Free Shipping Over $50*


Your Cart is Empty

Pickleball Rules and Strategies for Stacking

by Pickleball Superstore October 31, 2022

pickleball rules and strategies for stacking

Pickleball stacking is often used in doubles play. It can look odd since both players are on the same side of the court, but fear not, it’s a great strategy and totally within the official pickleball rules.

What is Pickleball Stacking?

It is a doubles strategy where both players keep to one side of the court – they, quite literally, stack up their position on the pickleball court. Traditional doubles positioning is identical to that of tennis doubles positioning: one player on the left side of the court and the other player on the right side.

Stacking is used to help gain an advantage or desired result during a rally.  It can be used when one player is more dominant on one side of the court vs the other.  Many times in mixed doubles, the male player "stacks" on the left to keep their forehand on in the middle of the court.

Most often teams made up of a left-handed and right-handed players are the ones that use this tactic, because both forehands will be kept in the middle.

And it is most commonly used by the serving team, but there are teams that will employ this strategy on the return of serve.

Is Stacking Legal?

Absolutely. The official pickleball rulebook says: “As rule 4.B.7 states, ‘in doubles, there is no restriction on the position of the partners of the correct serve and receiver as long as they are on their respective team’s side of the net.’”

As long as you are on your side of the net, you and your partner are allowed to position yourselves anywhere on the court.

TOURNAMENT TIP: in tournaments with a referee, it is a great reminder to ask the referee if you are "the right player in the right position?"  The referee will either agree or disagree allowing you to change your position before the serve and potentially a fault occurs.

Why Stack in Pickleball?

There are three reasons why you should use a stacking strategy:

  • A right-handed player and a left-handed player will stack to keep both forehands in the middle. This closes the hole that is typically left in the middle of the court.
  • When both players are the same handedness, teams will stack to hide any weaknesses.
  • An advanced-level team will stack to give one player a better opportunity to poach the ball.

Simple Stacking Strategies

On Serve – When teams stack on serve you will see both players on the same side (ad or deuce) and then one player will move over to the open side.

On Return – There are two main wains to stack on the return of sever.  1) Both players will start on the same side with the returner at the baseline and the volleyer next to the kitchen line. Once the return of serve is over the net, the returner slides over and the volleyer moves into the court to pick off any volleys that come their way.  2) The players line up on the court in a "normal" position prior to the serving time serving the ball.  Players can use hand signals to inform their team member they will be moving to the opposite side of the court immediately after their partner hits the return of serve.  It's best to hit a deep return of serve with less pace - this allows both players to change positions on the court with enough time before their opponents hit their third shot drop or drive.

Is Stacking Confusing?

It certainly can be, but as long as you are able to keep track of which player should be serving and/or returning and from what position on the court, you should be totally fine. Always keep track of the score and remember which player on the stacking team served the first game.


Pickleball stacking can be a great and effective strategy to help maximize the strengths of a doubles team. Be advised to correct player positioning throughout the course of a match – nothing is worse than losing a point because players aren’t sure where they should be standing.



Pickleball Superstore
Pickleball Superstore