Readers reply: which sport gives you the best all-round skill set?

Which sport gives you the best all-round skill set/fitness regime? James Bunwell, Droitwich Spa

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No sport demands as much endurance and athleticism as Ultimate Frisbee. Richard Wallace

I want to give my vote to modern pentathlon. It requires good all-around fitness in the legs and the arms because of the swimming and running. And it requires great skill and accuracy in the pistol shooting. It is also the sport that tests most for emotional intelligence, in that you have to convince a horse not to throw you into a fence after a 20-minute “getting to know you session”. Gregory Butler, 加拿大

Snooker! Top-class snooker requires not only strategic intelligence (and control), but also the ability to adopt an almost yoga-like meditative state of pure concentration, a very high level of hand-eye coordination and posture control necessitating a degree of general physical fitness. Tom McMaster, Ayamonte, 西班牙

Gymnastics must be in with a shout: strength, speed, agility, coordination, technical skills and explosive power are all right up there. I think the only question is stamina, so rugby (league, obviously) would be high on the list; decathlon, 也. littlepump

Cycling is good and accessible, but for a full-body workout I’d say rowing. Sculling, rather than sweep, if you want to work both sides equally. Develops the back, core, legs, arms and balance, 也. AramintaFlapdoodle

Cricket. It has the world’s best all-rounders. ThereisnoOwl

It would have to be darts. Balancing a pint in one hand, cigarette in the other, not to mention the requisite aim, accuracy and precision to hit 180. Takes nerves of steel. Waterdam

Surfing. Being in nature, water fitness, agility, balance, microsecond decision-making, spatial awareness, stamina, flexibility, strength, fairly low risk of injury, patience, social rules (unless taking on big-wave surfing, which is almost an expert subgenre), excitement, serotonin boost, adrenaline boost, camaraderie. 和, 当然, on an existential level, you are riding natural energy waves that arise through natural action and fade into nothing once you have ridden them, without harming or displacing anything. wisedum

Rugby. Athletic fitness aside, you learn teamwork, sportsmanship and respect: you treat players and supporters of other teams as friends – at least, that has been my experience at rugby sevens competitions around the world. Naturally, there are exceptions, but not many, and I don’t apologise for being an idealist. clogexpat

If you are looking for something a little less strenuous, try archery. It’s good for upper-body muscle strength and improves posture and breathing. It’s also good fun and gets you out in the summer. There is an indoor winter season, so it keeps you going all-year round. Ages range from nine to 90 and you don’t have to be in competition to enjoy it. Many who feel too old for other sports can take up archery just to maintain fitness and enjoy themselves. FirbobLondon

I seem to be on an island with this one, but definitely squash. The higher the level, 更好, as watching the ball go by does one little good. As an avid cyclist, doing 30-40km excursions regularly, I appreciate the benefits derived, but in no way does that prepare one for the likes of a tough squash match, or even tennis or running. And it’s not at all elitist; there are accessible courts everywhere. Love the game, best shape ever. 44N79W

I played roller derby for a number of years and think that was excellent for developing strength, agility, balance, coordination. 和, as you are playing offence and defence concurrently, it is an excellent mental challenge. 加, you are part of a team, so have to work together. It is a bit of a niche sport, but I can highly recommend trying it out. SassySparkles

I’d suggest some form of martial art such as judo, taekwondo or aikido. dfic1999

Rowing: provides opportunities for the development of speed, strength, balance, agility; it’s a good cardio workout; and you have to be good in the water. Good for social skills, cooperation and teamwork – and you get to do it sitting down. QuakerBetty

Rock climbing works every part of the body, takes you into nature and requires enormous self-control. It does everything. Sithrak

I heard about a study done years ago and I believe it was Aussie rules football that came out on top. Anaerobic and aerobic fitness, strength, stamina, coordination, communication, 等等. They are brilliant athletes. crosby99

Swimming is the top sports in terms of health, fitness, wellbeing. The best strokes are the front and back crawl. Swimming is therapeutic and provides excellent benefits for all ages. If you’re into more tough stuff, try other strokes. Finian2U

