What is Pickleball Stacking? – A Brief Explanation

When beginners or new players see pickleball stacking for the first time, they find it illegal, dishonest, or a complicated technique. Those players who see pickleball stacking for the first time, just assume that it is a high-level technique that is for advanced plays. However, pickleball stacking is a simple in-game technique or strategy that two players use easily, even beginners do it.

What exactly is Pickleball Stacking?

Pickleball stacking is a strategy used in doubles pickleball where both players stack or line up on the same side of the court during serve or return of serve. Both players are present on one side of the court and once the ball is hit, both players take their preferred position to take the advantage or for hitting their strongest shot(forehand).

There are some rules and variations of pickleball stacking however the main goal is to get into a position where you have an advantage or a position where you can score a point with your strongest shot.

In simple terms, there are different positioning used by players and stacking is one of the positioning techniques. Players are stacked together during serve or return of serve and move accordingly to the shot, which increases the chances of forehand and backhand in the middle of the court.

Pickleball stacking is most commonly seen during double plays and when implemented properly, it allows you to cover the middle of the court with your forehand and backhand. With this knowledge of pickleball stacking, we will now explain some rules that you must keep in mind if you want to implement pickleball stacking:

Pickleball Stacking Rules

Pickleball stacking rules doesn’t define what side of the court should the player stand or play however, some rules are there for return and serve only. The rules are as follows:

  1. Which Player will hit the serve.
  2. Which Player will return the serve.
  3. Which side of the court will the ball be served from.
  4. Which side of the court will the ball be served to.

The server has the following the rules like from where he is serving from or serving to, however, the server’s partner can stand wherever he/she wants as long as they don’t cross the plane of the net. This alone makes this technique powerful and legal allowing players to get into their most preferred position to score a point.

Why Do Teams Use Pickleball Stacking?


For those players that have been learning basic pickleball positioning techniques, it might seem bad to learn a strategy that uses non-traditional positioning. However, it takes not much time to realize that stacking is a positioning technique that will make the most use of a team’s assets. We will explain the advantage of using stacking in different variations by using an example.

For instance, consider you have a mismatched team where you have one right-handed player and another left-handed one. In this case, if you play with traditional positions then the middle of the court will become weak on your side. But stacking in a left-right combination will help not just with guarding but also will utilize the strong hand of both players allowing you to play with maximum efficiency.

This is just one variation of pickleball stacking, you can use pickleball stacking as per your conditions and get an advantage where you seem to be disadvantageous. You can use a left-left combination, right-right combination, or right-left combination according to your condition. Stacking helps when one or both players have strong or weak forehand/backend by allowing them to cover their weak side or use their strong side more. You Can also check the Best Pickleball Shirts.

One more variation of pickleball stacking that is most commonly used is the one that allows the right-handed person to play on the left side and the left-handed person to play on the right side. This allows for the creation of an unstoppable pattern of forehand attacks.

This technique is also used by the team that has one less athletic player by allowing the most athletic player to reach the ball faster during deep shots or side shots.

The thing you need to keep in mind is the teamwork as players who haven’t discussed how are they gonna play among themselves end up losing. For instance, when the ball is hit between the two players, each player can hit a forehand shot but both players wait for each other to hit the shot and lose a point. Another thing you need to make sure of during stacking is who will return or play the serve and once the game is started it’s free for all!

Working On Pickleball Stacking

We will look at how pickleball stacking works with all the knowledge and points described above. You will also need to know what traditional positioning and serving rules are, in short, each team starts with each player on two sides, the ad side, and the deuce side. After each score, the serving team player rotates while the returning team stays the same as they were before.

Stacking During Serving:

The basic concept of stacking is to stack in such a way that players can play from their strong side and cover their weak one. For example, you have a team where player X is left-handed and player Y is right-handed and both players have strong forehands. So by having X on the right side and Y on the left side, they will have the middle covered with both of their forehands.  You Can also check the Best Pickleball Machines.

During serve while you are stacking, both players will usually begin on the same side with one player moving a bit to the open side of the return.

If player Y (right-handed) begins from the even side, the team will stack in such a way that player Y is placed to the left of player X.

Just like that, if player X (left-handed) begins from the odd side, the team will stack in such that player X is placed to the right of player Y.  You Can also check the Best Graphite Pickleball Paddles.

However, stacking wouldn’t be necessary when player X is serving from the even side or player Y is serving from the odd side as they are already positioned perfectly.

Stacking During Return Of Serve:

As for the stacking during the return of the service, consider the same team as above then there are only two circumstances under which the team should stack:

  1. Player Y receives from the even side of the court.
  2. Player X receives from the left side of the court.

As soon as the serve is hit, the one who hits the serving shift diagonally toward the front of the court while the player at the net moves to the right or left onto the court.


In the end, pickleball stacking is one of the strategies that you can use to get a powerful start or solid advantage. It may take some time and practice, especially for beginners but as you practice you will get hang of it and utilize it to win or gain an advantage over the other team.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are partial and full stacking?

Full stacking is a stacking technique where the team stacks for the whole game, this requires more teamwork and practice. Partial stacking is for beginners that don’t have much experience and only stack during the game when needed.

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