Top 10 Toughest High School Sports

This is not toughest sports, but it's the toughest high school sports. Ones which you dreaded all day, but you just couldn't quit.
The Top Ten
1 Cross Country

When you wake up at the crack of dawn every day, run for miles on end, nearly break your legs from the stress, and enjoy it, you're one of two things: a masochist or a cross country runner.

Lots of sports are hard, but cross country just gets so intense. Waking up every morning before the sun rises to go do something you hate is difficult. Not being able to go three days without feeling terrible on a run is tough. Every runner gets injured at some point and has to keep running through it.

During races, you don't have the option of having a bad day or quitting. If you're varsity, you have to be good no matter how you feel. I've seen one of my teammates push himself so hard that he broke his femur in half during the last stretch of a race. He had been running on a stress fracture for months.

Varsity takes it to a whole new level. There are only seven runners for it, while other sports have four to six times that many. You can't let yourself have a bad day or you'll lose your spot. From the other perspective, you can't let anything hold you back, or you'll never be varsity.

Cross country runners do something very hard, but what takes it so high is the constant competition. They do it no matter the conditions - injuries, hail, rain, wind, or snow - and get no breaks from running all year. Summer training leads to the cross country season, to winter track, and then to spring track.

I have seen so many great runners quit because the running is both mentally and physically degrading. People just don't want to deal with the pain of running anymore.

I couldn't do cross country if it weren't for the team. The team is what keeps you going. Whenever I'm running alone, I am barely keeping myself going, but with the team, I don't even consider stopping. Cross country wouldn't be a sport if it wasn't a team.

2 Wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds.

I have literally participated in every sport from elementary through middle school, and I currently play high school sports. However, wrestling is the hardest sport I've ever done. It is mentally and physically draining. You feel like quitting just because of the practice. It's a simple game with simple rules, but what makes the sport are the wrestlers. You have to have physical and mental endurance to last in this sport, especially during matches. I've never wanted to quit a sport other than wrestling, but I love it at the same time.

I am mainly a football player and do wrestling in the off-season. Let me tell you, wrestling is 10 times harder than any high school sport out there. It's the hardest high school sport. You have to learn so much, and you have to make sure you learn it right. There is no talent for wrestling, unlike football and basketball. There's no convenience for wrestling like swimmers, and there's no personalization for wrestling like track runners. It's pure skill and raw hard work. All technique. And God forbid you're over your weight class, because that means hardcore practice while being dehydrated and hungry. I know I'm typing very unprofessionally, but that's because I literally just left practice. Practice makes you feel like you're five hours in hell, literally.

But to be fair, wrestling has such a great community. Everyone knows each other because they have to see you again, so everyone is so friendly. Everyone knows the struggle, but wrestling, although being an individual sport, is a respectful sport that shapes your character and helps you with your mental toughness. Being a wrestler gives you the advantage of knowing you're the toughest person in the room, lol. Wrestling is no joke, man, and I wish I would've known. I love the sport as much as I hate it. Matches can end in a second even though you train for hours. It is fun, especially when you win. Once the technique starts kicking in and you go through the growing... more

3 Swimming Swimming is an individual or team sport and activity. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

You don't "play" swimming. That's that. If you think your sport is hard, try doing it while holding your breath. You need to have incredibly honed skills just to make sure you don't get disqualified and extreme endurance to even finish the race. On top of that, you're racing others who want to beat you just as badly as you want to beat them.

You must be exceedingly mentally tough. At the end of the day, even though you hate it, you don't know what you would do without it.

Swimming is a sport that takes a lot of skill. You can never quit! The countless hours we put into this sport are unrealistic. To swim, you have to have an unbelievable amount of endurance, skill, strength, and mental toughness.

It's not only a race against your competitors. It's a race against the clock, and the clock never makes a mistake.

4 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control.

Gymnastics is the hardest sport known. This requires more strength than a football player, more endurance than a track person, and more skill and balance than dance. This sport is all three: cardio, strength, and endurance in one.

5 Diving

It's hard on the body. It's harder on the mind.

6 Track

My kids are both excellent pole vaulters. My daughter is a multi-season state champ in high school and is a heavily recruited high school senior. My son is a D1 sophomore vaulter. Pole vault is the hardest event in track to excel at, and frankly, you will find that pole vaulters typically excel at all sports.

My daughter did XC one year for conditioning for her pole vault and earned a varsity letter as a freshman as the #5 runner (she is a sprinter for the pole vault). She didn't love the distance, so she picked up volleyball and after one season on JV in the best program in the state, she was a varsity starter. My son excels at any sport he tries, from mountain biking to snowboarding and everything in between.

7 Water Polo

Playing at a high level of water polo is definitely one of the most physically demanding sports possible. It's swimming while you're getting beaten up and trying to do a million different things at the same time. Go watch a college water polo game and you'll see for yourself.

Definitely the dirtiest sport due to refs not being able to see underwater.

Throw the best wrestler or quarterback you know into 8 feet of water and tell them to tread water without using their hands for 45 minutes. Then tell them to do that while passing and catching a ball with one hand while someone else is doing their level best to drown them in the process.

