The 1–10–1 transition in the cycle stack en-route.
|Claim to fame||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson|
|Competitors||555,932 (number of worldwide participants in the Guinness World Record set in 2013)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Josh Hainsel|
|Official website||http://www.thewssa.com and http://www.speedstacks.com|
Sport stacking (also known as cup stacking or speed stacking) is an individual and team sport that involves stacking specialized plastic cups in specific sequences in as little time as possible. The governing body setting the rules is the WSSA (World Sport Stacking Association). Participants of sport stacking stack cups in pre-determined sequences, by aligning the inside left lateral adjunct of each cup with that of the next. Sequences are usually pyramids of three, six, or ten cups. Players compete against the clock or another player. The sport has generated a large YouTube community, with stackers uploading their fastest times to the video sharing website.
The sport received national attention in 1990 on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. The sport was invented by Wayne Godinet, who introduced the first formations and dubbed the sport "Karango Cup Stack". Shortly thereafter, Godinet formed a group called Cupstack. Physical education teacher Bob Fox later developed the activity by formalizing the rules and establishing a governing body, the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA). He also founded a company named Speed Stacks, and along with his partner Larry Goers, created a line of proprietary Sport Stacking products including the patented timing system known as the StackMat which is also used in speedcubing.
Early competitions for the activity were held in 1998 in Oceanside, California and Denver, Colorado. First introduced by Bob Fox, the World Sport Stacking Association now manages Tournaments. In 2004, the organization changed the name of cup stacking to sport stacking in what it describes as an attempt to give it "immediate identification as a competitive sport."
Rules and competitive sequences
There are three sequences stacked in official Sport Stacking events, that are defined by the Rule Book handed out the WSSA:
- 3-3-3: Uses 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: Uses 12 cups. This 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: Uses 12 cups. This is a sequence of stacks in the following order: a 3-6-3 stack (see above), a 6-6 stack (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.
Common for all sequences are these major rules:
- You may not up-stack two pyramids at the same time, but in the down-stack, it is okay to touch two stacks at the same time.
- If a stack is not completed correctly (such as when a cup or cups falls off the pyramid, considered a "fumble") you must correct it immediately. The only exception to this rule is if the cups fall over during the down-stack. If this happens, you may continue your down-stack normally and correct the fallen stack when you reach it.
There are three main categories of competing that WSSA-sanctioned tournaments offer:
- Individual: Each competitor is allowed two warm-ups and three timed tries for each sequence. The best time for each sequence is recorded and compared with other competitors. In the case of a tie, the second best times are used.
- Doubles: Two competitors stand side-by-side to complete the stack, with one competitor using only his or her right hand while the other using only his or her left hand. The same rules for individuals apply here. The only official doubles event is the Cycle (with the exception of the "Special Stackers" category, where only the 3-6-3 is offered).
- Relay: Four competitors take turns stacking at a table, switching when the preceding competitor crosses the foul line with at least one foot. The foul line is observed by a line judge, who decides whether or not this rule was followed. The 3-6-3 relay is the only official event; however, some tournaments offer head-to-head (best 2 out of 3) 3-6-3 and Cycle relays. There are no warm-ups in this event.
Official sport stacking cups are specially designed to prevent sticking and to allow the competitor to go faster. The cups are reinforced with several ribs on the inside which separate the cups when they are nestled. The exterior is slightly textured to allow better grip. The insides are very smooth and slide past each other easily. The tops of the cups have hole(s) to allow ventilation so the cups don't stick.
One can purchase the specially designed stacking mats, also called stack mats, which are mats connected to a sensitive timer. They are used for official tournament timing, as well as casual play timing or practice timing.
Special weighted training cups, called "Super Stacks," are also available. These heavier cups are made of metal and are most commonly used directly before competing. The added weight is supposed to make the regular cups feel lighter.
- A university study by Dr. Brian Udermann, currently at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, confirms that stacking improves hand–eye coordination and reaction time by up to 30 percent (published in the scientific Journal "Perceptual and Motor Skills" in 2004)
- An EEG-study by Melanie A. Hart, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences at the Texas Tech University support the claim that cup stacking does utilize both sides of the brain. During the left-hand condition, activity in the right hemisphere was larger than the left, while for the right-hand task, the left hemisphere was greater than the right. Their scientific poster on that topic got awarded by the AAHPERD On the other hand, Hart could not get the same results as Udermann when studying improvement on reaction time.
- A third group (Gibbons, E., Hendrick, J. L., & Bauer, J. State University of New York) studied the effects on the reaction time and confirmed Udermann rather than Hart, stating "that the results agreed with the claims made by Speed Stacks, in which practicing cup stacking can improve reaction time. They also state "Even 60 minutes of cup stacking practice can improve reaction time in young adults." Speed stacking helps people improve in other sports, because it helps to improve the hand–eye coordination.
- The Department of Kinesiology of the Towson University, Towson, MD studied the influence of participation in a six-week bimanual coordination program on Grade 5 students' reading achievement with Sport Stacking being the bimanual activity. A significant increase was found for the experimental group on Comprehension skills, proving that Sport Stacking may improve students' reading comprehension skills, regardless of sex. Published June 2007.
