I’M going to be a bit biased here because I follow American football, soccer or football, and basketball, but I think just being a professional athlete presents a lot of challenges.
I came across an article written by Zion Olojede, Kameron Hay, and West Wilson entitled “The Hardest Positions to play in sports, Ranked.”
Basketball’s two toughest positions are the center and point guard positions.
According to complex.com, “Often the smallest player on the court in a game dominated by giants, the point guard usually bears the most responsibility on the team as far as making sure everybody is on the same page and that the offense runs smoothly. And due to the lack of size that a small forward or a big man has, the point guard more times than not has to be the smartest and most skilled player on the floor to make up for their physical limitations.
“Now, there are exceptions to the rule such as Russell Westbrook or prime Derrick Rose, who boasted elite physical traits and athleticism, but for guys such as Trae Young, Chris Paul, and Jalen Brunson it’s the IQ and skill set that allows them to be elite NBA players while often being the smallest player on the floor.”
As for the center position, “Some people believe that basketball isn’t a physical game, but anyone who’s ever played the center position will say otherwise. Also known as the five, centers require height, weight, and strength in order to be successful.
“They’re responsible for posting up down-low under the basket, and they take a lot of physical contact from defenders. They also need to be able to defend the rim on the defensive end while having the stamina to run up and down the court with the smaller, quicker players. In short, it’s tough for a team to succeed without a talented big man.”
The point guard is the “second coach” on the floor and like the quarterback, the point guard has to have a good knowledge and understanding of all both offensive and defensive schemes and sets and the point is tasked to create off the dribble and make something happen.
The center is usually the tallest and strongest on the team. The “5” patrols the paint, sets picks for the shooters, and alters or changes shots. The center position has evolved through the years. Currently, big men can now shoot from outside, slash to the basket and handle the ball.
In American football, similar to pitching, “throwing a football puts a tremendous amount of stress on the arm. Quarterbacks have to deal with a lot more than that, however. First, they need to be able to memorize the entire playbook and know the responsibilities of each player on the offense.
“They must also accurately read defenses and break down holes in coverage. Then, they have to deliver accurate passes that put their receivers in position to make plays after the catch. To top it off, they have to do all of this while several defenders are coming for them at full-speed.”
Soccer and ice hockey goalies have the unenviable task of stopping shots, “Hockey goalies are known for being, well, a little quirky, to put it nicely. But, can you blame them? They have to put their bodies in front of 100 mph slapshots, and only in the last few decades have they started wearing masks! Of course, they also have to be able to skate and have the durability to stop 30+ shots a game. On top of that, they are typically the target of opposing teams’ fans, and if they let in a weak goal, they will immediately hear about it.”
As for soccer, “Sure, soccer goalkeepers only face a handful of shots each game. They are responsible for defending an 8×24-foot net, however, which would be hard to defend for someone like Shaq let alone a regular sized human. You won’t see them wearing any protective gear despite the fact that players can kick the ball as fast as 70 mph. Plus, they’re also responsible for organizing their team’s defense due to the fact that they can see the entire field, and if they let in a bad goal, you can almost guarantee they will spend years on the blooper reel.”