Which sports require the most skill?

This is a hard question to answer because “skill” can be quite hard to define and is incredibly different from sport to sport.

I personally love the concept of perceptual intelligence.

Perception is the ability to see, hear or become aware of something through our senses. It’s the neurophysiological processes, including memory, by which we become aware of and interpret external stimuli and in turn, do something about it.

My favourite example is a boxer not reacting to a single punch but countless stimuli, such as the opponent’s previous shots (what they did during previous rounds), their foot position, shoulder position, line of sight, etc, etc, etc.

Our perceptual intelligence improves the more we play a specific sport, and we know the closer an open agility drill (cone drill with a reactive component) is to the athlete’s sport, the better they will perform. However, are there also specific skill-acquisition gene’s? Why do some people excel in one sport but not another (on a technical level)?

Anyway, I could waffle on about this all day, so here are my top 3: (I really had to think about this)

  1. Ice Hockey: Hockey players are moving at incredible speed, on ice, with many contacts involved. All while using a hockey stick to maneuver a puck that can be hit at around 100mph.
  2. Tennis: Tennis balls are generally going faster than any other ball (other than golf balls). The players have to incorporate an unbelievable amount of multidirectional speed (acceleration and deceleration) while returning the ball within a specific area of the court.
  3. Boxing: You don’t appreciate the skill involved in boxing until you get quite good (good enough to dominate a well-trained opponent), and then you get in the ring with someone, and they take you into the matrix, you can’t touch them, and it feels like there are 3 people in there hitting you. Note: It could easily argued combat sports like MMA or Muay Thai require more skill (what do you think?)

I would have loved to put Olympic Weightlifting in the top 3 because the lifts are incredibly technical. However, without the chaos factor of an opponent doing something different, I think it makes it in the top 10 (like gymnastics) but not the top 5.

What sports do you think require the most sport – what are your top 3?


Jason Curtis

If you found this article useful, check out:

My Books:

My Instagram: 

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Subscribe to our newsletter

No spam, information and training tips to make you a better athlete, coach or pt.