Cup Stacking Competition

Organization Sponsor: South Shore Regional School Board

Organization Partner: Hebbville Academy


Program Description

Stacking Cup Competition took place at Hebbville Academy. This was a one day event for children and youth. The participants entered into different categories. 3/3/3 or 3/6/3.It can be done as a relay or in cycles. This event is some times called a track meet for the hands.It lasted 4-5 hours.Here's more information on Cup stacking as an activity.

Cup stacking not just a game. The Unusual Side of Sports
by Sean Patrick Sullivan

More than 8,000 schools across the United States have students stack plastic cups into pyramids as part of their physical education program. It’s called sport stacking, and it is used with the aim of promoting co-ordination, focus and sportsmanship.

Don’t laugh: it’s serious business.

It’s also harder than it sounds, says Bob Fox, the founder and president of Speed Stacks Inc. Fox and his company promote the sport and sell specially designed cup-stacking products.

“People need to see what it is to understand it. Just to hear cup stacking—most folks have no concept of the speed and quickness and dexterity involved,” he said.

The game goes like this: participants stack and unstack 12 plastic cups in pre-determined sequences, as fast as they can. There are different events, including individual and team relay—in both, time is the important factor. The player has to stack and unstuck quickly and accurately.

One sequence is called “the Cycle.” It means up-stacking and then down-stacking three different structures: first a 3–6–3 (a pyramid of three cups, next to a pyramid of six cups, next to a pyramid of three cups), then a 6–6, then a 1–10–1.

Fox’s daughter Emily holds the world record of 7.4 seconds for the Cycle. That means she handled 2.4 cups per hand per second.

There’s even a worldwide governing body, the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA), meant to encourage and facilitate tournaments around the world. A world competition is being held in Denver, Colo., this April. Last year it had hundreds of participants.

Fox first saw the sport on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1990. A former classroom teacher and professional juggler, Fox said his first reaction was thinking it looked like upside-down juggling.

“Five years later, when I became a physical education teacher, I thought cup stacking would be great to share with my students to help with their eye-hand co-ordination and motor development,” he explained. It turns out the students loved it, and Fox eventually founded the company and began promoting the sport at physical education conferences.

The company’s products include specially made cups, designed with special shoulders and air holes so they slip on and off of each other with ease; the Stackmat, the “optimum stacking surface” endorsed by the WSSA; and StackPacks, which combine the two with a timer and weighted practice cups.

It’s all on the Speed Stacks website:

The sport is slowly expanding into Canada, with roughly 300 schools now involved. Fox is looking to hook the university crowd next.

“Even though most stackers are kids, we’re seeing more interest from college students,” he said. “We do have a collegiate division at the world championships, and we hope some Canadians make it down.”

What is Sport Stacking?

Sport stacking is an exciting individual and team sport where participants stack and unstack 12 specially designed plastic cups 3-6-3 Stacking Sequence

Program Approximate Cost: 


Funding Sources: 

None required

Strategies For Sustainability: 

This type of activity is not a sport as such and can involve large numbers of participants. This is a great event for eye/hand coordination, mental thinking and manipulation.

Impact Of Program: 

"Stacking has been a big help in my life! If I want to play sports in school, stacking really strengthens my arms and is a great thing to do with friends when you are bored. It has changed my life!"
Kristen, age 10
"I have tried every sport known to man and this is the only one I LOVE!"
Max, age 12

Evaluation Tools: 

We gathered verbal feedback from parents and participants. The follow is a summary of the physical benefits of cup stacking.

Influence of Stacking on Hand-Eye Coordination and Reaction Time of 2nd Grade Students
[Dr. Steven R. Murray, Brian Udermann, John M. Mayer, Kenneth Sagendorf - Mesa State College - Perceptual and Motor Skills, Spring 2004]

Summary - Sport stacking has been adopted recently by many physical education programs to enhance rudimentary motor skills such as hand-eye coordination and ambidexterity as well as quickness and concentration; however, no empirical evidence has been published to support these claims.

We examined the influence of stacking on hand-eye coordination and reaction time of 24 boys and 18 girls in second grade as measured by the Soda Pop and Yardstick tests, respectively.

Two physical education classes were randomly assigned as treatment and control groups and were pre- and posttested for hand-eye coordination and reaction time. The treatment group participated in a 5-week sport-stacking program.

Significant improvements were noted for both hand-eye coordination and reaction time between the pre- and post test scores for this group but not for the control group.

Therefore, sport stacking is indeed effective in enhancing hand-eye coordination and reaction time.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Can involve large numbers of participants, equipment can be borrowed and costs are low.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

The only cost was price of medals, other equipment can be borrowed.

Length and Stage of Project: 

This was a 1 day event 4-5 hours long but it is possible to expand to other locations and repeat as much as kids want.

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