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What is Sport Stacking?

By J. Beam
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Sport stacking is a sport designed for individual and team competition that involves participants stacking and unstacking 12 plastic cups in a predetermined sequence at a high rate of speed. The sport originated in California during the 1980s, but it gained widespread attention when Johnny Carson showed a segment on sport stacking on The Tonight Show in 1990. Since then, sport stacking has grown into a worldwide competition governed and promoted by its own association, The World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA).

Competitors race against the clock or each other to complete stacking sequences in the fastest times. The WSSA reported participants from 6 different countries and 21 different states participating in its latest competition. The sport continues to grow across the nation and in around the world. In fact, just before the holiday season of 2006, Speed Stacks, one of the largest manufacturers of sport stacking equipment, was included on the top 10 toy list put out by more than one publication.

Besides being a fun sport, fueled by competition to be the fastest, sport stacking touts benefits for kids who participate in the sport. Not only can they compete individually or as a team, sport stacking relies on hand-eye coordination, ambidexterity and speed. Research has actually been conducted that shows sport stacking increases bilateral brain proficiency, a skill that enhances reading and math abilities.

Kids who participate may not care a great deal about the potential social, educational and brain development benefits of sport stacking, but they certainly are interested in trying it. Unlike their violin or tuba, the best part about sport stacking is kids have fun with it so they practice it.

Schools in various areas around the world have incorporated sport stacking into their physical education curriculum and in 2006, sport stacking was a featured sport in a short segment of a major kid’s television channel. As the sport catches on, kids and adults alike are scrambling to perfect their skills and maybe take a stab at breaking a world record. Many others are simply discovering that sport stacking is a fun and challenging activity that they can do alone or with friends and family.

Sports&Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon10377 — On Mar 26, 2008

My daughter has been sport stacking for 2 years now and she loves it!!! We live in England and we have travelled to America to compete in the world champions and we are going again this year!

She has been lucky enough to appear on Television demonstrating what sport stacking is and loves to show new people what this new sport is.

By macgator — On May 30, 2007

I just want it to be known that there is another sanctioning body for the sport. It is the International Sport Stacking Federation. It is based out of Germany. The main difference between the two organizations is that the WSSA requires a participant to use a certain brand of cup. The ISSF lets people choose what equipment they want to use. The ISSF is starting sanctioned tournaments in the US in the fall of 2007. The ISSF also is also letting more than one company shape the sport and the rules. The WSSA is dictated by one company.

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