How Many Cups in Speed Stacking?

Written by marisa carpico
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How Many Cups in Speed Stacking?
A stacker completes a stack during competition. (Sandra Mu/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)

Ordinary plastic cups from your kitchen won't do for the sport of competitive speed stacking, as regulated by the World Sport Stacking Association. Each stacking event requires a specific number of specially designed cups to make the standard formations. Sport stackers compete to build, or "up stack," and deconstruct, or "down stack," cups into various formations in the fastest time. The WSSA's four official events begin with the cups in nested stacks. The clock stops when stacker returns the cups to the nested formation.

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3-3-3 Stack

The 3-3-3 Stack event requires nine cups. The formation consists of three separate stacks made up of three cups each. In this as in all speed stacking events, a stacker can up stack from left to right or right to left depending on personal preference.

3-6-3 Stack and Timed Relay

Performing the 3-6-3 Stack calls for 12 cups -- two stacks of three cups on the outside and a centre stack consisting of six cups. The 3-6-3 Relay, which also requires the use of 12 cups, follows the same formation as the 3-6-3 Stack. This time, each member of a team builds the formation in succession. Teams compete against a clock or against another team for the fastest time. A relay stacker must wait with both feet behind the start line until the previous team member places one foot behind the line before approaching the stacking table.

Cycle Stack

The Cycle Stack combines 12 cups into three separate formations stacked in sequence. Stackers start with a 3-6-3 stack followed by a 6-6 stack with two stacks of six cups each. The cycle ends with a 1-10-1 stack with ten cups in the centre and a single cup on each side.


The Doubles event is identical to the Cycle Stack except that two people work together to create the stacks. One stacker may only use his left hand while the other may only use his right hand. The teammates work with 12 cups in this event.

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