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Turn your cups upside down to play the amazing game of Speed Stacking!

Team StoryWeavers|August 25, 2020|

A game to test your hand-eye coordination

Did you know that hand-eye coordination is one of the most important skills needed for the survival of humans? It affects almost every aspect of one’s life right from the ability to cook better to type faster! While on an average we develop these motor skills naturally to some extent while growing up, there’s always room for improvement. Due to the ability of nerve cells to reorganize themselves – a fascinating phenomenon called neuroplasticity – more practice of certain hand-eye movements can improve the neural connections in your brain, ultimately improving your hand-eye coordination. 

According to researchers from the Department of Exercise and Sports Science of the University of Wisconsin, playing speed stacking aka cup-stacking can significantly improve your hand-eye coordination, quickness, concentration, and overall ambidexterity (the ability to use both hands equally well). This seemingly simple but fun game has been a part of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Junior Olympic Games since 1981.

How do you play this game?

Player playing cup stacking

source: giphy

Played in both Individual and team formats, the game involves stacking 9 or 12 specially designed cups in pre-determined sequences as fast as possible. These cups are customized in a way that enables stacking and unstacking in a faster way. For example, to prevent sticking, these cups have several ribs on the inside which separate the cups when they are nestled. But even with the ribs, the insides are very smooth so that cups slide past each other easily. The exterior is slightly textured to allow a better grip. The tops of the cups have 1-4 holes to allow ventilation so the cups do not stick. 

Apart from the cup, players are also provided with an equipment called a stackmat, which is a sort of mat on which the cups are stacked. The stackmat has a timer built into to record the time taken by the players to complete the task.

Stacking of cups happens in a specific sequence, usually pyramids of 3,6, or 10 cups. Players compete against each other by recording the time taken to stack and unstack the cups in a specific sequence. A game that tests both agility and concentration, the winner is usually the one who maintains a fine balance of both qualities.

The governing body setting the rule for this game is called the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) and is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.

Variations of Speed Stacking: 

  • 3-3-3 (9 cups): This sequence consists of three pyramids of three cups each. Player must ensure to up-stack them in an order  giong from either left to right or right to left and then down-stack the cups into their original positions in the same order as the up-stack.
3-3-3 formation

source: speedstacks

  • 3-6-3 (12 cups): Similar to the 3-3-3 sequence except for a six stack pyramid which replaces the three stack pyramid in the middle. Player should ensure to up-stack and down-stack the pyramids in the same order like the 3-3-3 sequence.
3-6-3 formation

source: speedstacks

  • Cycle(12 cups): This is a sequence of stacks in the following order:
    • 3-6-3 stack  
    •  6-6 stack (two pyramids of six cups stacked up and down into one containing all twelve cups altogether)  and 
    • 1-10-1 stack (a pyramid of ten cups in the middle), 
    • Finishing in a down stacked 3-6-3.
A cycle formation

A cycle formation


World record-holders – Individual category

Category Country  Gender and Name Record ( in seconds)
3-3-3 Korea Male – Hyeon Jong Choi 1.322
Korea Female – Si Eun Kim 1.424
3-6-3 Malaysia Male – Chan Keng Ian 1.658
Korea Female – Si Eun Kim 1.770
Cycle Malaysia Male – Chan Keng Ian 4.753
Korea Female – Si Eun Kim 5.042

source: wikipedia

Indian record-holders –  Individual category

Category Gender and Name Record (In seconds)
3-3-3  Male – Herlin Christopher 2.071
Female – Jayahsree 3.192
3-6-3  Male – Dhanveer Ahmed 3.087
Female – Jayahsree 4.408
Cycle  Male –  Bhumit Kataria 8.586
Female – Joshika S 12.315

source: wssa

What do you think of the world records? Want to see where you stand in comparison to them? Well there’s a way to find that out! You too can play this game at home,with this  simple DIY:

Materials required: 

  1. 12 Plastic cups/paper cups
  2. Timer

source: knowyourmeme


Stack the glasses on top of each other in the 3-3-3 format to begin with i.e. making three pyramids made up of 3 glasses each. Make sure that you move either left to right or right to left while doing so. Ask your friend/family member to start the timer when you begin stacking up the glasses. Stop the timer the moment you finish! Record your time.  And don’t worry if you’re not clocking close to world record speeds.  This is just the fun, home edition of speed stacking and of course, the cups are not professional level and neither is there a stackmat! But that doesn’t mean you can’t have tonnes of fun with this game. 

To make things more interesting, you can also take turns with your friends/family members. After all, the more the merrier! You can even setup your own tournament and find your in-house speed stacking champion! After you get a hang of the basic format, you can also move onto advanced formats like 3-6-3 or cycle as described above.

Share your stacking times with us in the comment section below and find out where you stand in the BYJU’S student community of speed stackers (home edition)!

About the Author

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Charu Verma

Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at to share anything that you think is worth sharing.

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