“Stacking” in Pickleball
By Kjeld Molvig
As a left hander, I’ve been asked to stack a few times over the years and always by better players than I. The first time I tried it, was at the insistence of a 4.0-4.5 player. Since I was certain I’d frustrated him enough with my pop up drops and error prone tennis drives, I agreed to give stacking a try. Actually it seemed to work pretty well. The problem was I never knew where the hell I was supposed to be at the beginning of any point. Remembering is complicated enough playing straight up. So after that experience, I mostly gave up on stacking.
We don’t really see much stacking being played in SF venues. If you’re a competition player or a lefty, this article is for you.
What is stacking?
Most players put balls away more often from their forehand side. Stacking is a doubles strategy meant to insure your team has their strongest strokes in the middle of the court because the majority of balls are directed to the middle. For a right handed team, you’d want the better forehand on the left side of the court. Means a strong forehand in the middle. For a lefty/righty team, ideally that means the righty on the left side and the lefty on the right half of the court. Stacking is the way to accomplish this.
From here, I’d like to use YouTubes videos to discuss the mechanics of stacking.
When we learned pickleball, keeping score and position on a serve was harder than hitting the ball, right? So here is a video that warns about the challenge of positioning when stacking. I don’t really agree with the instructor’s comment that you shouldn’t stack if you have trouble tracking postioning. Of course it’s tough. But you don’t need to wait until you are a 4.0 to learn. It’s more about just doing it. Once you understand the goal (strongest strokes in the middle), the rest will fall into place.
I think this video is good too. It addresses the positioning and score keeping confusion. “If the score is odd, you are in an odd position”. I like that.
This video shows a lot of stack play. Both serving and returning. You might get the hang of it easier by watching than by reading a “how to”.
I hope we get to see more stacking on SF venues. And being a lefty, I promise to be open to it if we ever play together. I’ll also do my best to remember score and side.
Now, if I could only find my car keys….