Games/Sports where the better you are the more you play

It seems that in most games/sports, the better you become the less you play. In golf, for example, the better you are the fewer shots you take. In a race, the faster you are the shorter you are out there. In billiards (or 8-ball or 9-ball or straight pool) the better you are the fewer shots you’ll need to take.

I’m wondering what games or sports are out there in which the better you are the longer you play. I thought of pinball, where if you were a pinball wizard you might play forever. It goes both ways in video games. If you are really good at Mario Bros, you might finish the entire thing in a few hours. On the other hand, some games like Tetris you could play until your fingers fall off. Bull riding sort of fits, but in that case I think there is something like an 8 sec max regardless.

Baseball. Softball. Cricket.

Then there are games where the better you are, the longer you can be out there if you want, like wrestling.

If you’re talking individual contests, anything with a last man standing format (at regular intervals, the person currently in last place is eliminated) qualifies. I don’t remember any offhand, but there are a few golf events set up like this. And of course, reality TV hardly has anything else…mumble grumble.

If you’re willing to expand the scope to full tournaments/events, you have more to choose from. Two I can think off offhand are golf, where the participants who don’t make the cut are sent home early, and sumo, where the four junior divisions have only 7 matches per tournament, compared to 15 for the big boys.

Then there’s the 100K run, which probably isn’t what you’re looking for, but I sure as hell think it should count. :slight_smile:

Depending on how strictly you construe the op, any sport with a playoff system would qualify.

Poker, if you allow for an element of luck to factor in with skill.

But as you get faster, you spend less time.

Both running and cycling have 1 hour events where you go as far as you can. Sorta qualifies.

ETA: 12 hour and 24 hour just to name others.


Hockey, I guess. The better players get more ice time, although ice time is probably not directly proportional to skill.


Paintball, or dodgeball. A better player might be able to eliminate opponents more quickly, but in any given match, the player who lasts longest is the best player.

I think in the spirit of the OP, you need to consider what a player who is “infinitely good” at the sport would do. In golf, he’d swing the club 72 times (18x4) and win every tournament. In dodgeball, he’d win in about a minute. In pool, it’d take 2 shots - the break and the final shot.

Racquetball. It takes a lot of playing and practice to play well. You also do better when you get in better condition. You have to build up your legs and stamina. You have to learn the shots and walls.


Only on offense. Defensively, they’d ideally be out there long enough for three pop fly pitches (for the first two, anyway – and whatever the Cricket equivalent may be).

Still, if you double the time you spend on offense and halve the time you spend on defense, you’re still increasing the total play time. There’s a limit how short your defensive half-inning can get, but there’s no limit to how long your offensive half-inning can get.

Awww, Duuuude! Don’t go Harshing My Mellow with labels like “better” and stuff. Its not a competition, Bro! Its just about doing, not being. Chill.

This is really what I meant. Given this, I can see Cricket as one sport in which this can happen as a perfect batsman would never get out. In baseball, a perfect batsman would hit a homerun every at-bat but on a bad team would still only get 3 or 4 at-bats a game.

In racquetball, the better you are the less you play. One shot and the ball is rolling back to your opponent. Bad players are chasing the ball all over the court. I’ve certainly been there.

In hockey, a perfect player would get more ice-time, but they could still max out at only 60 minutes/game. Being better doesn’t extend the game.

Paintball and dodgeball are mixed. An ideal player shortens the game to a few minutes. A good player, as Chronos points out, is out there longer.

In a technical sense, pole-vaulters and long jumpers would get to “play” longer. Both by the fact that they’d not be eliminated but also by the fact that they’d spend more time in the air. That really wasn’t the type of thing I was after, though.

Poker might count. The better you are the longer you’ll be at the table.

Poker: well, if you are playing in a tournament, better players eliminate other people faster and win the tournament in less time.

In my experience:

The original Super Mario Brothers was infinite using the 6-2 turtle trick. After you got to 99 lives, it would go to hexadecimal.
Mat Mania was also infinite. We would play in shifts to eat or use the bathroom. Sometimes, we would go home, come back, and take another shift.
In theory, baseball is infinite. If the defense never makes an out, theoretically, the inning will never, ever end. Even the mercy rule doesn’t take effect until the end of the inning.
All gambling games (although luck is a factor.) If you are infinitely skilled, you can just roll your winnings back in and keep playing. I once turned $2 into over $100 over 18 hours at blackjack, and earned something like 30k player points on one $100 buy-in on nickle slots.
Tournament Cyberball has a cool feature in Gamebreakers mode. If you can stay on the field, the clock keeps running. My friends and I have gotten the game clock up to 12 quarters (6 is the in-game maximum) by avoiding linemen for hours.

Kickers in football. It’s a very slight effect, but the better they kick, the more kickoffs they get to kick due to hitting more successful field goals. Missing a field goal means missing an opportunity to kick off. Also, coaches tend to go for it or punt at the edge of your range if they don’t have confidence in you.

An infinitely good kicker would hit every FG from 55 yards and in, so whenever the offense got a fourth down inside the 40 you get two guaranteed kicks. A very good kicker would probably get around 85% of those, and the average kicker probably gets around 80% of them.