- In 2007 Cupstacking itself got a scientific test in a study at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Most sport stacking competitions are geared toward children, with for ages 18 and under. There are also divisions for "Special Stackers" (disabled competitors).
The WSSA has set the following protocol for the setting of world records:
- Must use WSSA-approved sport stacking cups.
- Must use a StackMat and tournament display.
- Must be video taped for review and verification purposes.
- Must use 3 judges (one designated Head Judge) to judge each try. After each try the three judges confer. The head judge will then designate with a color-coded card the outcome of that try. (Green-clean run, yellow-try in question (immediate video review) and red–scratch.)
- A finals judge may not be a family member or the sport stacking instructor of the stacker.
The competition is divided into 12 different age divisions, ranging from 6 and under to seniors (60 and up). State, national and world records are recorded on the WSSA website.
In 2002, Emily Fox set the cycle world record with a time of 7.43 seconds. This record remained for nearly four years until Robin Stangenberg broke the record with a time of 7.41 seconds at the 3rd Weidig Open in Butzbach, Germany. Then on April 15, 2007, David Wolf of Germany set the new cycle world record at the 2007 World Sport Stacking Championships in Denver with a time of 7.33 seconds, which he then beat in the "Stack of Champions" with a time of 7.25 seconds. Then, the world record was broken by Steven Purugganan with a 7.23 in Attica, New York  Just weeks after this, David Wolf got the record back with a 7.15 in Germany in November 2007.
In February 2008, Timo Reuhl broke the 3-6-3 world record with a time of 2.57 seconds in finals. Later on in the Stack of Champions, Reuhl made history by stacking the first ever sub-seven-second cycle at a sanctioned tournament, with a 6.80. On February 16, Steven Purugganan took all three world records, five times in total, with a 2.02 & a 1.96 in the 3–3–3, a 2.41 & 2.38 in the 3–6–3, and a 6.65 in the cycle. Steven, with his brother Andrew also took the doubles world record with a 7.84. On March 16, Purugganan extended his record streak by stacking a 6.52 cycle. On April 6, during the 2008 World Championships in Denver, Purugannan, yet again, broke two of his own records, five times in total (1.93 & 1.86 in the 3–3–3, and 6.50, 6.33 & 6.21 in Cycle). Then, on January 3, 2009, at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, Purugganan stacked a 6.18 in the cycle, and the first 5-second cycle at a sanctioned tournament with a 5.93. Two years after, during the Upper-Atlantic Regional Championships on January 29, 2011, Mason Langenderfer, a member of Team USA, stacked and tied the world record cycle with a time of 5.93 seconds. This five second cycle is the first cycle world record set under the new individual stacking rules.On Mar 13, 2011, Joey Shamash, Robert Weatherington, Dominick Ritucci, and Cameron Bobos stacked the relay world record in 16.56 seconds. On March 26, 2011, Zhewei Wu shocked the world by stacking a 1.96 in the 3-6-3. On December 3, 2011, Mike McCoy, a fellow Team USA member, beat the cycle world record with a time of 5.91 seconds. This would be the first time the cycle world record had been beaten in almost three years. February 11, 2012, is regarded as one of the most influential days in Sport Stacking history. On this day, William Orrell stacked a 5.86 cycle at the Southeast Regional Championships in Columbus, Georgia. About an hour later at the East Coast Championships, William Polly stacked a 5.84 cycle, beating Orrell's time by only .02 seconds. During the Stack of Champions back in Georgia, Orrell bettered his time with a 5.83. Also during that Stack of Champions, Chandler Miller tied William Orrell's time with a 5.83. About ten minutes later, Orrell stacked a 1.59 in the 3–3–3. Chandler then beat this time with a 1.53. On March 3, 2012, the cycle record was beaten again by Orrell, with a time of 5.68.
On March 25, 2012, at the 2012 US National Championship, the 3–6–3 record was tied by William Polly, with a time of 1.96, and the 3–6–3 relay was beaten by "Wills and Not Wills" (William Orrell, William Polly, Mason Langenderfer & Chandler Miller) with a time of 13.96 seconds. On April 15, 2012, the only overall world record to be set during the 2012 World Sport Stacking Championships was the Timed 3–6–3 Relay, and it belonged to the home team. Timo Reuhl, Jonathan Kettler, Kevin Nalasko, Ryan Powell, and alternate Florian Friedrich did Team Germany proud with a time of 13.81 seconds. On June 9, 2012, Team USA's "Chosen Five" (William Polly, Zhewei Wu, Chandler Miller, William Orrell, & alternate Lawrence Maceren) tied Team Germany with a time of 13.81 seconds on their first attempt. On July 28, 2012, at the 2012 AAU Junior Olympic Games, the Wills and Not Wills set the world record of 13.43 seconds. Exactly one year after Orrell's 5.68, Son Nguyen from Germany beat the time with a 5.626. The same day, William Polly set the 3–6–3 world record with a 1.932. Then after only 2 weeks of Nguyen's 5.626, William Orrell took back the title for the cycle world record by stacking a 5.617. 8 months after Wills and not Wills set their previous timed 3–6–3 relay world record, they beat it at the 2013 US National Sport Stacking Championships, with a time of 13.187 seconds on March 25, 2013.On November 3, 2013 William Polly would set the cycle world record in the ct tournament with 5.494 seconds. On May 25, 2013, Chandler Miller beat his previous 3–3–3 world record three times in one day. In finals, he stacked a 1.523. Later in the day he would stack a 1.507 and a 1.482 (current world record). Then on July 27, 2013, at the 2013 AAU Junior Olympic Games, William Orrell broke the 3–6–3 world record with a time of 1.911 seconds in the Stack of Champions, which is the current 3–6–3 world record as of today. Orrell also set all individual world records in a span of one week during March 2014, with times of 1.436 for 333, 1.902 for 363, and 5.303 for cycle. At the National Sport Stacking Championships in Kansas City, the relay team "Fantastic Four" set a new world record of 13.039 seconds. William Polly would also be crowned his third consecutive national championship win.
