CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

The Power of Pickleball Stacking-Maximum Tactical Advantage with Minimal Effort

Stacking is a pickleball strategy you can use to take control of your game. Stacking:

    • is available for any level of pickleball play – 2.0 to Pro.
    • allows you to take control of your side of the court.
    • makes your strengths stronger
    • and helps hide your weaknesses.

You can stack regardless of your rating or level of play. While you do need to be what we call a “thinking pickleball player,” you do not need to learn a particular shot or drill for hours on end to stack. It would be best if you had a little bit of study, such as at our Stacking Lab Masterclass, and then give yourself some slack while you learn it during actual pickleball play.

Once you master stacking, you will have complete control over how you want to play the game. You will no longer be subject to the whims of the score. Want to play on the right side? Go ahead. Left side more your speed? Knock yourself out. You will become the master of the pickleball rules that allow you to play the rally from wherever you want.

And this is just the beginning of the power of pickleball stacking

With stacking, not only do you get to pick a side, but you also get to pick specific matchups. And your decision can change from rally to rally. When you become proficient at stacking, a unique new world of possibilities opens up to you. And it is a world in which you are the sole decisionmaker – you are in complete control of it.

The winner or loser in a well-contested pickleball game often comes down to small things. Stacking can give you that edge you need. It is a net positive strategy to add to your game.

If you want to learn some more about stacking, download our Guide: Stacking – Don’t Let the Score Dictate your Play.

Want to learn more? Check out the Stacking Lab Masterclass

Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.


  1. Avatar photo Claudia on March 27, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    What is stacking?

    • Avatar photo Cathy Jo Johnson on March 27, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Claudia, Stacking is a strategy that a pickleball team uses to their tactical advantage. Instead of switch sides as the score dictates and simply staying there, after the serve or return they move to a different position on court to try to gain an advantage over their opponents. I’ve added a video to the post, or download the free stacking guide for more info.

      • Avatar photo Ginny Kotowski on March 28, 2021 at 10:38 pm

        I like to stack if I am playing with a lefty or in mixed doubles. But I also like to stack if I am playing with a player with a weaker backhand I will play the odd side.
        Mostly do in in tournaments or ladder play since unfortunately many rec players do not understand how to stack or don’t want to.

  2. Avatar photo Jeffrey S Sayad on March 27, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    My league plays round robin, winners stay on court and split up, 2 new players come in. Can you semi-substitute this strategy, if you don’t really know your partner, by stacking the higher ranked player on the backhand side?

    Love this set-up, already running thru partners in my head🙂

  3. Avatar photo Sandy Burnell on March 28, 2021 at 2:16 am

    Hi CJ.
    Gary and I have begun using the half -stack when we serve and like it. Now that we are comfortable with it, we hope to begin using a full stack soon. See you on the courts

    • Avatar photo Cathy Jo Johnson on April 4, 2021 at 6:10 am

      Hey Sandy

      Glad to hear that you are using this strategy. We’ll see you on the courts soon. CJ

  4. Avatar photo Jamie Elliott on March 28, 2021 at 6:51 am

    As a leftie, I love stacking. I play the even side and of course it always confuses some of the newer players. Been stacking for about 4 yrs.

    • Avatar photo Cathy Jo Johnson on March 28, 2021 at 8:08 am

      Hey Jamie, making players uncomfortable is one of the goals. It makes it more likely they’ll make a mistake. Staying on the even side is a great start. What other formations do you use?

  5. Avatar photo W on October 22, 2022 at 11:40 am

    We have a question. Let’s say we are half stacking only on serve, and the first server X begins the game at 0-0-start but immediately switches to the left side of the court because he is forehand dominant. Then they do not win the point (I,e, the score remains 0-0) and the other team takes serve at (0-0-1).

    In this situation, does first server X who reverted to the left side of the court, and is now on the receiving team, need to go back to the right side of the court to be first returner of serve? Or do they stay on the left side of the court?

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on October 22, 2022 at 12:43 pm

      That’s correct. The first server needs to be on the right side any time that teams score is even.

    • Avatar photo Tony Roig on October 22, 2022 at 4:32 pm

      Hello William

      Stacking does not change position on serve and return. You need to comply with those rules regardless of stacking. The stack actually happens after the serve or return. Determine court position for you and your partner based on score. Then move into stack positions, if you are choosing to stack in that situation. If you can avoid mixing the two together, you will be a happier stacker :).

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