1. PICKLEBALL STRATEGY FOR DOUBLES: STACKING
Stacking is a doubles pickleball strategy some teams use to increase the frequency of having their best shots down the middle. Staking can be a very effective strategy for doubles, especially when playing with a left-handed and right-handed player on the team or when one player is significantly stronger in the middle with either their forehand or backhand.
The Key focus when staking is determining 1) how 2) why
and 3) when to stack
To understand how to stack, when one is left-handed and one is right-handed, all the better, however not required.
Stacking is often used when you have a right-hand and left-handed player on a team and want to increase the percentage of forehands hit from the middle of the court. This can also be used to cause confusion for the opponents' team as well by switching things up, however, you need to ensure you don't cause your own team confusion as well.
The only rules regarding what side of the court a player may stand on apply to the players serving and receiving, and that only applies for those single shots. So the sky is the limit on where your partner can stand. However, we recommend that you stand in a logical, tactical position. Your serving or receiving partner can stand in the middle of the non-volley zone if desired, however that may not be a tactically smart move.
If serving and you have a left-handed player, they would typically start as the first server, so both players have their forehands down the middle. If the left-handed player is serving from the left or even side of the court, the right-handed player would normally be to the left of the left handed player and often outside the court. After the serve, they would slide to their right so their forehands would again be down the middle of the court.
If the right-handed player is serving from the right or even side of the court, the lefty would normally stand to the right of the right hander, and both players would slide to their left after the serve so their forehands would be in the middle for the remainder of the rally.
Some pickleball doubles teams only stack when serving straight forward. When receiving, there are several options, with the most frequent being where the receiving partner may stand outside the opposite side of the court just behind the non-volley zone line if they want to change their position. For example, if you have a right-handed player receiving on the right or even side of the court, their partner may stand outside the court on the right or even side of the court just behind the non volley zone line, and after the serve, the right-handed player may move into the opposite side of the court while their partner moves from outside of the court into the court. They then have both of their forehands down the middle. Some doubles teams just cross after one of them receives as well, which causes more confusion to the serving team as it may be unexpected, whereas if someone stands outside the court and slides in, it is well expected.
The upside of stacking is that it can play to your team's strengths and cause confusion to your opponents. However, the downside is that if you are not confident with stacking, it may cause you confusion as well, and you may end up on the wrong side of the court for the next rally causing a loss of point.
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