out a player at the plate from left field, crushing a homer or running through Bosworth

Posted by: sports freak | October 11, 2007 10:23 AM

Actually whenever they included soccer players in those cross-sport "battle of the superstars" competitions, soccer players always won. Their overall ability to do all the things necessary carried them past other athletes.

Posted by: PK33rd | October 11, 2007 10:31 AM

Curling, hands down.

Posted by: Floyd Landis | October 11, 2007 10:51 AM

Correction. The Spelling Bee. It's on ESPN, folks.

Posted by: Floyd Landis | October 11, 2007 10:54 AM

Hockey requires all the skills listed anywhere on this page except jumping. The big difference is one has to do it on 2 thin blades of steel. The rugby guy says rugby requires more endurance than any other sport?
Baloney. Coaches only want the lines in hockey to be on the ice for about 40 seconds. And after that, you are beat. You can't stay out there and go full speed for any longer than that. And you must be fearless because often your job is not to AVOID the puck but to get any part of your body in front of it that you can.

Posted by: Kurt Cannon | October 11, 2007 12:04 PM

Golf is deninately the sport which requires the most athleticism. No coverups in that sport. As a pro, it is literally you against the world. Those team sports mentioned above are just a bunch of pampered babies who happened to win a lottery.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 12:24 PM

I wish somebody had brought up just what the heck is "athleticism?" My guess is that it was a word that sportscasters came up with in the early 1980s because they were afraid of stereotyping by always describing blacks as quick and good leapers.

Posted by: Payne | October 11, 2007 12:24 PM

"Athleticism," it seems to me, developed in the late '80s among sportcasters as common shorthand for "athletic ability." Can anyone explain why "athletic ability" is insufficient? It seems more precise.

Posted by: ML | October 11, 2007 1:42 PM

Hockey, you need everything to play this sport, plus balance to stay on your skates. You need to have some intelligence to play the game, even if you are a fighter, you still need to survive.

Basketball, you need what was mentioned earlier but you can be a brain-dead buffoon and still dunk and the contact in basketball isn't as bad as hockey.

Baseball, you don't do much continuous movement, but to be a catcher or pitcher does take a lot out of you. You need to work your entire body to be able to deliver in the short spurts. Throwing takes the whole body, not just your arm.

Soccer, yes I'm putting it behind baseball for the simple flop mentality of soccer. If a player is taken down, he usually writhes in pain on the ground until a card is issued, then gets up and trots away so it couldn't have had that much effect. The fact that you can take a player out, play down a man and that play can come right back on after being tended to a blood injury, that ranks it up there.

Football, yep. I'm sorry, but you're only doing something in 5-10 second spurts every minute or so, then you sit out for 5-10 minutes while others do it. If you can catch and run, then you can play football. Footwork is a bonus but you don't need that much to survive.

Now, sports to officiate...
Hockey, you stay out on the ice all game and see how you feel while the players get some time to sit down.

Baseball (plate umpire), the base umpire is about as handy as a fork with soup. While you will get some use out of it, the spoon is what you need. The plate umpire has to decide over 300 calls over the course of 3 hours and be right 99% of the time. That's tough.

Basketball, even then I've seen my fare share of basketball officials work two games and not even sweat.

Soccer, all officials. The guy on the field is usually brain dead anyway and misses about 90% of what's happening. With 22 players, there is a reason the NFL has what 6-8 refs on the field at any given time? The assistants however have to scour the sidelines and do have to have judgement.

Football, again, not that hard and since baseball cracked down on it, they have some of the biggest officials in sports. Plus, as shown numerous times on all levels, you really don't need to have sound judgement to be at the "top" of the list, do you!

Baseball, base umpire. Nuff said.

Posted by: Sports Prognosticator | October 11, 2007 1:45 PM

Answer to riddle me this (Crabhands, way back in this string). If you consider "ability to keep doing it for life), rowing wins. I don't know about athleticism, but I've heard rowers are in the best physical condition of any athlete other than cross-country skiers.

Posted by: bigfish | October 11, 2007 1:58 PM

Fencing, hitting and avoiding being hit using a small metallic object. Plus constant alertness, mental thought and the need to be able to hit top speed in a split second, even with a change of direction, and the ability to move constantly for the entire bout. :)

Now that I've gotten off my soapbox, I don't think there's a real answer to this question. All sports (even Baseball) require all the different types of athleticism in varying amounts. Which sport you find toughest/think is more athletic is most likely going to be due to your own prejudice on which types of athleticism weight the most.

Posted by: Shoshana | October 11, 2007 2:28 PM

Volleyball!!!
Beach, Indoor, six man or doubles. It's tough. Requires everything that basketball does, and then some. If you don't think so, go try to play the game vs. people who can. You'll soon learn.

Posted by: Karch | October 11, 2007 2:31 PM

To Payne: See my earlier post.

Since no one answered it, I shall have to join the fracas and submit my entry: New Yorker hailing a cab during rush hour. I will submit a close second those MNF viewers who rush to the refrigerator and in single move, block the wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, grab a beer, return to the couch where they will scratch their little private parts and argue about the last 2 seconds of great action that just transpired - Ahhh, inspiring!! they are so quick they have enough time to listen to the BS by the 3 stooges in the booth before another great 2 seconds of athletic action.

Posted by: Jesus | October 11, 2007 2:44 PM

The most athletic people are women, ask any sailor.

Posted by: navyman | October 11, 2007 2:50 PM

I'd say that soccer requires the most flat-out athleticism being that it's pretty much non stop running.

Football on any level does require a certain amount of athleticism but mixes it with skill.

Baseball definatly requires more skill: any other sport if you do something 3 out of 10 times, you suck and need more work. Baseball, you do something 3 out of 10 times and you're a hall-of-famer in the making. Anyone kick kick/throw/pass a ball - not everyone can hit a 90mph curve ball.

Posted by: Marc | October 11, 2007 4:04 PM

drop lax way down the list. Guys can have 1 skill and be stars (speed/strength/coordination). Not one of those lax dudes can hang with an nba player, nfl receiver, a big league SS etc. Its what you play when you don't have another spring sport.

Posted by: Not Lax | October 11, 2007 4:21 PM

It might be ice hockey / NHL.

Many people are saying basketball. However, ice hockey requires all the same skills -- but in addition the player is balancing on skates on an ultra-slick surface.

Vying for position in the paint is analogouos in physicality to jockying for position in the crease.

The body checking in hockey is perhaps like blocking in football.

The dekes, starts and stops, hard cuts of hockey players with the puck is like the pivoting and picks, rolls, in basketball.

Skating is as demanding on the legs as jumping and running in basketball.

In fact, hockey is so intense, it is nearly impossible to play it at the pro level for a stretch longer than 60-90 seconds at a time. Only the Ovechkins, Lecavaliers, and Iginlas of hockey can take an occasional 120 second shift.

