When a henchman was chasing down Ace Ventura in the cinematic masterpiece Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Ace proclaimed—and successfully demonstrated—his “quick decision” by backdropping him. He eventually saved Dan Marino from the evil Ray Finkle. There are no kickers with an axe to grind in these five sports that require a quick reaction time, but several quick decisions are on the docket.
Keep Your Motor Running
While in other sports, a split-second decision could be the difference between winning and losing, it could be a matter of life or death in motorsports. Drivers can reach upward of 200 mph on straightaways as they ride the car’s bumper in front of them. One false move or miscalculation could lead to a massive pileup and life-threatening ramifications for you and everyone involved.
What’s With All This Racket?
If anyone has enjoyed watching Olympic table tennis, you will never forget the ferocity between the competitors. At the very least, if you saw Forrest Gump, his ping-pong skills accurately depict how a typical match between elite players goes.
Table tennis isn’t the only racquet sport that needs you to have a quick trigger. Other court games like badminton and racquetball have a confined playing surface that leaves little room for error. Another court game that continues to grow at a rapid pace is pickleball. After playing this increasingly popular game and engaging in a volley battle near the net, you will realize the need for quick reactions.
No Softball Questions Here
Many proclaim that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a baseball, but no one mentions how hitting a softball is much more challenging. A softball mound is 17 feet closer than in baseball, leading to softball players swinging more swiftly. Hitting in both sports is extremely challenging, so it’s not as if baseball is a piece of cake, but softball is objectively trickier.
Wednesday Addams proved how speedy a world-class fencer could be, even if she fell to the menacing Bianca at Nevermore Academy. Fencers aren’t wielding massive swords as medieval warriors do in the movies. Their sabers have a maximum weight of 500 grams, translating to a little over a pound. With a lightweight blade, the strikes happen in a flash, making a defensive fencer that blocks all their opponent’s attacks almost seem superhuman.
We began this list with a sport that could have grave consequences if you’re a fraction of a second slow, so it makes sense that we end with one. Every combat sport on the planet demands instant reactions to protect yourself from a knee-buckling blow or a crippling submission. You could have all the strength in the world and bench press a car, but you’d still lose a fight to someone with fists of fury.
The five sports requiring quick reaction time have many differences, although their one commonality is why it takes a special talent to master the craft.
Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.