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We get a lot of questions from our subscribers about stacking. What is it, and why would you want to do it? We created a video with the help of two great pickleball players and former doubles partners, Dave Weinbach and Justin Rodgers. In this article, we’re going to give you a basic overview of stacking as well as three common reasons why teams might want to do it. After reading the article, be sure to watch the video so you can get examples of stacking in action. And remember, we post new videos on Pickleball Channel every week. Take advantage of pickleball at your fingertips by subscribing for free to Pickleball Channel today!
WHAT IS STACKING
In normal play, we usually have a player on the right side of the court and a player on the left side of the court, but sometimes we utilize a strategy called stacking. Stacking is when one player moves, so that both are on the same side of the court on both returns and serves. Then, when the play begins, that player switches to the other side. This could be done for a variety of strategic reasons.
REASON #1 – KEEP BOTH FOREHANDS IN THE MIDDLE
In our case, we will stack so that Justin is on the right side of the court and Dave is on the left side of the court. Dave is right-handed, and Justin is left-handed. Therefore, by stacking, we put our forehands in the middle, which gives us a lot of strength.
REASON #2 – HIDE A WEAK BACKHAND
Another reason you often see stacking is to compensate for a weakness such as a player’s backhand. In this situation, you have the person with the strong forehand on the left side of the court and the person with the weak backhand on the right side of the court. In this scenario, the person with the strong forehand can take more shots, and the person with the back- hand doesn’t have to cover the middle as much.
REASON #3 – LEVERAGING PLAYER MOBILITY Another scenario where you’ll see players use stack- ing is to take advantage of a certain player’s mobility or lack of mobility. An example would be if you have two right-handed players, you would stack the quicker person on the left. That way he or she can move to the back of the court faster, allowing the person who’s not as mobile to stay near the line.
HOW TO STACK
Stacking can be tricky in terms of your positions on the court. If you start in the wrong position in either the serve or the return, you will lose the point. When you’re serving on the right side of the court and want to be on the left, have your partner stand to the right of you. Once you’ve completed your serve, step to the left side of the court and your partner will step into the right side. The same thing applies to the left side of the court. Your partner is to your left. You make the serve, step to the right, and your partner stays on the left side of the court.
So similarly, if you are returning on the left side of the court and you want to get to the right side of the court, you hit your return, hopefully deep, which gives you enough time to come into the right side of the court while your partner is sliding in from the left side up by the kitchen line. And remember, you only stack when you’re looking to move from a traditional position on the court.
Rusty Howes is the Executive Producer and creator of Pickleball Channel. Rusty worked for the likes of Warner Bros. and Disney before creating Pickleball Channel to develop and provide fantastic, professional video content for the pickleball community. He is deeply involved in promoting the sport of pickleball at home and across the country.