Then, finally, shooting a hockey puck at the necessary velocity takes tremendous strength. To those that have not tried it, imagine trying to toss a brick with a golf club.

Soccer takes 90 minutes of jogging -- and that level of endurance demands special consideration.

Posted by: Goon Hoser | October 11, 2007 4:31 PM

I'd have to say that every sport has athletic people in it no doubt. But I'd say in general, soccer players through out the world are the most athletic as a whole.

Oh and I'm not including wrestling, water polo, and MMA. Those sports are just crazy.

Posted by: hello | October 11, 2007 4:35 PM

Athletics n. sports, games, exercises requiring physical strength, skill, stamina, speed, etc.

Everyone who touts hockey lists skills (skating, stick handling, etc.) more than strength, speed, or stamina.

Boxing requires all four to a much higher degree. Is someone actually going to argue that Wayne Gretzky or Gordie Howie was a better athlete than Muhammad Ali? Please.


Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 4:39 PM

In agreement with many respondents, I would have thought that basketball requires the most athleticism. But how do you explain Michael Jordan's experience? When the best basketball player of all time tried his hand at baseball, he was mediocre. That would suggest baseball requires something that basketball doesn't.

Posted by: Mikey | October 11, 2007 4:40 PM

1. Fishing 2. Hunting 3. Beer drinking 4. Chasing cute cousin 5. Getting arrested.

Posted by: Fredneck | October 11, 2007 4:45 PM

Taking all four into consideration -- physical strength, skill, stamina, speed -- soccer would not crack the top 10.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 4:52 PM

In Jordan's case, I would say hitting the ball required a special skill set he could not acquire. But on the flip side, how would a great hitter like Tony Gwynn fare on the basketball court?

Posted by: loux23 | October 11, 2007 4:57 PM

1) Aussie Rules - No sport compares. Watch a game and tell me that another sport is tougher in skills, athleticism and strategy...its also the sport you never want your kids to play
2) Rugby
3) Swimming
4) Basketball
5) Crew - Hardest training, quickest sport
6) Soccer (except Goalie)
7) Tennis
8) Hockey
9) Volleyball
10) American Football (except QB)- Please you play 30 minutes in heavy padding over 4 hours (including TV ad time) and even then you're lucky to be involved in a couple plays unless you're a big fat guy who stands in front of the QB
11) Baseball/Cricket - Questionable if these are sports,

Posted by: Crazy Americans | October 11, 2007 5:15 PM

My definition of "athleticism" would basically basically includes raw speed, agility, strength, hand-eye coordination. I think people are confusing something that is a highly-developed skill such as hitting a baseball, hitting a golf ball, driving a car, etc with athletic ability. Not the same thing. I believe people can be born with (and subsequently develop) a gift for a certain skill that involves hand-eye coordination in a specific setting. But this is different from all-around, multipurpose athleticism.

I don't include toughness (in the case of football, rugby, hockey) as part of athleticism. The ability and willingness to hit and be hit is a mental asset that is important to many sports, but it belongs in a difference category. Endurance (aka stamina) is the same: absolutely necessary to play at a high level, but not the same as athleticism.

I also think the debate is also more fair if people limit the argument to the highest levels of the respective sports. Meaning one should compare professional or Olympic level athletes against each other.

Finally, congrats to Washington Post for coming up with a winner of a blog entry. And BTW, my vote is for basketball.

Posted by: DC | October 11, 2007 5:38 PM


I played them all. Soccer by far. Your run non stop for 45 minutes, rest for 12 minutes or so, then repeat.

I played soccer until I tore my ACL at age 33, almost 34. Just before I tore it, my sister entered me in a 5 mile race. I had never raced, but without pushing very hard, I did the 5 miles in 30 minutes.

When I played soccer, I went on a canoe trip, where I had to carry an 80 pound canoe AND a 45 pound pack for a mile long portage, over rocks and roots. I could handle it. Two years later, after I tore my ACL, and could no longer play soccer (although I ran 3 miles severa times a week, about 7 minute miles), I could no longer carry a canoe and pack together on a portage.

Basketball would be close if there weren't so many interruptions, but due to the constant intense running, soccer is it.

Tom G

Posted by: Tom G | October 11, 2007 5:58 PM

Okay, I can agree with those of you choosing Rugby, but Hockey?? I have played rugby, hockey, lacrosse and football. Hands down football requires the most athleticism. In football, you have such an array of body styles and each of them are in the best physical condition that their body will allow. I can make numerous arguments for football. Since many of us have pointed out certain athletes excelling or not excelling in other sports, I will base my arguement today on this one point.

There are many, many football players who have excelled on the college and pro level in other sports. There are a large variety of sports as well (track, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, etc.). Many of your top pro players played multpile sports in college and high school and many were all-americans in these other sports as well. You will not find this in any other sport.

I think this is nearly impossible to answer, however, based on this one aspect, I think there is a huge argument for football players being the most athletic. Go through one year on the college or pro level (training, practice, games, etc.) and you will come to the same conclusion.

Posted by: Bill | October 11, 2007 6:29 PM

I think this is nearly impossible to answer, however, based on this one aspect, I think there is a huge argument for football players being the most athletic. Go through one year on the college or pro level (training, practice, games, etc.) and you will come to the same conclusion.

Posted by: Bill | October 11, 2007 06:29 PM

I'm sitting next to a UT football player who said he couldn't disagree more. He says the number of fat line men who can barely make it off the field between plays is the best indication that you don't have to be athletic to play.

We now play in a local basketball league that is kicking our butts. His choice (and mine) basketball.

Posted by: Texas | October 11, 2007 6:56 PM

I think in the U.S. the most athletic people you would assume plays either basketball or football hands down. But world wide, the best athletes I would have to say play soccer.

Posted by: hello | October 11, 2007 9:20 PM

Soccer soccer soccer, carry a ball at full speed with your feet and run at full speed, that is trickier than handling a peck. You are basically handicapped when you have the ball, the opposition could tackle you potentially from anywhere, you have to be swift and elusive, all demanding the upmost athlectism. Basketball and football players got to use their hands to hold the ball, and the other hand to fend off the defenders. Soccer players also use their heads...and they have to improvise all the time, not like the rest with so much coaching....

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 10:27 PM

It's hockey and it's not even close.

The strength, speed, quickness, agility, stamina, hand-eye coordination, anticipation, teamwork, raw hand speed - there's no other sport that requires such high skill levels across such a wide realm of skills to succeed as hockey.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 10:27 PM

Having played most of the mentioned sports, unquestitonably BASKETBALL requires the greatest combination of stamina, coordination, natural talent, and complex skill sets. Just running a fast break is a incredibly difficult task, not to mention playing defense, rebounding, shooting, etc. No contest... it is in a league by itself in terms of the range of abilities required.

Posted by: bill | October 11, 2007 11:04 PM

Hockey?

