The sport of cup stacking

Have you ever heard of the sport of cup stacking? Oh yes, it’s a sport. In fact, is has grown into a worldwide sport, and is now known as Sport Stacking with it’s own World Sport Stacking Association.

I discovered cupstacking when I was in sixth or seventh grade, when it wasn’t a widespread, well-known activity. In fact, I don’t think it stretched beyond the borders of the U.S. at the time.

cup stacking speed stacking

Before I go any further, I should probably explain to you what cup stacking is. It’s a sport that involves stacking specialized cups in a specific series of formations in as little time as possible. There are three different sequences used in competition (yes, there are competitions!). There’s the 3-3-3 stack, the 3-6-3 stack, and the cycle. The cycle stack is a series of 3 stacking patterns that go from a 3-6-3, to a 6-6, to a 10 stack. Still not getting it? Here’s an example of the cycle stack:

Sorry about the video quality, but it was a miracle I managed to make a video and post it at all. By the way, that’s the first time I’ve ever appeared in a video on my blog 🙂

I never actually competed in any competitions, but my little sister and I would often compete against each other. Even back when I first learned about the sport, when it was relatively new, there was still a World Championship for cup stacking and there was a world record holder. The record holder at that time was Emily Fox. Interestingly enough, her father got her started with cup stacking when he introduced it to her PE class in elementary school. Four years later, at the age of 16, she set the first world record in cup stacking with a time of 7.43 seconds. Interestingly enough, she also knew how to ride a 6 foot unicycle like me!


Shortly after I began stacking, I entered a writing competition online, put on by Speed Stacks (the cup manufacturer). I ended up winning a stack mat autographed by Emily Fox and a free set of cups. I still have both, and the stack mat is the one I’m using in my video. It has touch pads that you use to start and stop the built-in timer.

cup stacking speed stacking stack mat

stack mat emily fox autograph

Today, sport stacking has become a pretty big deal. The World Championships is now a huge event that draws kids from over 18 countries, and sport stacking is now included in the AAU Junior Olympics. The competitions include kids stacking individually, as well as on relay teams and as doubles (where one person is the right hand and the other is the left hand). These kids mean business and they’re really fast! In case you’re interested, HERE is a video of the current record holder. I have no idea how that kid’s hands move so fast!

World Championships Collage
Photos from the Speed Stacks ‘Stack Fast’ DVD

Cup stacking is great for kids. It teaches them concentration and helps improve hand-eye coordination. It’s a great activity to introduce to elementary school-aged kids in PE class, and that has been done in many schools across the country. It’s definitely a lot of fun, whether you’re a kid or an adult!

Have you ever heard of cup stacking?
What unusual sports/activities have you done?

6 thoughts on “The sport of cup stacking”

  1. I have never heard of sport stacking. You are fast, maybe not quite as fast as the world record holder, I don’t think I even saw his hands he was so fast! You will have to come over and teach Hannah when she gets older!

  2. You have VA Tech curtains! That’s awesome. And you are amazingly good at stacking. In that one set-up (or stack or whatever) it looked like they magically made a stack because you did it so fast!! I have heard of it, only because a friend of a friend had a son who did it. It’s definitely good for eye-hand coordination! So neat!

    p.s. Are you also good at the cup song from Pitch Perfect?

    1. I do, haha! You are observant 🙂 It’s just over that one window, though, not in the whole house! That’s cool that you had heard of it before. I wonder if that’s something Evan would enjoy? Could make a pretty neat Christmas gift for him – although we’re kind of in crunch time at this point. I think you can get some kind of beginner set that has a set of cups, a stackmat, and an instructional DVD (which is what I learned from).

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