The current world records stand at:
- 3-3-3: William Orrell - 1.424
- 3-6-3: William Orrell - 1.863
- Cycle: Josh Hainsels - 5.296
- Doubles Cycle: Son Nguyen and Nicolas Werner - 6.435
- Timed 3-6-3 Relay: Fantastic Four (Zhewei Wu, William Polly, Chandler Miller, William Orrell) - 13.039
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Thaddeus and Thor", Dr. Doofenshmirtz shows Perry the Platypus a demonstration of his speed stacking. Doofenshmirtz says "See, I hold the cup stacking world record, but does my mother care? No!" However, it shows the wrong sequences; Doofenshmirtz performs the 6-6 phase in the cycle stack, but he upstacks it at the same time then constructs fictional pyramids. When Phineas and Ferb build the fort against Thaddeus and Thor, Candace is trying to let her Mom see the largest fort but she does not want to leave until Candace cleans the mess she made in the kitchen earlier, when she literally "threw the groceries in the kitchen". While she rushes to stack cans in the cupboard, Dr. Doofenshmirtz shudders and says to Perry, "I've just felt a disturbance in the cup stacking universe; I think my record's been broken."
- In the Zeke & Luther episode "The Big Red Stacking Machine", Zeke and Luther are preparing to set a new two-man butt-boarding record. Things seem set until their training gets interrupted by Luther's new-found fascination with cup stacking. Possessing a natural talent for the sport, Luther fakes a stomach ache so he can get out of butt-board training with Zeke and enter a local cup stacking tournament. After learning that Luther has won the cup stacking tournament, Zeke enlists Stinky to be his new butt-boarding partner.
- In The Cleveland Show episode "Ladies' Night", Rallo plays a game of cup stacking with a time of 8.35 seconds, but gets disappointed and throws the cups away. There is another cup stacking sequence in which Rallo upstacks a ten-stack upside down, one cup at the bottom and the rest stacked inside of each cup.
The film, Stacker, was directed, produced, and released by Danger Films and features some of the most prominent stackers in the country, including: The Purugganan family, the Myers family, Lawrence Maceren, Drew Wilfahrt, Tyler Cole, Emma Slabach, and several others.
- The internet film Stacks of Glory is a mockumentary starring sport stacking champion Luke Myers.
- The Dr. Pepper Commercial in 2013.
- Speed Stacks, Inc. : The History of Speed Stacks
- "2013 WSSA STACK UP!". World Sport Stacking Association. November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- WSSA Events: National-level WSSA Sport Stacking Tournament.
- World Sport Stacking Association (The WSSA)
- "Cup stacking, street credibility". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- "The stacks of life - Offbeat sport developed in sex camp teaches lessons and improves dexterity". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- Cup stacking benefits add up | The Yuma-Tribune
- Official rule Book of the World Sport Stacking Association, Version 5.0 as released in 2009, http://www.worldsportstackingassociation.org/tournament_guide/tg09/WSSA%20Rule%20Book%20v%205.0.pdf
- Speed Stacks
- Udermann et al.: Influence of cup stacking on hand–eye coordination and reaction time of second-grade students. Percept Mot Skills. 2004 Apr;98(2):409-14.
- Texas Tech University :: Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, HESS - Melanie Hart
- Brain Activation Patterns During Participation in Cup Stacking (Motor Behavior)
- M. Hart et al.: Influence of participation in a cup-stacking unit on timing tasks. Percept Mot Skills. 2005 Dec;101(3):869-76.
- Uhrich TA, Swalm RL: A pilot study of a possible effect from a motor task on reading performance.. Percept bum hole MotbubSkills. 2007 Jun;104(3 Pt 1):1035-41.
- Granados C, Wulf G.: Enhancing motor learning through dyad practice: contributions of observation and dialogue. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2007 Jun;78(3):197-203.
- New World records at the 3rd Weidig Open, Butzbach
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV6Ee3kmKZI&feature=plcp -->]
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