Stop it. Seriously.
Yes, you have to skate, it's a learned skill. Yes, the hits are hard and you must posses some hand eye coordination. But overall athletics? Hockey players would lose every race to every one of these other sports and come in third or fourth in strength. Much less agile. Ooh, you skate and "make moves". Is that why the ratings in the Stanley Cup Finals couldn't keep up with Women's Softball last year? Did anyone even notice Hockey season started outside of the U.P. Mich? lol... They are tough guys, for sure but... not athletic. well... kinda. It's a sport for them to chew their food, what with no teeth and all.

Soccer and Rugby guys are in the best cardio shape, they NEVER STOP RUNNING! Maybe Lacrosse is in here too.

There are about 5 fat Basketball players, and let's not stereo type them ALL into Jordan/Kobe/Vince Carter. Half of them can't jump either....lol.. ask Brendan Haywood... (or even Magic in his heydey) but they're next in terms of cardio. They have moderate strength and superb agility. Tough? Only 5% of 'em wouldn't cry if hit by a hockey, football, lacrosse or NFL player.

Tennis players are in shape and agile, but aren't strong (compared to physical sports). And not fast. And plus, it's TENNIS! Hit the carpet ball.

Football skill position players can hit with force, run with speed ( just try to cover a WR who runs a 4.3 on a fly, wait 25 seconds and tackle a 250 pound fullback who runs a 4.6 coming at you on a sweep), are agile, have hand-eye coordination, endurance (here's where Hockey and Rubgy players also get credit, because you have to keep playing after someone JUST CRUSHED you in the ribs, not true for tennis, basketball or please, soccer or baseball) and have the mental toughness to remember what to do when the QB says:

Pro-set right, TE motion left, fake I-24 bootleg pass left, Zfly Xpost-out on two.

Ready? Break.

Football first. I'd go Rugby first, but the guys just aren't as big or as fast as NFL linebackers or running backs. Or as agile. Just as long as no one brings up Hockey again. C'mon. Hockey is No Slouch game and the guys at least are more athletes than BASEBALL (comes in what, 10th place in this convo?)....


Posted by: True Sense | October 11, 2007 11:17 PM

Soccer. The world's sport. Fantastic.

Are they strong (compared to other sports?) No. Not even close.

In shape? Without question. No comparison!

Fast? Moderately. Football WR and CB would clean their clock in a sprint.

Tough? Next question. I see them moan and roll on the ground over the slighest touch. It's not part of the sport for them to be tough. What do I mean by tough? Getting SLAMMED into the boards or CREAMED going over the middle type tough. Not, ooh that guy kicked me in my shin guard tough.

Skilled? Fabulously. They do miracles with their feet. But, so are all the top people, men and women in ALL these sports. The skill required to play pro-level ANYTHING is beyond the comprehension of all lay-people, so we'll call of it even.

Football skill position players.
WR.
CB.
LB.
RB.

Their athletic abilities cross over into the most sports, they are always, in shape, blazing fast, strong, super-agressive, tough and agile. What sport exists that can't use those SIX traits?

Posted by: True Sense | October 11, 2007 11:33 PM

Final Argument:

If Football Players show up in a pick up game in your sport, the ONLY advantage you'll have against them will be the the experience and LEARNED skill of that particular sport.

The wizardry of foot-skill in soccer, the placement of the pitch in baseball, just being able to skate in Hockey, dribbling and shooting in basketball, the hand-eye coordination in Tennis.

None of these sports will you be able to physically DOMINATE your brethern from football. You must rely on your SKILL to beat them. And you better HOPE none of them played your sport in high school or even grade school, where the skill and stragedy might come back to them.

The sports of rugby and Lacrosse, where field play and physicality come into play with cleats and brawn and speed? You don't want any of that 6foot4 240 pound, agile athelete who runs a 4.4 40 and LIVES to bury people running into your sight-line. Ya might think you want it. But ya really don't.

Ah, life.

In reality...lol.. we'll never find out.
Will we?

Posted by: True Sense | October 11, 2007 11:53 PM

Hockey to me is the most difficult of team sports - it requires high levels of skill, athleticism, endurance, and toughness. It's physical like Football, requires supreme skill like Baseball and Tennis, requires athleticism like Basketball. With Football and Baseball, since there are many different positions, they require different needs. Baseballl doesn't require close to the level of endurance required by many other sports. Rugby players like to say there sport is the toughest, but it really doesn't require the nearly the level of skill as the major sports. You're kidding yourself if you believe that.

Tennis is the most difficult of the individual sports. The only thing it doesn't have is physical contact. But it does have a component that the other major team sports don't and that's strategy. The strategy in team sports is done by the coaches not the athletes. So they are essentially out there executing and reacting while Tennis and individual sports in general require more thinking from the athlete. And anyone that's played sports competively knows that when you're tired, the first thing to go is your mind.

Posted by: EFX | October 11, 2007 11:55 PM

Hockey.... Easy choice... If a novice can go and play basketball, football, baseball that should give you a clue!!! I dont play hockey but once tried.. The combination of skating, puck handling, and watching for someone trying to knock your head off is incredibly hard. The average athlete can make a basket, throw and catch a football but cannot play hockey. Most people cant even skate let alone do what a hockey player does.

Posted by: Mike | October 12, 2007 1:10 AM

I think the QB position in football is probably the most demanding of skills.

Posted by: Terry Bradshaw | October 12, 2007 4:31 AM

Gotta be darts, followed closely by billiards.

It's not easy swilling beer and concentrating in those smokey rooms.

Posted by: mjh | October 12, 2007 6:30 AM

Anyone who thinks American Football requires more athleticism than Rugby is insane. Rugby players are much better athletes than American Football players. A rugby winger is just as fast as a skill player in American Football, and a prop is much more athletic than any lineman. All Rugby players have to constantly run and tackle, and they don't wear pads, they don't stop to call plays, and they play both offense and defense. They run for 80 minutes. American Football players have to be athletic, but they have nothing like the kinds of demands on their bodies than Rugby players do. I wouldn't rank them above Soccer (Real Football) players, either, if it comes down to skill and endurance. If you have to wear pads, you aren't tough. If you get to rest every few seconds to call a play, you aren't working hard. No comparison. Rugby is much tougher, and requires all the skill and speed of other sports. American Football is far down the list.

Posted by: Rugger | October 12, 2007 7:20 AM

The question wasn't "which sport is the hardest to play?" it was "which sport requires the best athlete"

Understand, at a high level: ALL of these sports are very difficult to play. The skills level of the top players are extremely high. And on a skill level discussion, it's apples versus oranges versus grapes versus spinach. None are better or worse, just DIFFERENT. In a good way.

Hockey. Will ya STOP it? Please. I'm begging all Hockey fans to stop. Read my posts above as to why.

Rugby players get SO much respect from me, but they are not as fast or strong as Football players. Period. No rugby player is running a 4.3 40 AND benching 225 pounds 20 times. End of story. And do ya really think football players are NOT tough outside of the pads? C'mon people. Sadly, pads still can't stop them from being taken out on a stretcher sometimes. The game is EXTREMELY violent. ok?

