CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

STOP Making this Competitive Pickleball Mistake!

Are you stacking when in competitive or tournament play? If not, you are making a huge mistake.

Whenever you are playing in a competitive or tournament setting, you are usually playing against players at your level. You might win. Or they might.

The difference in skill between you and many of your opponents will be slight. Your chances of winning – or losing – the match will depend on small things. Who hits a few more good third shots, or who misses that critical return of serve at 9-9.

What can you do to give yourself that slight edge you need to get you over the top in these sorts of games?

If you are not already doing it, then stacking is the answer.

A specific example. We played in an APP tournament Senior Pro event in the bottom bracket and played a team that knew its way around the court and had a pretty sound strategy. Except … they did not stack.

Here is how it hindered them. Both players were right-handed. One of them had a ripping forehand, but the other did not. This meant that when the strong forehand player was on the court’s left side, we had to be careful with our middle returns. However, when he was on the right side of the court, we could return in the middle without concern.

This team had a strong formation and a weak formation. And their formations were dictated not by strategic considerations but rather by the score. They played the game as “victims” of the score.

I knew the players, and so I asked them about it afterward. They expressed surprise at my suggestion that they should stack. They were both right-handed, and so there was no need to stack. This indicated to me that these players – experienced, good players, and nice guys – had just not processed the uses of stacking and how it can positively impact your game by putting your team in the best position to win.

If you are playing competitively or in tournaments, make sure you add stacking to your game. Only then will you be competing at the highest level that you can. Anything else, and you will be shortchanging yourself and your partner.

Get your free guide to stacking and join us in our masterclass The Stacking Lab.  You will have the information you need to bring your stacking game to the next level – and dominate with it.

We’d love to know what you think about stacking. Please put it in the comments below.

Train Smart · Live Bold · Age Well

Email: Tony@wearePickleball.com

Email: CJ@wearePickleball.com

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2 Comments

  1. Malagash Helen on November 3, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for this. Any units when you keep changing partners how to decide early on who should stack where?

    • CJ Johnson on November 4, 2021 at 3:13 am

      Hi Helen, great question. The first question is what are the partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Also how fast is each player. We recommend starting to stack on the serve first. Once that works try a variety of formation on the returns. The first element is to try to get your team to play to each players strengths. The second element is to try to get the match up against your opponents that you want. We did a course called The Stacking Lab. While it’s in the vault now, we’ll probably release it again in the first quarter 2022.

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