10 Hardest Sports to Master

By Christine Toh

Throw this title into the forum and you will see comments bombarding the page. Let’s face it, every sport has its difficult sides and there is no way to compare which sport is harder than the other. These 10 sports that are listed in this post only makes up a handful out of the many that people find it difficult to master.

Now tell us: What do you think are some of the hardest sports that you’ve tried?

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  1. Swimming

I’m sure that many of us were put through compulsory swimming lessons in secondary school so that we have a minimum bronze certificate. The pools in Singapore are also perpetually crowded on weekends where many Singaporeans, young and old, enjoy going for a relaxed swim.

If so many people can swim, it should be an easy sport. You are wrong if you think that way.

Swimming requires the use of every single muscle of your body, making it very taxing for competitive swimmers who have to train for up to 27 hours a week. Furthermore, swimming seasons are never ending, giving swimmers very little time to rest. We also can’t neglect the fact that the prime age for competitive swimmers is 21 years old, meaning that most of them compete at a really young age.

Now it seems that swimming is not that easy after all. However, if you are still interested in learning how to swim, head over to The Swimming Room or the Singapore Swim Fitness Academy and enjoy swimming under the guidance of their professional instructors.

2. Tennis


Tennis is a sport that is both physically and mentally taxing. It requires an immense amount of mental focus for the players to strategise their moves based on their opponents’ strengths and weakness. Players also need to be highly adaptable to possible changes in the playing style of their opponents. Players also need an excellent physique for a fast moving match like tennis which requires huge burst of energy for every movement.

With all these factors in place, tennis players appear to be playing chess while sprinting.

3. Rowing

Rowing may look easy but having to do it over long distances without any rest requires years of practice

Formation of calluses on Rowers’ hands are common as they have to endure the pain as they paddle with the wooden oar handle for hours. With 60% of the movement concentrated on the legs, Rowers also have to fight against the temptation to stop rowing due to leg soreness from lactic acids formation in their muscles.

4. Soccer


Ask any Singaporean male whether they play soccer and they would most probably say yes. If so many people are playing it, then it should be a relatively easy sport, no? I realised I was wrong when I personally tried playing it during my school days.

Soccer is a sport that involves lots of coordination and multitasking. Players are required to focus on keeping the ball close to them, dodge their opponents and estimate the strength and angle at which they have to kick so that the ball can be successfully passed to their team mates.

We also can’t forget that soccer is infamous for their high rates of injuries ranging from sprains to severe cases of dislocations and broken bones. (I shall be kind and not insert any gruesome images)

5. Ice Hockey

While there may be many sports where we can just put on our sports shoes and enter the game, this doesn’t apply to Ice Hockey. You must first learn how to skate otherwise you will be unable to play the game.

After you master the art of skating, all the required skills of passing, shooting, defending, attacking and game strategising come into play.

6. Gymnastic


Being a gymnast takes more than just flexibility, they have to go through a lot of body conditioning which involves a lot of extreme routines such as handstand press ups. So trust me when I say that female gymnast can be more muscular than most of their male friends.

Did you watch final destination where one of the gymnast died when she did a poor landing and broke her back? That’s the kind of risk that gymnast take whenever they do a certain stunt.

7. Rugby

Judging from Rugby games and the way that the media portrays it to be, you should not be shocked when i say that bruises, cuts, knee ligaments and concussions are common injuries.

Although most Rugby players are becoming bigger and stronger, they are still exposed to risk of internal injuries over the long run. This shows how much stress that the players put their bodies through, making rugby a sport which athletes require a lot of willpower to continue fighting against the pain.

8. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)


Due to the unpredictability of MMA, it is nearly impossible to defend your UFC heavy weight title for more than two consecutive times.

Fighters get hurt after each fight, making their body more and more vulnerable to severe injuries after each match. No one can ever predict when they would get knocked out during a match.

With so much uncertainty, MMA fighters can only train to their best ability and go through intense training to improve their strength, stamina and power.

We can only hope that the athletes and their trainers know how much training is enough.

9. Figure Skating


Did you know that there are professional skaters who started training at a young age of 2? Having to master the art of balance, flexibility and strength all at once, it is inevitable that these skaters have to start young.

The elegance that comes with their every move are earned from uncountable number of cuts and bruises they suffer from their practices. The immense dedication, optimism and strict diet plans involved in merging dance and skating sure is something that we should admire them for.

10. Water Polo


Fun fact: In year 2012, Yahoo.com recognised water polo as the toughest team sport

Playing a common land sport in water sure sounds like trouble to me. Imagine being in the same chaos that Water Polo players face for every match. Opponents might elbow you, dunk you or even kick you without any prior warning. That’s not all: With water constantly being splashed into your face, it is very difficult to see where you are heading to or where your team mates are.

One more thing: there is no way that Water Players can rest at any point of the game. Talk about intense!

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“It’s a tough sport, but any sport is tough. Any athlete knows how much work it takes and how it affects your life. You can’t always go out with your friends, but it gives you something in your heart you love so much and that’s what you want to do it.” — Ashley Cain, 19

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