This Week in Obscure Sports – Cup Stacking


By: Carolyn Deas

Can you put dishes away at lightning-fast speeds? Do you revel in having an empty sink and organized cupboards? Did you know that there is a sport where you can put your cup stacking to the test?

Okay, so this sport may not be all about putting dishes away, but if it’s something you excel in, you’ve already got a head start at Cup Stacking, also known as Sport Stacking. This sport is all about stacking cups (obviously) in predetermined sequences as players race against the clock or each other.

After receiving national attention in 1990, physical education teacher Bob Fox developed the activity by formalizing the rules and establishing a governing body, the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA). Today, the association holds tournaments all over the country. In 2004, the name changed from Cup Stacking to Sport Stacking so it would be recognized as a sport.

Want to know the rules? There are three sequences stacked in official Sport Stacking events that are defined by the rulebook handed out by the WSSA:

3-3-3: Using 9 cups, this sequence consists of three sets of three cups each. The three sets must be stacked going from left-to-right or right-to-left, and then down-stacked into their original positions in the same order as the up-stack.
3-6-3: Using 12 cups, the sequence is similar to the 3-3-3, except a six stack replaces the three stack in the middle. Each pile of cups is stacked up from left-to-right or right-to-left, and the down-stack occurs in the same order.
Cycle: Using 12 cups again, this is a sequence of stacks in the following order: a 3-6-3 stack, then a 6-6 stack which is two pyramids of six cups stacked up and down into one containing all twelve cups altogether, and a 1-10-1 stack (a pyramid of ten cups in the middle), finishing in a down stacked 3-6-3.
These events can be played as individuals, doubles, or relays. Just remember that you can’t stack two pyramids at the same time but you can bring them down at the same time in the down stack. If the stack is not done correctly in the up stack, players must fix it right away but if a cup falls (or fumbles) on the down stack, the player may continue.

So do you think you can compete? Here’s some of the equipment you’ll need:
Sport stacking cups – they are specially designed to prevent sticking, letting the player perform faster.
Staking mat – if you want to be able to time yourself and prepare for competitions, stacking mats can help you.

Visit to find tournaments near you!

    One Comment

  1. SharlzGJune 2nd, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Sooo… If I say I have a couple of sweet of these cos (include light reactive and glow in the dark ones), does that make me a nerd?.. Excellent 🙂

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