Soccer? They are in shape and agile. Moderately "fast" and not strong. That's it. They would CRY (i mean, tears) if a hockey, or rugby or football player touched them. Get out your tissue, Soccer players.

Let's remember the question people. Love ya.

Posted by: True Sense | October 12, 2007 7:56 AM

Remember the "Superstarts" competitions on TV from the '80's that pitted players from all sports into various competitions like obtabcle course, 40 yard dash, 1 mile run, hurdles, weightlifting, etc (okay I'm dating myself a bit). Who won?

Football players won every time. Those other sports require athleticism but have a greater percentage of their success that is due to a "skill" rather than pure athleticism.

Look at football recuiting. College programs recruit athletes out of high school then try to find a position for them in college. When recuiting they want the most athletic first and worry about finding them the right position to meet their "skills" second.

Posted by: jeff | October 12, 2007 8:25 AM

this conversation is almost laughable, what with all the hockey fans and wrestling idiots claiming their sport requires the most athleticism. There is a difference between skill and athleticism. hockey requires a level of skill, namely skating with a stick in your hand, that is not required of basketball. baseball too, requires the skill to hit a small ball traveling 90-100mph, which is said to be the hardest single task in all of pro-sports. but none of these sports require the athleticism of basketball, none. Yes, Gheorge Muresan was an oaf, but at 7'7" he had more athletic ability than average people. Most people his size are confined to beds their entire lives because of the difficulty they have moving. He could run and shoot the ball far better than even good high school players around 6' tall.
So while specific skills in other sports are harder, the raw athleticism of NBA athletes exceed that of all other sports, and it isn't even close.

Posted by: PG | October 12, 2007 8:52 AM

Rugby!

Posted by: Fernando | October 12, 2007 10:15 AM

Soccer (or football): Soccer needs tremendous stamina: therefore, one has to be extremely fit to move around the field for two 45 minute halves of active play. Also, soccer teaches team work and awards tough penalties for infractions of the rules. One is not allowed to question the referees decisions or argue with him. It is also a game of intelligence while being required to think quickly and decisively. Soccer: fitness of the mind and body.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | October 12, 2007 11:46 AM

The real question is this: which sport is the most competitive in terms of getting to the highest level. here is where football and hockey fall: small talent pools of athletes. football is only in the usa and hockey only northern areas of the world (canada, northern europe....

soccer BY FAR has the deepest telant pool of athletes....

for most of the world's athletes, soccer is the way out of poverty, the ticket to a better life... like basketball is here, which is why IN THIS COUNTRY the nba has the best athletes... there is a huge talent pool of good athletes to choose from all trying to get the the NBA...

lacrosse (i play it) is a great sport requiring many of the attributes of great athletes, BUT THE TALENT POOL IS TINY. and there is no money in the sport so poor kids don't dream about making it is lacrosse.

soccer is the dream to riches for the world's athletes (not in the us of course)

now multiply that times 100 and think about the talent pool behind a player making the starting 11 at REAL MADRID or Manchester United.

with basketball, cricket, and rugby codes coming way after...

Posted by: true footy | October 12, 2007 11:57 AM

I love what "Jeff" said this morning at 8:25. Remember the show "Superstars"?

Football players won everytime. They have the strength, speed, endurance, coordination & agility and toughness.

Are people still saying soccer? Stop. They are in shape, that's it (the BEST shape, I might add). Read a few posts up from here and see why soccer comes in around 5th.

Soccer. Right. Cute sport. Real cute. Like a teddy bear with high socks....lol

1-Football skill position players, too big too fast, too strong, to ATHLETIC for ya.
2-Rugby. They run and tackle all day
3-Lacrosse. They run and hit all day.
4-Hockey. They skate and hit all day

That's it for the true man sports. Others in order:

Soccer and Basketball tie (both in shape, both agile, that's it. both cry when hit)
Wrestlers
Gymnasts
Baseball (shouldn't really be on here)

Posted by: True Sense | October 12, 2007 12:02 PM

Poker players - from the amount of coverage that ESPN devotes to them, they must be awesome athletes.

Mixed Martial Artists would also be great in other sports because they can beat the crap out of whoever they are playing and win by default.

Posted by: DC | October 12, 2007 12:24 PM

Mixed Martial Artists would also be great in other sports because they can beat the crap out of whoever they are playing and win by default.

Posted by: DC | October 12, 2007 12:24 PM

It would be great if it didn't look like gay porn. Two in shape and sweaty guys in tight shorts rolling around on a mat dry humping each other. Cool sport!

Funny that Americans call Soccer gay but they prefer sports where guys wear tight clothes and touch each other a lot. Who came up with the idea of grabbing a ball from under another guys back side?

Posted by: football is super | October 12, 2007 1:12 PM

The two sports that require the most hand-eye coordination, stamina and spatial awareness are hockey and basketball, but look at it this way; if Alex Ovechkin played Michael Jordan one on one in basketball he would loose 11 to 4, If Michael Jordan practiced for a year to learn how to skate and played hockey with Alex in a one on one set up he would maybe get a shot on net in the next year or two.

Posted by: bootiak | October 12, 2007 1:24 PM

Of all of the mainstream sports, I would say that soccer players are easily the best all around athletes in the world.

A FIFA regulation field is much larger than an American football field and gameplay is continuous w/very few long pauses. That equates to players running almost non-stop for several miles per game - much of it at a sprinting pace.

The timing and coordination required to play professional soccer easily match or exceed that of any other sport - an that's not even considering the fact that it is all done with feet and head rather than hands.

It is not a contact sport on the level of American football or Rugby, but there are still some genuinely nasty collisions with minimal padding worn. Broken legs and concussions are fairly common injuries.

Sure, the best American athletes go into the big money sports, but if you ever watch a top tier English Premier league team such as Chelsea or Man U. you will see a collection of some of the greatest (and highest paid) athletes on the planet.

Posted by: eddie | October 12, 2007 2:03 PM

Yeah, it depends on how you define athleticism. If it's just hand-eye coordination, then you've got to add darts to the list....

I think on average probably soccer and basketball have the best athletes. And in some of the posts talking about ranking "contact" sports higher, you've obviously never played soccer or basketball.

Posted by: Hacksaw | October 12, 2007 2:47 PM

Some very good arguments for football here, especially from True Sense. Very convincing points. On the other hand, I'm seeing some rather weak arguments from the soccer fans, who are still bringing up things like fitness, endurance, teamwork and mental agility to defend their sport. In my opinion these are all aspects which can make a sport more or less challenging, but they are not the same as athleticism.

Unfortunately, I think most of us are unable to detach ourselves from our favorite sport (or country for that matter) in our attempts to approach this question rationally. Too many of us are drawing on our own experiences or memories and having those serve as universal fact. But it's situations like this, combined with the incredible ambiguity of the term "athleticism" to begin with that make this such a good "sports bar" type of debate.