8 Hockey

Ice on blades, fighting, big sticks... It's a man's sport.

9 Soccer Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players each. It is played with a spherical ball. The objective is to score the ball in the other teams goal.

In soccer, you are trying to beat out every other player in that position for your spot. If you lose, you're JV, and nobody wants that. Many kids are specialists in a position, so they can't play well anywhere else.

In soccer, your mind always has to be aware and prepared. The ball can go anywhere, so you have to stay on your toes.

10 Football American football is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end.

Aside from the skill, mental preparation, and physical contact, football requires loads of work to prepare you for the game.

It's a lot harder than a lot of people think. It takes a lot of time, preparation, and it takes everything you have to play.

The Contenders
11 Biathlon
12 Lacrosse Lacrosse is a contact team sport played between two teams using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick.

Running, conditioning, skill work, nonstop, and then practice starts.

13 Crew

While other sports may be grueling or require hard labor for short periods of time, there is no break in crew. If you're tired, you keep going until the race is over, anytime between 7 minutes to 15 minutes.

You might think before a soccer game or running a 5k "oh, this is going to suck," but you don't wish for death or are scared to death brought to the verge of crying on an erg.

The only reason it's not rated as high is because it isn't as well-known as other sports. It's one of the most endurance-based sports in existence, with necessary good technique, power, and flexibility.

14 Basketball Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high mounted to a backboard at each end.

Conditioning is the equivalent of cutting off both of your feet and walking through the Sahara Desert.

If you have no physical stamina, no leg and arm strength, and nevertheless no skills to actually dribble and run at the same time, then sorry mate, this isn't your sport.

Sweat! Sweat! And sweat some more!

15 Volleyball Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.

Volleyball is not the hardest sport, but it is harder than lacrosse and football. This sport involves a lot of running and jumping constantly. The sport is also physically hard because of the speed the ball goes at all times.

You have to be quick, decisive, and able to keep going at your full strength while predicting the other team. One mistake can cost a lot. The whole team has to work together as one, or there is no chance to win.

Volleyball, like most sports, isn't a competition to see who is better, but rather, who makes fewer mistakes. Stack that on with throwing your entire body on a hardwood basketball court at least 20 times a set, and the chance of a 6'4 manchild with the swing of a bear hitting a ball directly towards you, and you've got yourself one of the fastest and toughest sports.

16 Rugby

Rugby is just football for men.

Rugby, when you can't tell if it's your blood or someone else's... Toughest sport ever.

17 Skiing Skiing can be a means of transport, a recreational activity or a competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow.
18 Golf Golf is a club and ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes from a range of 80 to 600 yards on a course in as few strokes as possible.

Why do people say golf is easy? No one has even played the game. I bet none of the haters can hit a ball.

19 Tennis Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent or between two teams of two players each.

Tennis is often seen as a joke sport, but it's far from it. Tennis matches can last for hours with only short breaks in between each game, and it's only you out there. While it might not be as physically demanding as some other sports, it is definitely necessary to have stamina and be able to play for a few hours alone.

As well as physical, there is the whole mental game. If you doubt yourself for even a moment, you might as well give up the game then. It is so difficult to keep your confidence up if you have had a few errors. Some of the best players are the most technically sound, but those that can get into your head are even more dangerous.

And finally, the most difficult part in my opinion (maybe the mental is more important, but I'm not sure) is the technicality of it. If you've never played tennis or had real coaching from someone who really understands tennis, then you have no idea the amount of thought and care that goes into each swing. A single change in a swing could affect the spin on the ball, the speed, the angle, the height, and the direction. It's absolutely insane. And even more challenging is deciding where to hit the ball. Often people wonder why some people don't just hit the ball where the opponent isn't standing. It's very, very difficult to take a ball that was hit with even a small amount of speed and spin, and then change the direction. It's possible and maybe even easy for the pros who know exactly how much spin they can put on a shot, but otherwise, it's extremely hard in my opinion. Other than gymnastics, which is all technical, it is the hardest sport technically. But overall, I believe it has to be the hardest.

Side note: Another thing is that tennis is probably the simplest game. You just have to hit one more shot back than the opponent. But it is still the hardest sport.

20 Softball

Softball is a team sport, kind of like baseball, but the pitching is much different and much harder to learn. The ball is also bigger. The fields are normally smaller but are also larger sometimes.

21 Rowing
22 Baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each who take turns batting and fielding.
23 Cheerleading Cheerleading is a sport and performance activity that combines elements of dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics. Originating in the United States, it has evolved significantly over the years, moving beyond the traditional role of leading cheers for sports teams to become a highly competitive activity in... read more

Yeah, cheerleading is all core, shoulders, and legs - the hardest things to control for a lot of people.

Football players catch a two-pound ball. Cheerleaders catch a 100-pound girl. You do the math.

24 KickBall
25 Cricket Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard-long pitch with a wicket, a set of three wooden stumps sited at each end.
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