What is the Best Contact Sport for You?

What is the Best Contact Sport for You

Contact sports are a group of sports that involve physical contact to some degree in their training and competition. Not everyone that takes up a sport is interested in a physical conflict, so it’s a special group of athletes that make up this sector.

Contact sports refer to a wide range of ball-sports, such as Football, ice-hockey, rugby and lacrosse. It also includes all forms of martial arts, including mixed martial arts (MMA). Let’s look at some fundamentals of each sport to see what suits you.

Ball sports

If playing on a team is important to you, then consider contact ball-sports. Football is the king of the castle in this realm of mainstream contact sports. Most children, that are brought up in the American schooling system, will experience the opportunity to join their junior high school team as the majority of high schools and colleges offer football programs.

However, not every youth is made or cut out for football. While it is all fun and games in the beginning years, the sport takes on a very competitive persona in the late high school and college years. This means that the level of intensity increases, as does the level of risk. Competitive schools have fantastic training programs and being part of a winning football team is a special experience for any player.

To be successful in football, you need to have the right balance of size, strength and speed to excel in the sport. The most successful athletes in the sport spend thousands of hours in training, taking hits, giving them out and generally being man-handled throughout their entire careers from junior high, right through to the professional leagues, if they manage to get there.

If football doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then consider other options such as Lacrosse. Lacrosse players are also competitive and it is a rough game, but it lacks the same national awareness at the professional level. This means that while it is still an incredibly competitive sport, it is nothing like footballers chasing multi-million-dollar draft positions.

Rugby is another contact ball-sport that requires a strong frame and athleticism. Rugby has been known to be gruelling due to the fact that it is played in two forty-minute halves, with the only break coming in-between the halves, keeping the players running for the entire game.

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If ball sports sound like they might be what you are looking for, then run through this check list, to make sure;

  • Is your hand-eye co-ordination good? This will make a huge difference in your athletic ability on the field. If you have poor co-ordination, you most likely will not make a great player.
  • What is your body type? Are you tall, short, heavy-set or lean? This will determine your playing position in the team. Defensive players in football and rugby are usually heavy-set players that are able to throw their weight around, while the leaner, more agile players make up the offense.
  • Can you take a hit? In football and rugby particularly, you will end up being tackled, or tackling someone. Do you have the physical strength and conditioning to take a hit? Or is your frame smaller and lighter?


This ‘sport of the gods’ as it is known by those that compete in it, is somewhere in-between contact sports and combat sports. This age-old sport has been around since Sumerian times. Nowadays it has evolved into an Olympic sport and is practiced by millions of athletes around the world, at all age-groups.

Wrestling is a sport that is also offered by most school systems at the high school and collegiate level. While it may be competitive, It lacks the big-money endorsements and sponsorships that other, more popular contact sports, such as football. This means that the competition is fierce but is also not being chased by athletes looking for million-dollar signing bonuses.

With wrestling, the goal is to pin your opponent, this results in the contact portion of the sport, to avoid being injured, it’s important to train and compete on the best sports mats in the industry. Wrestling is a team sport that comes down to the individual wrestler, so if you are more inclined to a solo-sport, then wrestling could be a great choice for you. 

Martial arts

Martial arts are another huge genre of contact sports. The oldest known martial art is Karate. This art was developed by the Japanese empire, thousands of years ago. It has since caught on through Asia and eventually to the western world. Along its journey from its esoteric roots, its practitioners developed other styles of martial arts, such as Thai Boxing, Tae Kwon Do from Korea and Chinese kung-fu.

Funny Bruce Lee Quotes

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These are all traditional forms of martial arts that have their own competitive leagues. Each style has its own unique elements, for instance, Tae Kwon Do focuses on kicking, while Thai boxing focuses on not only kicking but use of the elbows, knees and fists as well.

In the early nineties the Gracie family, founders of the martial art jiu-jitsu, decided to host a global competition to decide on which martial art was the king of the combat fighting sports. They got together a field of competitors from all different styles of martial arts including, kick-boxing, karate, Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai.

The athletes then faced off with one another in a round-robin tournament to decide the champion. It was the Gracie style that won the tournament and in dramatic fashion, as the Gracie family champion, Royce Gracie, went on to choke out the competition one-by-one, sometimes facing fighters up to almost double his body-weight.

This was the start of the MMA revolution that has since swept the sporting world by storm. Today, MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and a MMA gym can be found in most cities and towns all across the world. The formation of the UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championship, has captured the hearts and minds of combat sports athletes all over the world and continues to grow every day.

MMA is an individual sport, practised with a team. If you are more of an individual athlete, then MMA or martial arts may be the sport for you. Martial arts also come with a side-benefit, they teach self-discipline and self-control while making you a stronger, fitter athlete at the same time.

To find out if you are suited for martial arts, ask yourself the following;

  • Am I a team-player, or more focused on what I can achieve individually?
  • Do I have an interest in self-defence?
  • Am I comfortable with being kicked and punched?

If your answers were yes, then you most likely will do well in a martial art of some sort.


Combat and contact sports are not for everyone. If you are serious about taking-up any of the sports mentioned, before you jump right in the deep end, go and watch a practice session first and met with the team coach, or the dojos head instructor to find out if your prospective contact sport is right for you, then make an informed decision and get started!

Editorial Team
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