In closing, go American football!

Posted by: DC | October 12, 2007 3:04 PM

Tie - Bocce and Cornhole

Posted by: Johnny | October 12, 2007 3:44 PM

Seems we need a uniform definition of what is a "sport." I think "sports" and "athletics" are two related but separate concepts.

I suggest the following definition: an athletic competition ending in a quantifiable (i.e. not judged) result is a sport. You can have different degrees of athletics involved and still have it be a sport.

Just because something is athletic doesn't mean it's a sport. Ballet is extremely athletic, but sure isn't a sport. Diving, gymnastics, figure skating, etc. all require a very high degree of athleticism, but they are judged competitions so they don't fit into my definition of sport (I think they should be in a separate category referred to as "athletics "). Golf is a sport, because even though the degree of athleticism is lower than in some other sports, it does require the acquisition of a high degree of physical skill and you know who the winners and losers are at the end of the day by an objective standard.

A competition that has a quantifiable result that involves no physical ability, like poker, chess, scrabble, is a game, not a sport.

Posted by: dc sportsman | October 12, 2007 5:01 PM

For the fat UT lineman... Maybe that's why he is fat and sitting next to you and not playing football. We all know not every athlete in every sport can be considered "the most athletic" in there sport or any. Take your arguement up with the 300 pound lineman running at 4.8-5.0 40 and bench pressings 225 pounds 25-30 times. How about the 6'2'' safety or WR running a 4.2 40 and a vertical jump of 11'. It's not just the 300 pound linemen playing football either.

Posted by: Bill | October 12, 2007 6:10 PM

water polo
triathlon

Posted by: skivoll | October 12, 2007 7:28 PM

Water Polo
Soccer
Lacrosse
Football
Hockey
Basketball
Tennis
...
..
.
Golf
Bowling
Beer Pong
Air Hockey
Golden Tee
Baseball

Posted by: Nathan | October 12, 2007 7:32 PM

If anyone says it is some other sport than basketball, they obviously do not understand the amount of skill it takes to play the game in the NBA. The taller anyone gets, the harder it is to control one's body. Shaqs do no exist, there is only one Shaq. There are hundreds of LTs or Randy Mosses athletically. But there is not another 7' 4" 350 pound athlete that can move with the quickness of Shaq. It just does not exist. The rarity of athlete that can play in the NBA is incredible.
A basketball player's skills can translate better than any other sport. Imagine if Kobe or Lebron played football or soccer. They would be the best at their positions because they have unrivaled ability; herculean verticles, blinding quickness, soft hands and tremendous fitness. Even players like Desmond Mason and Sasha Pavolvic would succeed. This question really does not deserve any discussion. The answer is obvious

Posted by: mike smeltz | October 12, 2007 10:04 PM

Sorry, True Sense - Rugby players are just as fast as your American Football Players. Some of the Maori backs that play for the All Blacks of New Zealand have been favorably compared to professional American Football players; they CAN sprint a 4.3 40, and CAN lift 225 pounds 20 times or more. You'll also find athletes of this caliber playing Rugby for Australia, South Africa, France, England and many other countries. These men are the best athletes from their countries. Don't buy into the delusion that athletes are only found in the United States. They are worldwide. American Football players are fit, but they don't have the same physical demands on them as Rugby players. They should have to play Rugby to learn toughness. Rugby players tackle, run, sprint and collide all game, they don't play on specialized teams for offense and defense. They don't get to rest while a play is called. They collide with the opposing pack in the scrum - it's as big a collision as anything in American Football - and they have to do all that without the protection of helmets and pads. Try it and draw your own conclusions. I assume you've played American Football, but you should give Rugby a go and make an informed comparison. It will change your mind, no question.

Posted by: Rugger | October 12, 2007 11:03 PM

hmmm, water polo... that is interesting...I can attest to the physical effort needed to play water polo. Very difficult.

At first I was really tempted to choose basketball. But then I reconsidered... here is my theory: The sport that requires the best athlete should be the sport that leaves the least room for poor athletes. Make sense?

Now football is kind of tricky because it encompasses a lot of different aspects, different types of athletes... but for that reason I don't think you can say that you need to be a top athlete to play football. Look at kickers, they kind of lower the bar for the rest of the team. Curious if people think corner or wideout requires better athlete. I say corner, because they can't anticipate the play where a wideout can take plays off a bit.

Baseball while requiring an enormous amount of hand eye coordination fails the all encompassing athletes test on account at least of the designated hitter. Which can basically be a partially retired player...

Soccer takes and enormous amount of endurance, and the great players have insane coordination truly at the top level of athletes... and yet I hesitate to put the entire team above another sport that I am getting to.

Rugby, again endurance - punishment, speed. But, lacks the really keen need for balancing with coordination etc. Great sport.

Lacross doesn't seem to top soccer in endurance or rugby in terms of punishment... on par... but I knew some out of shape players...

Here is my pitch. Some one else mentioned this. Hockey. OK. I know it isn't as popular, but here me out. In order to even begin playing any hockey at all, you have to be able to skate very well. No small feat for anyone, let alone a big man. Then, once you can skate (really skate) forwards, backwards, crossovers, stop on a dime start on a dime... then you have to handle a puck. Be super accurate, the puck can be as fast as a baseball... then you better learn to check or dodge, juke etc. etc. cause there is physical contact. And skaters can move twice as fast as a man on foot, so keep that in mind. So that is basically a big mix of everything, and I think even the worst players on the ice have to be pretty athletic. Plus it is hard as crap to shoot a puck any good at all, and those guys make the whole dang sport look easy, maybe too easy for their own good.

Posted by: greg | October 13, 2007 2:32 AM

Hockey:
Those guys are as big as football player and have to skate on ice and backwards. Then they stop of a dime and head the other way. Hands down, HOCKEY!
Try it you will see.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2007 6:20 AM

A professional soccer player will run any NBA player into the ground. Both sports require the same skills, only soccer players do it over a much larger playing surface. Soccer players must run full speed controlling a soccer ball, be able to stop on a dime, change directions, much like basketball players, and be able to control a soccer ball with different parts of a body. Most soccer players can also match basketball players in leaping ability. Also, most basketball players do not play the entire game, taking several brakes in the course of the game. Not so with most soccer players, who play the entire 90 minute period with no time outs.

Posted by: Edward Fajardo | October 13, 2007 7:48 AM

Most American sports are "hand-eye" coordination dominated. Based on that fact, I would have to say American Football probably requires the most athleticism to play. A close 2nd would be Basketball.
Having said that however, how many quaterbacks or pitchers or point guards can get a ball 40 yards or 50 yards down the field with their FEET!?! Not only that, unlike those other American sports, what you call soccer here is like running a marathon at (2) 45 minutes intervals with a 15 minutes break intervals in between. Having "Feet-eye" coordination alone which you don't see in any other sports, and running a marathon for 90 minutes while kicking a ball requires some serious athleticism in my book.
On a different note, while a baseball player at the plate and a pitcher throwing the ball does indeed require some serious "hand-eye" coordination, how much athleticism you need to potentially not ever break ONE sweat playing a sport for 3 hours while standing in the outfield?
Most outside the U.S. will not even consider baseball a sport. On the otherhand, while they may find American Football barbaric and too complicated, they respect the sport because of the obvious level of athleticism mixed with a few loose screws in your head required to play it.

