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QotD: Hard Positions

Question: If you had to name the hardest position to play in sports, what would you say it is?

My Answer: I think the people moving the brooms on a curling team have it pretty rough! Okay, I was joking. I've played several sports, and the toughest sport is golf, by far, but that's not a "position" sport. So I'm going to go with "pitcher." Hitters are incredible, the strike zone is constantly shrinking, and the bats are being corked (sorry, Sammy). Being a pitcher is nearly as close to being a participant in an individual sport as you can find in team sports.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

9 Responses to "QotD: Hard Positions"

  1. I'd have to say Goalie on a Soccer team. The nets are so large and the games are so low scoring that one little mistake might not just yield the game winning goal, it could yield the only goal.

    I know there are usually only a few goal scoring opportunities in each game, but staying mentally sharp is just another part of the challenge.

  2. QotD

    Question: If you had to name the hardest position to play in sports, what would you say it is?

    Goalie on playoff Hockey. Defenses get tighter, goal scoring becomes less but no ...

  3. I disagree.

    Baseball players are generally regarded as either "pitchers" or "position players", and I think its wrong to refer to pitching as a position in the comparative way that you do. Pitching and htting are functions, not positions. There is very little "position" to be played by pitcher, other than getting into proper backup position on a few certain fielding plays. Beyond the single ability to consistently throw strikes, athletic skill and talent on the field is not a requirement (but a nice bonus if its there, should it come into play). Shortstop is generally regarded as the most difficult position to play well, as it requires considerable athletic skill and talent, and a more complex mental participation in the game. Correct positioning, planned reaction, communication with other players, and adjustments to each of these things with plays in development are being recalibrated with every pitch and every play.

    The strike zone has not been shrinking, in fact the creeping lateral expansion of the strike zone over the past decade or so (witness the well known "Glavine/Maddux outside strike") is largely behind the current efforts to enforce a newly interpreted and consistently enforced zone. The wide zone has favored pitchers.

    The use of corked bats has always been an occasional anomaly. More significant is the now widespread use of steroids and other chemical enhancers to build strength and power to unnatural levels, and this has had a very significant impact on the game itself. This has of course favored batters.

    Pitchers as "participants in an individual sport" is also not a fair argument. The "game within the game" that goes on in every at bat -- the physical and mental dynamic of the batter/pitcher confrontation -- is equally an "individual" contest for the batter, and for each batter in the lineup.

    I think that "hitting" in baseball is the most complex and difficult athletic challenge to succeed at consistently, across all sports.

  4. I'm going to go with Eric in that being a goalie is the toughest position in sports. If you've ever seen the World Cup or any professional soccer game, you know the goalie has to be concentrating 100% of the time, even if the ball is nowhere near him/her. It's easy to get distracted.

    Second toughest: Hockey goalie. Sure, the net is small, but so is the puck trying to get in at speeds over 100mph.

  5. I don't know about that golf statement.

    Golf does take a tremendous amount of skill and concentration, but so does gymnastics. On top of that, gymnastics also takes tremendous amounts of strength and endurance. If you break your concentration in golf, you don't get the ball in the hole. If you break your concentration in gymnastics, you break your neck.

  6. I think the other word for pitcher is "target" personally.

    I'm a canuck though, so I'm going to have go to with hockey goalie, as previously mentioned.

  7. Hockey goalie. Lacrosse goalie. The latter is incredibly difficult. Big net. Few pads. 100 MPH (plus) shots. Strange rubberish ball. Weird bounces off turf. Tough indeed.

  8. Golf is to the hardest sport at this time. mentally and physically. you have to have a completely consistant swing if you play well. You have to keep the focus and hit a nonmoving taeget starting out with no rythm in the swing. Bseball players wiggle the bat before the pitch so they can get the rythm of the swing. so don't say nothin if you havn't tried it.

  9. Lacrosse goalie defenantly. The shots hurt like no other, and you have to learn to deal with it. the time you have to react is very little and if you screw up it is hard to deal with the team later. on top ofthat there is the fact that if you run out of the crease everyone, I MEAN EVERYONE, wants to hit you as hard as they can to get the ball and score. Im suprised i havent broken a bone yet, but my leg still hurts from three weeks ago.


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