The Most Difficult Position in All Sports: Ranking the Ultimate Challenge

Choose the position you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 2, 2023 16:55)
Get ready to dive into the ultimate sports showdown as we at StrawPoll bring you the most exhilarating ranking challenge ever! Are you curious to know what the most difficult position in all sports is? Look no further, as we've compiled a thrilling list of the toughest, most grueling positions across various sports for you to vote on. But wait, there's more! If you think we've missed a formidable contender, don't hesitate to suggest it and let your voice be heard. Flex your sports knowledge muscles, rally your fellow sports enthusiasts, and join the action-packed debate now! The battle for the toughest sports position supremacy is on, and only your vote can determine the winner! So gear up, and let the games begin!

What Is the Most Difficult Position in All Sports?

  1. 1
    Goalkeeper in soccer
    Nbrooks503 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The goalkeeper is responsible for protecting the goal and preventing the opposing team from scoring. It requires quick reflexes, excellent decision-making skills, and the ability to read the game.
    The goalkeeper in soccer is the position responsible for guarding the team's goal and preventing the opposing team from scoring. The goalkeeper plays a crucial role in the team's defense, often being the last line of defense. They must possess quick reflexes, excellent positioning, and strong communication skills to coordinate with teammates and organize the defense. The pressure and high-stakes nature of the position make it one of the most challenging roles in all of sports.
    • Reflexes: Goalkeepers must have lightning-fast reflexes to react quickly to shots and make instinctive saves.
    • Positioning: A good goalkeeper has exceptional spatial awareness and knows how to position themselves correctly to make saves and cut down angles.
    • Agility: Goalkeepers need to be agile to dive, jump, and change direction swiftly while still maintaining balance and control.
    • Distribution: Goalkeepers should possess the ability to distribute the ball accurately and quickly to initiate counter-attacks or build-up play.
    • Handling: Excellent handling skills are essential for goalkeepers to catch, parry, or punch away shots and crosses.
    Goalkeeper in soccer in other rankings
  2. 2
    The quarterback is the leader of the team and responsible for directing the offense. He must make quick decisions, read the defense, and have the ability to throw accurately.
    The quarterback in American football is considered one of the most difficult positions in all sports. This player is responsible for leading the offense, making split-second decisions, and executing plays effectively in a high-pressure environment. The quarterback is often the key to a team's success and is heavily relied upon to set the tone for the entire offense.
    • Throwing Accuracy: The quarterback needs precise throwing accuracy to complete passes and avoid interceptions.
    • Arm Strength: A strong arm is required to make long, accurate throws and fit the ball into tight windows.
    • Leadership: The quarterback must possess strong leadership skills to command the offense and earn the trust of the team.
    • Decision-Making: Quick decision-making under pressure is crucial for a quarterback to choose the right play or read the defense.
    • Field Vision: Having good field vision allows the quarterback to assess the field, read the defense, and find open receivers.
    Quarterback in American football in other rankings
  3. 3
    The pitcher is responsible for throwing the ball to the opposing team and preventing them from scoring. It requires precision, accuracy, and the ability to deceive batters.
    The pitcher is a position in baseball that involves throwing the ball towards the home plate with the goal of striking out opposing hitters and preventing them from getting on base. It is considered one of the most challenging positions in all sports due to the combination of physical demands and mental strategies required.
    • Arm Strength: Pitchers need exceptional arm strength to generate the speed and movement required to effectively throw different types of pitches.
    • Accuracy: Pitchers must have pinpoint accuracy to consistently throw strikes and avoid giving free bases to opposing batters.
    • Pitch Repertoire: Pitchers utilize a variety of different pitches such as fastballs, curveballs, changeups, sliders, and more, each requiring mastery and understanding.
    • Pitching Mechanics: Proper pitching mechanics are crucial to maximize velocity, control, and reduce the risk of arm injuries.
    • Endurance: Pitchers often throw a substantial number of pitches, and stamina is vital to maintain performance throughout long games.
    Pitcher in baseball in other rankings
  4. 4