Posted by: Jeanjak | October 13, 2007 8:42 AM

and oh yeah... Hockey Players are pretty athletic too. And also lunatic for that matter.
But any sports where the referees actually encouraged your to fight while they stand there eating their popcorns, where players are respected the less teeth you have, where throwing a baseball at the other players head once but NOT twice is actually legal etc... is not entirely a sport in my book. But a license to kill.

Posted by: Jeanjak | October 13, 2007 8:55 AM

MMA.

wrestling, boxing, muay thai all in one with 5 minute rounds?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2007 8:58 AM

"Athleticism" needs to be defined: is it cardio? VO2? Endurance? Muscle and nerve skills?

Let's throw some of these out here.

Australian Rules Football: 170-yard field, running, tackling, blocking punts, catching the oval ball, always on the edge of control.

Field hockey: Only five subs (in Test level matches), sprinting on turf all game long, no padding, and some 3,000 distinct nerve and muscle skills to master.

Ultramarathon/Adventure racing: These folks are truly freaks of nature, doing 100 KM or sometimes 100 miles per race.


______________________________________

JEFF wrote:

"Remember the "Superstarts" competitions on TV from the '80's that pitted players from all sports into various competitions like obtabcle course, 40 yard dash, 1 mile run, hurdles, weightlifting, etc (okay I'm dating myself a bit). Who won?"

Kyle Rote, Jr. -- soccer

Nuf. Sed.

Posted by: TOPOFTHECIRCLE | October 13, 2007 10:49 AM

Played all these sports here's my take:

hockey,
soccer,
basketball,
football,
wrestling,
baseball

Posted by: David | October 13, 2007 11:06 AM

It would be interesting to here the NBA's Suns Steve Nash's response to this question. Canadian, played hockey, lacrosse, father and brother were/are Soccer professionals, etc....

Posted by: doug | October 13, 2007 2:08 PM

I'm waiting for the world of soccer to make a great arguement as to why they would be the best athletes.

I'll give you that they are in the best shape. HANDS DOWN. You got it. No contest.

They also score high in agility (though no higher than basketball, lacrosse, skill-position football or even hockey)

But what else? Not why the SPORT is hard people. Why are they better athletes in terms of strength, speed, toughness and...?

you know what? Forget it. It's the world's most popular sport, and just like politics, popularity wins, not the real issues.

If the last generation of US football skill position players played SOCCER from age 10 instead of football, the USA would have won the the world cup and whatever other international soccer event there is or was. Just think of the players with track speed at 230-260 pounds and AGILE and AGRESSIVE. Game over. It's one reason why the US doesn't compete as well - we LOSE those guys to football -at an EARLY age.

If you put the greatest guys from soccer in USA football, you might get a good WR here and there, but other than that they'd be too small, weak and would have to STOP CRYING AND WHINING over minimal contact.

But nobody wants to see the issues, they just want to go for what they love. I understand.

It's cool.


Posted by: True Sense | October 13, 2007 2:19 PM

Rugger-

If those guys in Rugby existed (sprint time w/strength). They'd be playing in the NFL!!!

Lol.

Seriously, I gave rugby all the props I could give. Ranked it second despite its obscurity. That's all I can do man. Big love for those guys... but... I gotta get these soccer people outta here, they are getting on my shin-guard nerves.

Posted by: True Sense | October 13, 2007 2:25 PM

And Rugger-

My friend. I love ya man, but you can't really believe that all hockey, lacrosse and football players "don't understand toughness" simply because their sports require pads. There are a TON of tough guys in the legends of those sports, whom I'm sure would be tough without the pads too.

Soccer players play without pads and NONE of them would last 2 seconds in your Rugby or my Football, i've seen them squirm around in every soccer match there is.

(sorry man, had to take another shot at flopper- I mean, soccer.)

Posted by: True Sense | October 13, 2007 2:31 PM

Players who can sprint and have great strength do exist. They play Rugby at the international level. I don't think they'd want to play American Football. It isn't their game. What I find curious is that you have been given valid reasons why Rugby requires more athleticism, but you make no arguement as to why you disagree. I won't say American Football players aren't athletic, but for the reasons I've stated, they are not the athletes that Rugby players are. Every sport requires a different kind of athleticism. Footballers may not have upper body strength, but that doesn't mean that they aren't athletic. I've seen good arguements for Hockey as well. If you admire toughness, it takes a special kind of tough to play Rugby. Even if they wore pads, Rugby players would still have to constantly run and tackle, and sprint as well. Strength, skill, speed, coordination and strategy all play into Rugby games, and they do it in constant motion. No rest. No plays off. The lack of padding and crash gear just makes it faster and rougher. You should watch it. You'd agree. Rugby Players are a breed apart.

Posted by: Rugger | October 13, 2007 4:54 PM

American Football, easy. It requires everything other sports do, including the: speed
endurance
agility
superb body control both on the ground and in the air
quickness
soft hands
stable torso
peripheral vision
hand-eye coordination listed by 'Robert'. Plus, you have to be able to weather 200 to 1,000 plus pounds of malevolent flesh ramming straight into you/on top of you in a pile-up every single play. You have to carry an incredibly heavy load of equipment at all times. You have to play in the scorching heat and the bitter cold. While rugby players could make a claim - they run non-stop and take a lot of hits - they rarely have to take hits by multiple players (unlike in football, where all players converge on the ball, rugby is more spaced to cover the live ball/the field) and they play in lights shorts and Ts. Nor is there anywhere Rugby is played with the massive variations in climate presented in the US during Football season. If you're talking pure, nuanced skills, other sports become possible - golf and baseball, for example. Imagine, though, how long John Daly or Robert Clemons would last on the gridiron. American Football is war with heavy gear on in multiple climates with the opposing team out to physically hurt you at all times.

Posted by: Dick Butkus | October 13, 2007 6:41 PM

Rarely have to take a hit from multiple players? You've never seen a Rugby game, have you? No variation in climate? absurd!

Rugby players have every attribute you list - and I don't think you can count "endurance" for American Football unless your American Football player plays every play. They don't. Light shorts and T-Shirts? Have you seen any Rugby wear? Obviously not! At least WATCH a Rugby game before you make assumptions about how the game is played!

