What is Stacking in Pickleball?

One of the most widely used tactics in the game of pickleball is Stacking. It has been observed that most professional double teams utilize this strategy in order to improve the chances of forehand and backhand. In simpler terms, this technique is typically used to gain an upper hand over the opposing team. So without any further ado, allow us to debunk the mystery of what is stacking in pickleball and explore all the essentials of this technique.

Usually, teams go for stacking when there is a left-handed as well as a right-handed person playing for the same team. By stacking, you and your teammate can get plenty of benefits and literally change the dynamics of the match. Although the stacking play can get a little bit confusing, don’t worry. Because in this article, we will be explaining all about why you should go with stacking in your next pickleball game.

What is Stacking in Pickleball?

Stacking is a tactical formation in which both players of a double team are not stationed in the standard position. Instead, the players switch on the side of the court which they prefer in order to cover the empty middle space.

The entire purpose of stacking during a pickleball match is to get the players into their dominant positions. So that they can put their all into the game, by rearranging the players into their ideal positioning. The chances of winning the game can also be enhanced up to a great extent.

Pickleball Stacking Rules – Legality:

Basically, there are no hard and fast rules for stacking in pickleball. “But how is it legal then?” you might be wondering. Well, there are some things one must keep in mind while the players are still in their traditional positions. For instance, which player is to strike when serving the ball. Which player is to return the ball after serving. Where the ball must be served from. And finally, where to serve the ball on the court.

Stacking Rules

These are the rules that must be complied with first and foremost. The rulings are only valid until the ball is served and returned. After that, all hell breaks loose. Now you can position yourself anywhere on the court. As there are no rules that illustrate where a player should stand and should not.

One thing to be aware of is the position of your teammate while using this strategy. Stacking is legal as long as he or she is standing before the net and does not cross the boundary. Violation of this rule will result in the deduction of points.

How to Stack in Pickleball to Its Full Potential?

When choosing to go for stacking plays, there is a huge chance for miscommunication among the team members regarding how to stack. There are two situations in which stacking can help to avoid any trouble.

When the Stacking Team is Serving:

In order to exploit this technique to its full potential while serving the ball. The serving team can stack in the following way:

  1. We will consider that there are two players stacking, one of them is right-handed while the other is left-handed. Both of these players will take a position in such a way that the lefty will station themselves on the right side of the court, while the righty will play on the left side of the court.

In this way, both of these players are able to play with their dominant forehand in the middle without leaving much gap in the center of the court. Hence increasing the opportunity to get a triumphant victory.

  1. When the serving team is stacking, both the players of that team begin the game by standing on the same side of the court. Once a player has served the ball, their teammate will come in and scoot over to the other side of the court in order to return the shot.
  2. In case of the right-handed player kick off the game from the right side, they’re gonna have to position themselves to the left of the left-handed player. So that both of these players can use their powerful forehands.
  3. In case of the right-handed player starts the game from the left side of the court, then there is no need to stack as the players are already in their preferred positions.
  4. Similarly, if the lefty is starting the game from the right plane of the court, then they have to position themselves to the right side of the right-handed player. In other words, stacking is not necessary.

When the Stacking Team is Receiving:

We have discussed above how to stack when serving the ball. But what about when receiving the ball? Well! The team that is returning the serve can stack in this way:

  1. Let’s consider a team of a lefty and righty, both having strong forehands. Their objective is to cover the central part of the court.
  2. The right-handed player must position themselves on the left side of the court. So that it becomes quite comfortable for them to return the ball with their dominant hand.
  3. The left-handed player needs to remain on the right side of the court as their strong hand is all ready to strike the ball back to the opponents.
  4. Stacking in such a case becomes compulsory only when, either the righty is getting the ball from the right side. Or the lefty is receiving the ball from the left side of the court.
  5. When the returning ball is smacked back into the opponent’s side, the players get back in the positions that they like better.

Advantages of Stacking 101:

There might arise a question “What is the point of using such a confusing strategy?”  We get that comprehending the idea of stacking is a bit challenging. But once it comes into play, there is no better alternate strategy that can overshadow stacking. Every technique has its pros and so is the case with stacking.

  • Stacking can be used to cover most of the pickleball court by placing the players on their favorite side.
  • In the case of a team having both a lefty and a righty, stacking is used to get both the forehand in the center of the court.
  • Stacking can play a critical role in concealing the areas in which a member of a team is lacking.
  • Another benefit of stacking in pickleball is to improve the flexibility and strength of the duo.

When to Use Stacking Strategy?

The main goal behind stacking is to win the match by any means necessary. Normally, teams put stacking to use for different objectives and in different circumstances. We have distinguished several events when it is efficient to stack:

Lefty & Righty On The Same Team:

The tactic of stacking is quite popular among professional 4.5, 5.0, and above pickleball players. The stacking play is quite famous, even at the championship level. Plenty of pickleball doubles choose this approach of stacking in order to maximize their chances of winning the game. Usually, this strategy is helpful when there is a player with a dominant left hand and a player having superiority in the right hand.

Most commonly, the right-handed player starts the game from the left (odd) side. While the lefty commences the game from the right (even) side of the court. The players position themselves in this formation so that they can return the ball with their strong forehands. While simultaneously, barely leaving any gap in the center of the court.

One Player Is Agile Than The Other:

Stacking plays quite a significant role in doubles when there is a team of an extremely athletic individual and an average pickleball player. This unique combination of two different individuals can opt for this strategy in order to improve their gameplay. This can be done in the sense that the less agile player starts the game and remains in their position. While the acrobatic player wanders freely and slides in to fill the gaps on the court.

One Player Has Stronger Forehand:

Until now, we have discussed the importance of stacking in a team having a lefty and a righty. But what if there is a team of like-handed players? Well, such teams can also make use of this strategy too. In the case both players prefer to play with the same dominant hands (either left or right) there might linger a chance that one player is more powerful than the other. As a consequence of that, the player that has a strong forehand can play in the middle while the other member gives additional support.

One Has Better Reach Than The Other.

This tactic is most commonly used in order to hide the weaknesses of one player in the team. It is one of the best ways to put the set of skills out of sight in which a player is insufficient. Players also choose to go with stacking when there is a difference of greater reach between the teammates. The one with the greater reach usually plays at the forefront to answer the returning shots while the one with lesser reach stays behind for assisting the player when needed.

Bottom Line:

Stacking is one of the most phenomenal and simultaneously most confusing strategies to use among many different awesome techniques. To remove all your doubts with regards to stacking, we have come up with this detailed article to make you grasp the concept of this tactic. We at Pickleballobby firmly believe that we have mentioned each and every single thing about what is stacking in pickleball which might come in handy in your next pickleball exhibition.

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