    Point guard in basketball

    James Naismith
    The point guard is responsible for directing the offense and creating scoring opportunities for the team. It requires excellent ball-handling skills, vision, and the ability to make quick decisions.
    The point guard in basketball is a crucial position responsible for orchestrating the team's offense, ensuring smooth ball movement, and setting up scoring opportunities for their teammates. They are typically the team's primary ball-handler and playmaker, often being referred to as the 'floor general'.
    • Ball-handling skills: High-level dribbling ability is essential for the point guard to navigate through defenses and maintain control of the ball.
    • Passing ability: The point guard must possess exceptional passing skills to accurately distribute the ball to teammates and create scoring opportunities.
    • Court vision: Having exceptional court vision allows the point guard to read the game, make quick decisions, and find open teammates.
    • Leadership: Being the primary decision-maker on the court, the point guard needs to possess strong leadership qualities to guide and motivate their teammates.
    • Basketball IQ: An in-depth understanding of the game's strategies, plays, and tendencies is crucial for the point guard to make intelligent decisions in real-time.
    Point guard in basketball in other rankings
  5. 5
    The wicket-keeper is responsible for catching the ball and preventing the opposing team from scoring runs. It requires quick reflexes, excellent hand-eye coordination, and the ability to read the game.
    The wicket-keeper in cricket is a specialized fielding position primarily responsible for standing behind the wicket to catch the ball delivered by the bowler and also for stumping batsmen. They are an integral part of the fielding team and play a crucial role in the game.
    • Gloves: Wicket-keepers wear gloves with thick padding to protect their hands while catching the ball.
    • Leg Guards: They wear leg guards that cover their shins and knees for protection from fast deliveries and possible impacts.
    • Helmet: To safeguard against fast and unexpected deliveries, wicket-keepers wear helmets with a faceguard.
    • Hand-Eye Coordination: Wicket-keepers require exceptional hand-eye coordination to react quickly and catch the ball accurately.
    • Reflexes: Quick reflexes are essential for wicket-keepers to react swiftly and make successful catches or stumping attempts.
  6. 6
    Fly-half in rugby
    David Sedlecký · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The fly-half is responsible for directing the offense and creating scoring opportunities for the team. It requires excellent ball-handling skills, vision, and the ability to make quick decisions under pressure.
    The fly-half is one of the most challenging positions in rugby. This player is typically the key decision-maker and the player responsible for orchestrating the team's attack. They must have exceptional passing, kicking, and tactical skills, as well as a high level of vision and game awareness. The fly-half often assumes a leadership role, directing the team on the field and communicating with other players. They require strong communication skills and the ability to make split-second decisions under intense pressure. Overall, the fly-half is a crucial position that requires a unique combination of physical, technical, and mental abilities.
    • Passing abilities: Exceptional passing accuracy and the ability to accurately distribute the ball to teammates.
    • Kicking skills: Strong kicking technique for both tactical kicking and goal kicking.
    • Game vision: High level of spatial awareness and the ability to read the game.
    • Tactical decision-making: Ability to make effective decisions regarding attacking strategies, set-piece plays, and general game management.
    • Leadership qualities: Capability to lead and direct the team on the field.
  7. 7
    Gymnasts must perform difficult and complex routines that require strength, flexibility, and precision. They must also have excellent body control and the ability to perform under pressure.
    The gymnast in gymnastics is considered one of the most physically demanding and challenging positions in all sports. Gymnastics requires a high level of strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and mental focus. The gymnast performs a variety of acrobatic movements, flips, and balances on various apparatus such as the floor, balance beam, uneven bars, and the vault. They are expected to display precise execution, artistic expression, and control throughout their routines, often requiring them to perform difficult skills with grace and ease.
    • Strength: Gymnasts possess exceptional upper body, core, and lower body strength to execute various routines and hold positions.
    • Flexibility: Gymnasts must demonstrate outstanding flexibility to perform splits, backbends, and other contortionist movements.
    • Agility: Gymnasts exhibit quickness and agility to transition between different skills seamlessly and react swiftly to changing apparatus.
    • Coordination: Gymnasts have exceptional hand-eye coordination and body control to execute precise movements on apparatus like the balance beam and bars.
    • Balance: Gymnasts showcase excellent balance skills to maintain stability and perform intricate moves on narrow and elevated surfaces.
  8. 8
    Jockeys must control their horses and navigate through a crowded field while racing at high speeds. It requires excellent balance, strength, and the ability to make quick decisions.
    The jockey in horse racing is a highly skilled and specialized position in the sport. Jockeys are tasked with riding and controlling horses during races, requiring a combination of strength, agility, and strategy. Their primary goal is to guide their horse to victory by maneuvering through the racecourse while making split-second decisions.
    • Weight requirement: Jockeys must meet strict weight requirements, usually ranging from 108 to 126 pounds, including their equipment.
    • Height: Jockeys are generally shorter in stature, usually below 5 feet 6 inches, to minimize the weight carried by the horses.
    • Endurance: Jockeys need to maintain physical endurance throughout races that can range from a few furlongs to several miles.
    • Skillset: Jockeys must possess exceptional horsemanship skills, including a deep understanding of how to handle and communicate with horses.
    • Tactical awareness: Jockeys need to assess the race conditions, strategize on positioning, and make split-second decisions during races.
  9. 9
    Alpine ski racers must navigate through difficult terrain while racing at high speeds. It requires excellent balance, strength, and the ability to make quick decisions.
    Alpine ski racing is considered one of the most difficult positions in all sports. It involves racing down snow-covered slopes at high speeds while maneuvering through a series of gates. The skier needs to possess exceptional skills, balance, strength, and agility to navigate the challenging terrain and maintain control throughout the race.
    • Speed: Racers can reach speeds of up to 140 km/h (87 mph) in downhill events.
    • Gates: Racers must pass through a series of gates marked by flags, requiring precision turns and quick decision-making.
    • Courses: Courses vary in length and difficulty, often including steep sections, jumps, and tight turns.
    • Equipment: Skiers use specialized equipment including skis with sharp edges, bindings, boots, helmets, and body-hugging suits.
    • Physical Demands: Alpine ski racing requires tremendous physical fitness, endurance, and core strength to withstand the forces and maintain control while racing downhill.
  10. 10
    Decathletes must compete in ten different events that test their strength, speed, and endurance. It requires excellent physical fitness, mental toughness, and the ability to perform at a high level in a variety of events.
    The decathlete in track and field is a challenging athletic event that requires athletes to compete in ten different track and field disciplines over a two-day competition. It is widely considered one of the most difficult positions in all sports due to the wide range of skills and physical demands it requires.
    • Disciplines: 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, 1500 meters
    • Duration: Two days
    • Scoring: Points are awarded for performance in each discipline, and the athlete with the highest overall score wins.
    • Physical Demands: Requires a combination of speed, strength, endurance, agility, coordination, and flexibility.
    • Mental Toughness: Athletes must maintain focus and perform consistently well across multiple disciplines. The decathlon tests their mental resilience and ability to handle pressure.