Swimming is for life. Take up water polo and triathlons if you want more action and excitement when you are younger, but maintain your health and fitness for life with swimming in a pool or outdoors when you are older. responsiblefuftysix

Cross-country skiing is all at once: cardio, strength, flexibility and balance. No impact, you only need snow. Swimming is second, all the above and no impact on the skeleton. LakeMacdonald

I’d suggest sport climbing. Once you move past the strength, balance and flexibility required, you also need logic/puzzle-solving to work out how best to “read” the wall, ie some holds only give you grip if your body is positioned in a certain way. 加, all the walls I’ve been to have a great atmosphere, with people working together to solve harder climbs. Hofmax

Gardening – and you get to eat the fruits of your efforts. Geodiversity

Trampolining: you get out of breath and develop muscle strength, endurance and joint flexibility; it’s a soft landing surface, so less severe on joints. The only missing factor is skill in control of an external object. I suggest badminton/tennis while on a trampoline! nevill63

Ice hockey: power, strength, speed, hand-eye coordination. 加, everything happens 50% faster on ice (assuming you know how to skate), so the need for quickness and sharp reflexes is higher than in other sports. Quaternion

I suspect professional boxers are the fittest and most skilful athletes that there are. IanRod65

Great question and one that I, a PE teacher, often think about. Almost every sport helps develop skills for performance and depends heavily on at least one skill set or fitness type. My opinion is that the sheer number of variables, the angle of degrees of action around you, and the fact that there are so many open situations that you have to prepare for and try to do your best in means that team invasion games probably create the best kind of all-round athletes. happytobealive

Mountain unicycling combined with archery. It is a thing. arthurducksworthy

Caber tossing: requires strength, hand-eye coordination, speed, rhythm, determination and patience. Markymarkmark

There’s an interesting/unexpected quote by Jeff Spencer, a former Olympic cyclist involved in training motocross riders: “Motocross by far requires the highest level of combined fitness of any sport on the face of the Earth, bar none. I’ve spent five Tours de France with Lance Armstrong, and Lance is no slouch. But Lance’s overall fitness doesn’t even compare to the overall fitness of a motocross racer.” pentimenti

Wrestling: learning how to fight with skill and not emotion is the basis for adult life in a world of conflict. It prepares you to be level-headed with violence and cool in conflict. These life skills are invaluable. As there is no striking, it’s not a brain-injury sport, nor one that can leave you with life-changing injuries, like gymnastics. onticmendacium

There was a TV programme in the 70s where different sports people competed against each other. Seem to remember pole vaulters did well all round. Also remember cricketers were fairly useless. OldGreyWolf

You’re presumably thinking of Superstars. Golfers were really bad. I don’t recall any particular skill or physicality patterns emerging. Rather, the ones who did best were characterised most of all by their competitiveness. WheneverIFeelBlue62

Boxing: fitness, balance, speed, skills and physical courage/confidence. Table tennis: renowned as a rehab tool for brain injuries/diseases – there must be something to it. karlrgibson

No one seems to have suggested biathlon: cross-country skiing combined with target shooting. Top-level cross-country skiers are renown as having the highest aerobic capacities of any athlete, plus as an exercise it provides all-round body conditioning. It’s also a technical sport in that it requires balance, coordination and body awareness to develop an efficient technique. Combine that with the ability to take breaks in the strenuous endurance course to stand still and shoot accurately, which requires strength and control, and you have a sport that requires a host of different skills and types of fitness. Drspeedy

There was some research done a while ago that said mountain biking was the most effective cross-training activity. Rugby league – toughest sport in terms of running fitness and repetitive strength, outright strength, stamina, power and aerobic fitness – must be up there. Throw in spatial awareness and proprioception, 也. rhinodan

I’d say capoeira. Cardio, agility, flexibility, acrobatics, plus you have to be able to play it in a clever manner to anticipate your opponent’s response. Add the cultural, sociable and musical side and you have it all. You also tend to pick up Portuguese as a byproduct. ClodLo

Motor racing. All the athletic stuff, plus pain management, fundraising, engineering, problem-solving, sponsorship management, team management, camping and tea-drinking under less than perfect conditions. Cheesyrider