Stacking: When and Why

I have received a number of questions from readers about stacking.  I have also heard it can stress you out.  If you have questions about stacking strategy, this is for you!


Why do we use stacking?

Stacking is used to increase the amount of time a player is playing on one side of the court.  I stack in mixed doubles because my doubles partner, Wes, is left-handed and ambidextrous. I play on the left side of the court so we both have our forehands in the middle.  It also allows him to be more aggressive on his dominant side.

In women’s doubles, I stack on the left because I favor my forehand in the middle while my women’s partner, Christine, favors her backhand in the middle.  We both benefit by playing to our strengths.

Stacking with Left-Handed Players

I have spoken to a lot of left-handed players who say people don’t want to play with them because stacking confuses their partners.   Not everyone has to stack, however, it is nice to understand how to do it.  This way you can play with anyone in any situation.

It is especially helpful when you are playing with a left-handed player.  Most people would prefer not to have two backhands in the middle attempting to hit a third shot drop, as it would be easier having the forehand option.

Your Stacking Strategy May Change

stackingJust because you stack for part of the game, doesn’t mean you have to do it the entire time.  You can change your strategy at any time.  As long as you are serving and receiving on the correct sides you can really do whatever you want.

You may have noticed that higher level players adopt different strategies at different points in the match.  It might be that a player does not want to run from one side of the court to the other.  Perhaps, a player would prefer to go down the line against a particular player,  or perhaps they feel they are having more success when their cross-court dinks are directed at a particular player.  There are a lot of reasons that someone may want to stack.

Because many find it a worthwhile strategy, I think it is a good idea to be familiar with stacking. I like to be comfortable with whatever style of play is presented, whether it be in recreational play or in a tournament.  It just gives me more people to play with.

5 thoughts on “Stacking: When and Why

  1. YOU do not show how to stack . Most people do not know where to put there partener when they are serving ,

    1. Wade, Thanks for your question. I have written a post on strategies to use against stackers for the RVPicklers site. It will appear on 11/7. Till then, let me offer you one suggestion. Though it is important to recognize where your opponent is positioned, you don’t want to become so fixated on it that you forget your own game. Try to focus on what you can control.

  2. Thanks for information. Also, looking for strategies to use when playing an opponent. I am in the 65 to 69 age group. Yesterday we played and most of the shots go to my female partner, she is the lefty. How can I help her.

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