Whether it be a goal keeper making a save or a fielder taking a close range catch or a sprinter off the block, reaction time is very essential in sports.

With regard to this, I assumed the fastest games on the planet would be badminton, tennis or table tennis. But tennis players stand at a distance from each other, badminton cock has wind resistance and table tennis balls are slowest of the three.

So which is the worlds fastest game based on reaction time?

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    I would guess that motorsports rely heavily on the drivers reaction time, so I would say that an F1 or NASCAR driver would be a safe bet, but it's hard to answer this question reliably since I know of no scientific study that has focused on reaction times of individuals from different sports. – posdef Aug 25 '12 at 7:43
  • A batter hitting a 90mph fastball from 60 feet, 6 inches away in baseball has to be up there. – Jacob G Aug 25 '12 at 14:20
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    I guess in order to answer the question with any rigor one would have to try and define what counts as reaction, since the reaction to sudden stimuli could be very different from sport to sport. All in all, I don't think this question will get a factual answer any time soon :) – posdef Aug 25 '12 at 17:36
  • 100m is the first thing I can think about, Reaction time at the start can be the difference between winning and losing. – Dor Cohen Aug 26 '12 at 6:24
  • I'm pretty well convinced by this comment stream that this question is not constructive. – wax eagle Aug 27 '12 at 21:58

It's very hard to compare sports in this regards. If we define the reaction time as the time between signal and action, I would say sprinters and swimmers do the purest form of reaction time. It goes straight from audio signal to leg and body muscles. A racket player or bat hitter on the other hand has to process the visual signal to assess ball trajectory, shot selection, then activate muscles.

It doesn't necessarily mean a sprinter has a better reaction time, but that we can get more quantifiable results. Slower reaction times in other sports can be more impressive because of all this extra processing that has to be done.

In track and field sprint start, we basically first defined what is physically possible, and if you do better than that it's considered a false start. One false start and you're out, but the best can still get close to the limit, so when we consider the reaction times of the best sprinters I think we get quite close to what is achievable.

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