Pickleball is one of the easiest games to learn and play, yet if the game is played at competitive levels, there are strategies that players seek to master. In this column, we will talk about a strategy known as “Stacking.” Let’s get ready to talk pickleball and the use of stacking and the pros and cons that go with using the strategy.

One of the most dreaded hits by your opponents is down the middle of the court between you and your partner and near your feet. Unless the partners have strong court coverage, the skilled shot is often successful at causing partner confusion in which each partner believed the other partner would get to the ball as they watch the ball pass between them. Partners use a strategy known as ‘fore over back’ in hopes that there will be coverage on the ball and that the player responding to the ball is using their strong hand. That method does work, sometimes.

Stacking is the strategic answer for court coverage confusion. Most teams will have a right-handed and a left-handed player. The partners can take several different positions for the stacking such as standing next to and slightly behind the server or the non-serving player can stand completely off the court to create the ‘stacked’ positioning. By having the left-handed player start the service, that provides two strong forehands in the center of the court. It is also a strategy that can be used if one of the players has a strong backhand as the team can expect their opponents to attempt to hit the center of the court multiple times during the game.

Is it necessary to stack in order to win a game? That depends on your opponents and your memory. If your opponents can control the placement and speed of their hits, you will likely need strong court coverage in the center so stacking would be a good option. So, why do you need to have a good memory? Although there are no player positioning requirements during the volleys, each server must serve in the correct order and that is where memory becomes vitally important. During stacking, players will quickly move in and out of their traditional sides of the courts which require strong memories of both players to remember which side of the court the service should be from and which player should be serving. If the players confuse either of those, the team will lose the point earned in the last volley.

The pros and the cons of stacking should be considered based upon the overall strengths of the partners as well as the strengths of their opponents. Stacking is a great strategy for competitive pickleball players, but just make sure that you bring not only your strong hand to the game but your strong memory as well.

See you on the courts!

Coming Up Next Month

Pickleball is played on a court and with a net, paddle, and ball. Those are only objects. The true heartbeat of pickleball is comprised of the people that feel the excitement and comradery of a game that is sweeping the United States and other countries. Beginning next month, I will showcase the people that give the game of pickleball the heartbeat that we all hear and feel.

Pickleball Game Rule Simplified

Will a referee let me know if I am the correct server and in the correct server position?

The USAPA and IFP address this situation in Section 4.B.8-11 of the rule book. Although prior to the serve, a player may ask the referee if they are the correct server, the player may not ask if they are in the correct position. The receiving team may ask the referee to confirm the score which significantly aides in determining whether the serving team is in the correct order and position. After the serve and if the server was not the correct server or served in the wrong position, the referee will immediately stop the play and identify the fault. The offending team will be faulted until the next serve and a point that may have been scored will not count.

Upcoming Tournaments

Bavarian Maifest Pickleball Prost!

May 11-12

Leavenworth Pickleball Company


Becki Subido is the owner of Leavenworth Pickleball Company.

She can be contacted via sports@wenatcheeworld.com.