Posted by: Rugger | October 13, 2007 7:58 PM

Soccer is requires the most athleticism. Mostly because of the sheer number of people that play the game. The pool of basketball and football players are much smaller than soccer throughout the world. And I'm pretty sure than there are people in the world that are equally as athletic as basketball and football players. This means that in soccer, you have to be more fit, stronger, faster, jump higher etc... just to become more noticed for club teams. In the U.S. soccer is considered a lesser sport to the NFL and NBA and maybe NHL... So all in all it really depends on where the sport is. We can't compare people getting hit, because they haven't trained their bodies to do so. Like the European football league is similar to the MLS of the U.S.

Posted by: hello | October 13, 2007 9:35 PM

I lived in Australia for 7 years & saw heaps. There are many substitutions in rugby, so not all players play the whole game. In the NFL, only injuries generally remove a player from the field. Which 'rugby' league can play in 90 degree heat one week, and a snow blizzard the next, or play in sub-zero temperatures for several weeks in a row? None, as far as I know. If I'm wrong, please educate. Rugby 'wear' is light compared to football gear... add 20+ pounds - the rough equivalent of a beer gut - to every rugby player and see how long they last. And it's true, they don't take the hits that NFL players do. The ball is 'live' in rugby, so the WHOLE TEAM does not laser-gang towards the guy with the ball. If they did, the ball would be tossed across the field and run in. In the NFL, there's a guy with a target on him and 11 guys looking to clock him, which they do, every time. I dig that rugby players are tough - I knew a couple on the Brisbane Broncos, and those guys were friggin' killers - and it's a close call. It's also a bit apples and oranges, honestly, but you can't fault me having a bit of cultural bias ;)

Posted by: Dick Butkus | October 13, 2007 10:09 PM

The sport requiring the most athleticism is pole vaulting.

Posted by: Taunkakoo | October 13, 2007 11:11 PM

Wow. Rugger. Dude.

Dick Butkus' arguement is uh, Hmmm... pretty flawless. lol. He knew that sport WAY better than you thought and closed the case. Plus, he had the great point that carrying the EXTRA weight of the pads made Football players' athletic exploits even MORE amazing.

(Now, if I can just get the soccer world to stop with the lunacy. Can any soccer player even bench press his own weight? lol)

Posted by: True Sense | October 13, 2007 11:23 PM

True Sense & Butkus:

True, in American Football one guy gets gang tackled, but there are also 15 ruggers on the pitch at a time. The numbers alone should indicate that whoever has the ball on the pitch, not football field, will take a hit by more than one guy. Also, as the rugger with the ball does get hit, he often turns a blind side as he tries to pass, thus taking blind hits. Any player in either sport can run someone over on any given day, or get run over, but in rugby you have to be ready to be hit and be hit time and time again. In football, you basically deliver the blows - defense - or take more hits than you deliver - offense. That is overly simplistic but basically the case. In addition, there are few stoppages in play in rugby and you must go both ways - offense, defense and special teams, all, for 80 minutes.

I played both (rugby on several clubs, with a US Eagle and against several US Eagles on different clubs) and can say that an upper level rugby game is more draining and demanding than football. To say there are no "laser" hits in rugby or not many is not true; there may not be as many as in football but you must be ready to take them and deliver them, both. The demands required for both are very similar but I must side with rugby, being American not withstanding, based on the fitness level required. Yes, football requires speed, but then, the backs of the US Eagles or some of the top flite Super Teams in the US would challenge any DB or RB in the NFL. However, the requirement of rugby to be able to break into a full sprint in the 50th, 60th, 70th and 80th minutes of continuous play and tackle or score are what separate the two. In rugby you need to be fit enough to be able to do this time and again and this is what sets rugby apart from football. It is close but rugby wins by a pint.

George


Posted by: George of Alaska | October 14, 2007 6:02 AM

Mixed Martial Artists would also be great in other sports because they can beat the crap out of whoever they are playing and win by default.

Posted by: DC | October 12, 2007 12:24 PM

It would be great if it didn't look like gay porn. Two in shape and sweaty guys in tight shorts rolling around on a mat dry humping each other. Cool sport!

Funny that Americans call Soccer gay but they prefer sports where guys wear tight clothes and touch each other a lot. Who came up with the idea of grabbing a ball from under another guys back side?

Posted by: football is super | October 12, 2007 01:12 PM

It looks like gay porn to you because you're familiar with it and unable to appreciate wrestling as one of the most ancient forms of combat. Doesn't the sight of free kicks during soccer seem bizarre? Guys cupping themselves and rubbing shoulders with each other. Then again bias does seem to blind.

Posted by: DC | October 14, 2007 6:04 AM

Thanks, George. You got it right. So much for the American Football supporters. They're done, case for Rugby proven!

Posted by: Rugger | October 14, 2007 7:41 AM

Luging.....Especially Head first!!!

Posted by: ROBERT D JONES JR | October 14, 2007 8:37 AM

Since the rugby (inferiority complex) vs football (superiority complex) debate is getting a little old, how about this for a different perspective...

At their core, most of the major sports require roughly equal levels of athletic ability to play. In comparing most sports you can find comparable skills: in hockey you must skate well (change direction, stop and start abruptly, evade defenders, etc), while in basketball you must be able to do similar acts on foot but while maintaining a legal dribble in a variety of situations (double-teams, in traffic, etc). In my opinion the athletic ability required for these skills is roughly equal once you have learned them. The football vs rugby sports in truth probably "require" roughly the same amount of athleticism to play at a basic level, but that's not to say that that if you can play one, you can play the other -- again, there are different skills involved that must be learned and trained for. Some individuals may not be able to be acquire them at all.

The point is this. The answer to the question "which sport requires the most athleticism" is: the sport which has the best athletes. Sport is about competition, and the level of difficultly is mostly based on the athletic ability of your opponent. For example, basketball was invented by 5-8 160lb white guys who couldn't jump and weren't very strong or fast -- they could play the game, but in todays NBA they would be destroyed. The level of competition has increased.

In America as a whole, the best athletes are usually recruited to play football and basketball -- these sports are readily accessible to most young people from various walks of life and offer opportunities for scholarships, money, and fame. They are the most popular, and the most available. Therefore, those sports require the most athleticism AT THIS TIME. Historically, the most popular American sports were things like boxing, horse racing, baseball. The best athletes of that era participated in those sports. But the athletic marvels that would have once become great heavyweight champions will now become star linebackers. Therefore on a whole you'd have to say that the athleticism required to compete at the professional level is greater in the NFL than in boxing in this era. You can argue all day about the merits of one sport versus the other, but the fact is that the answer to the overall question depends very much on context.

Posted by: DC | October 14, 2007 8:58 AM

*sigh*

Like I said in an earlier post a few days ago... people are going to passionately support whatever sport THEY play and/or love. Many good points have been made for and against football/rugby/soccer/basketball/etc but I'll have to concede that I was WRONG. Dead wrong.

It's Darts.
I mean, who else can drink all that BEER and still throw that little sharp object with accuracy at a multi-color, trance-inducing target? Only the elite dart-throwers baby. They rule this earth.