Missing your favorite position?


Ranking factors for difficult position

  1. Physical demands
    Consider the physical strain and endurance required in the position, including strength, speed, agility, and conditioning.
  2. Skill level
    Evaluate the level of technical skills required to excel in the position, such as ball-handling, footwork, shooting, or tackling.
  3. Decision-making and strategy
    Take into account the need for quick thinking, adaptability, and strategic planning to anticipate and respond to opponents' moves effectively.
  4. Mental toughness and focus
    Assess the level of mental resilience and focus needed to perform under pressure, deal with setbacks, and maintain confidence.
  5. Position-specific responsibilities
    Examine the specific roles and functions of the position within the context of the sport, including its impact on teammates and overall team success.
  6. Level of specialization
    Consider whether the position requires a specialized skill set or unique abilities that may be more challenging to develop compared to other positions.
  7. Versatility
    Evaluate the need for adaptability across various positions or roles within the sport, as players who can excel in multiple positions may face more complex challenges.
  8. Defensive and offensive responsibilities
    Assess the balance between defensive and offensive duties within the position and how this may contribute to the overall difficulty.
  9. Leadership and communication
    Consider the need for strong communication skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to coordinate and motivate teammates effectively.
  10. Injury risk
    Take into account the potential for injury within the position and the level of risk associated with performing certain tasks or maneuvers.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult position in all sports. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or position is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 199 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each position once every 24 hours. The rank of each position is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult position in all sports

Sports have always been an integral part of human culture. From ancient times to modern days, people have always been drawn to the thrill, excitement, and competition that sports offer. However, not all positions in sports are created equal. Some positions require more skill, dedication, and mental toughness than others. When it comes to the most difficult position in all sports, the debate can be quite intense. Many experts and enthusiasts have different opinions on the matter. Some argue that playing quarterback in American football is the most challenging position due to the immense pressure, physical demands, and mental acuity required to succeed. Others believe that playing goalkeeper in football (soccer) is the toughest job, as it requires lightning-fast reflexes, excellent decision-making abilities, and the ability to stay focused for the entire game. Other positions that are often cited as being incredibly challenging include the pitcher in baseball, the point guard in basketball, and the scrum-half in rugby. These positions require a unique set of skills, including speed, agility, strength, and strategic thinking. Ultimately, the most difficult position in all sports is subjective and can depend on various factors such as the sport, the level of competition, and the individual player's strengths and weaknesses. However, one thing is for sure - being the best in any position in any sport is a monumental achievement that demands hard work, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

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