A 1-10-1 being upstacked as part of the cycle stack
|Highest governing body||World Sport Stacking Association|
|Nicknames||Cup stacking, speed stacking|
|First played||1981, Oceanside, California, U.S.|
|Registered players||618,394 (number of worldwide participants in the Guinness World Record set in 2015)|
|Team members||Individual, doubles, teams of 4 or 5|
|Mixed gender||Yes, but in separate divisions|
|Equipment||Cups, mat, timer|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
|Olympic||AAU Junior Olympic Games|
Sport stacking, also known as cup stacking or speed stacking, is an individual and team sport that involves stacking 9 or 12 specially designed cups in pre-determined sequences as fast as you can. The cups are specially designed to allow for faster times. Participants of sport stacking stack cups in specific sequences, by aligning the inside left lateral adjunct of each cup with that of the next. Sequences are usually pyramids of 3, 6, or 10 cups. Players compete against the clock or another player.
The governing body setting the rule is the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA).
While working for the Boys & Girls Club of Oceanside, California in 1981, Wayne Godinet came up with the idea for sport stacking. When the children he was working with were tired of playing traditional sports, he took paper cups and asked them to stack the cups as fast as they could. The sport was well received, so Godinet decided to acquire plastic cups to be used by his club. He quickly discovered that his new plastic cups would stick together, so Godinet modified the cups by adding a hole to the bottom of the cups. He formed his own company, Karango Cupstack Co., which manufactured and distributed these modified cups in a variety of colors. By the end of the decade, Godinet estimated he had sold approximately 25,000 sets of cups. During the 1980s, Godinet hosted the annual National Cupstacking Championship in Oceanside. One of the national champions was Matt Adame, a member of Godinet's club, the "Professional Cupstack Drill Team". In November 1990, Adame and his teammates were featured on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
After the sport received national attention on The Tonight Show, Bob Fox, a physical education teacher from Colorado, introduced stacking to his students. Fox's enthusiasm led to the creation of the annual Colorado state tournament in 1997. In 1998, Fox, together with Larry Goers, created a line of proprietary sport stacking products including the patented timing system known as the StackMat. Fox started traveling across the country in 2000 to promote Speed Stacks full-time. In 2001 Fox founded the World Cup Stacking Association (WCSA) to formalize the sport's rules and sanction competitions worldwide. As the sport began to spread to neighboring states, the WCSA hosted the first Rocky Mountain Cup Stacking Championships, where Fox's daughter, Emily Fox, broke her own world record by completing the cycle in 7.43 seconds. The next year, the first WCSA World Championship took place at the Denver Coliseum and has since been held annually. The WCSA formally titled the sport "sport stacking" and changed their name to the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) in 2005. The WSSA cited the public recognition that stacking is considered a sport as the reason for the name change.
Official sport stacking cups are specially designed to prevent sticking and to allow the competitor to go faster. The cups are reinforced with several ribs on the inside which separate the cups when they are nestled. The exterior's slightly textured to allow better grip. The insides are very smooth and slide past each other easily. The tops of the cups have 1-4 holes to allow ventilation so the cups do not stick. One special line of cups has cups without tops to further decrease air resistance.
One can purchase the specially designed "stacking mats", also called "stack mats," which are mats connected to a sensitive timer. These are used for official tournament timing, as well as casual play timing or practice timing.
Special weighted training cups, called "Super Stacks," are made from metal and are most commonly used directly before competing. The added weight is intended to make the regular cups feel lighter.
There are three sequences stacked in official sport stacking events, that are defined by the rule book handed out by the WSSA:
Common for all sequences are these major rules:
There are three main categories of competing that WSSA-sanctioned tournaments offer:
A university study by Dr. Brian Udermann, currently at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, confirms that stacking improves hand-eye coordination & reaction time by up to 30% (published in the scientific Journal "Perceptual & Motor Skills" in 2004)
An EEG-study by Melanie A. Hart, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences at the Texas Tech University support the claim that cup stacking does utilize both sides of the brain. During the left-hand condition, activity in the right hemisphere was larger than the left, while for the right-hand task, the left hemisphere was greater than the right. Their scientific poster on that topic got awarded by the AAHPERD On the other hand, Hart couldn't get the same results as Udermann when studying improvement on reaction time.
Gibbons, E., Hendrick, J. L., & Bauer, J. State University of New York studied the effects on the reaction time and confirmed Udermann rather than Hart, stating "that the results agreed with the claims made by Speed Stacks, in which practicing cup stacking can improve reaction time. They also state "Even 1 hour of cup stacking practice can improve reaction time in young adults." Speed stacking was also seen as helping people improve in other sports because it helps to improve the hand-eye coordination.
The Department of Kinesiology at Towson University studied the influence of participation in a 6-week bimanual coordination program on Grade 5 students' reading achievement with Sports Stacking being the bimanual activity. In a pilot study, a significant increase was found for the experimental group on comprehension skills, suggesting that Sports Stacking may improve students' reading comprehension skills, regardless of sex.
Most sport stacking competitions are geared toward children. There are also divisions for "Special Stackers" (disabled competitors).
The WSSA has set the following protocol for the setting of world records:
The competition's divided into 12 different age divisions, ranging from 6 & under to seniors (60 & up). State, national & world records are recorded on the WSSA website.
|3-3-3||1.335||Hyeon Jong Choi (KOR)|
|3-6-3||1.746||Hyeon Jong Choi (KOR)|
|Cycle||4.813||William Orrell (USA)|
|3-3-3||1.424||Si Eun Kim (KOR)|
|3-6-3||1.835||Si Eun Kim (KOR)|
|Cycle||5.089||Si Eun Kim (KOR)|
|Doubles||5.953|| William Orrell (USA)|
William Polly (USA)
|3-6-3 Relay||12.212||Fantastic Four|
Zhewei Wu (USA)
William Polly (USA)
Chandler Miller (USA)
William Orrell (USA)