!

Posted by: True Sense | October 14, 2007 10:08 AM

Unless you are a mid-fielder, most of soccer is walking when play is at the other end of the field. Watching it in person, I was amazed at how much the professionals walked when the ball wasn't near them.

Rugby, now that's a game, but much of it is brute strength, not finesse. Basketball players must have strength and finesse. Volleyball is difficult, but not in the same way as basketball. You only have to play one side of the court.

College wrestling I would have to rank above basketball. Those guys are crazy. Since you can't do that for money, I hadn't really thought about it.

JOE: I didn't say hockey was easy. I said that once you got the skating down, it's not as hard as some of the other sports. People think it is hard because of the skating, but the hits are not nearly as hard as football or rugby. The hand-eye is comparable to hitting a baseball or golf.

I grew up in the South where the closest rink was an hour away. There was no way I would be able to get the quality of coaching and skills to play pro. But D.C., where I am now, is at least getting there.

Posted by: Robert | October 16, 2007 6:11 PM

the skill it takes to put a bat on a 9in. in circumference ball is impecable any average Joe would get up to a plate and make a fool of himself trying to hit a 90mph plus fastball or a 80mph breaking ball with at least 3 feet of movement on it one must surpass hand eye coordination and come as close to manipulating the passage of time as some sort of time machine that does not exist or...have the skill to slow things down with ones mind, bring a bat from any number of angles behind u (as u cant watch both bat and ball until they cross or meet) and hit a very small ball SQUARLEY with a very small bat....

...END OF STORY!!!...

Posted by: you people are numbskulls... | October 18, 2007 8:34 PM

Figure Ssssskating of courssssssse. Can any of you do a triple axel? LOL. No seriously.

Basketball
Boxing
football
Hockey (maybe above football because it requires skating and hitting)
track
soccer
tennis
Baseball
Drag Racing (Get well John Force)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2007 5:41 PM

swimming is by far the hardest sport along with cross country, track, water-polo, and obviously triathalons

Posted by: swimmer | October 23, 2007 6:23 PM

Swimming by far....Think about it......

Posted by: aswimmer | October 26, 2007 10:31 PM

I have to disagree with all of you on this subject.

I play all kinds of sports, and I like all kinds of sports. I agree that all sports require alot of athleticism.

But above all sports I think baseball is the hardest sport to succeed in. Unlike other sports baseball isn't the same thing over and over again, when your at bat, you don't know what pitch is coming. Out of all the pitches in the world, you don't kno which one will come. You can have a clue but you are never 100% positive. Think about it, you are trying to hit a ROUND ball with a ROUND bat SQUARELY. There are all kinds of pitches; 2-seam fastball, 4-seam fastball, Curveball, slider, cirlce changeup, changeup, splitter, knuckle curve, knuckle ball, screwball, sinker.

Most fastballs are traveling at over 90 MPH, and you are 60 foot 6 inches away, thats less than a second to decide whether it is a ball, a strike, to swing to let it go or to wait for the next pitch for a better oppurtunity.

I guarantee you that you put a basketball player or football player or any other athlete on a baseball field they wouldnt be able to do half of the things a baseball player does, but you put any athlete on a basketball court or a football field, or any of those they would be able to play the sport with the best of them.

Posted by: Gmoney | October 30, 2007 1:59 PM

true sense......go fall of a cliff and slowly and painfully wither away to nothingness
get out your tissues..they might save you?

Posted by: FUZCK | November 5, 2007 7:24 PM

true sense..i highly reccomend this next sport to you:
falling off a cliff and slowly and painfully withering away to nothingness.
well... HAVE FUN
and dont fprget them tissues.
you will need them more than any soccer player
=]

Posted by: true sense es un haz | November 5, 2007 7:28 PM

hey true sense...your right
but i have an even better sport:
falling off a cliff and potentially dieing if using the right strategy
well good luck with that

Posted by: true sense SUNA | November 5, 2007 7:30 PM

Pole vaulting.

Posted by: Bob Segren | November 6, 2007 11:18 AM

LACROSSE. Hands down. There is no contest. There is no sport that requires as much pure power, athleticism, finesse, brutality, accuracy, endurance, teamsmanship, and skill.

Posted by: gomez4prez | November 6, 2007 12:35 PM

True Sense is an idiot. Have you ever seen a soccer game in Europe or South America...They kill each other and the pace is amazing. There is no doubt soccer has the best athletes world-wide...

Posted by: No Sense | November 6, 2007 3:34 PM

NBA
College Basketball
NFL
NHL
College Football
College Hockey
Lacrosse
MLS
MLB
college soccer
PGA Golf

Posted by: ackpat | November 6, 2007 4:39 PM

Me and my trainer had this conversation just today. He thinks Soccer, I say Basketball. He's gone to get the "stats" to prove his case. We'll see. Nice to see so many others agreeing with me. As someone who has practiced and played comeptitively at some point Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf, and Soccer as well as played Tennis and Hockey I know Basketball hands down requies the most athleticism.

Actually, Hockey comes close I think but it doesn't require the jumping ability or in-air body-control basketball does. ANd the guy that says basketball is not a contact sport is full of sh--! What it doesn't have is pu--zzy pads or helmets to protect your body.

From strength and agility to reflexes and body control, basketball requires generous amounts of every concievable natural (i.e. gifted) trait one would associate with athleticism.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:43 AM

lax and hockey
LAX=soccer, football,basketball(jumping,quick feet), hockey(hitting) all combined

hockey= either u r the owner or the owned
the hitter or the hit
the sniper or the sniped

(what baseball player can take a hit from a 230 lb guy coming at you 20 mph?)

Posted by: bobby | November 7, 2007 3:51 PM

Interesting arguments. My one comment would be that beach volleybell is the hardest, and no one is going to understand this except those who have gotten good enough to play "open division" tournaments. Seven games over the course of a day in deep sand can not be described. It's about 2 hours of sprint drills with nearly 450 full jumps thrown in. You can't have any weaknesses, mental or physical. Soccer probably requires more athleticism, but I never got to "high" level of play so I can't compare fairly.

Posted by: Jyerka | December 6, 2007 9:56 PM

gymnastics is BY FAR the sport with the GREATEST athletes in the world! it requires strength, flexibility, and you cannot be a chicken! you try flipping six feet in the air over a 3.75 in. wide piece of wood and sticking the landing! trust me. its not easy......if you cant handle the injuries of gymnastics, try a less demanding sport.

Posted by: jackielynne | December 23, 2007 11:44 AM

look every sport requires something diffrent, each indivdual has something different, i've competed in different sports all at national level and all require different componenets to be succesful. my training has always had to change and ive had to stop one to become elite in another.

look at sports such as canoe slalom fast uncontroable rapids, badminton go no's how i can't control the shuttle where i want it and squash the sport of the brave with a little ball pinging round without a cup lol

Posted by: sportstar | December 31, 2007 10:38 AM

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