The incredible sport of cup stacking, explained

The incredible sport of cup stacking, explained

Did you miss that? Here it is again. And again. A little slower. It’s probably still not slow enough. This is sport stacking, or maybe you call
it speed stacking, or cup stacking. But whatever you call it, it has become a
huge sport. It’s in the Junior Olympics. Versions are taught in PE classes, and show
up on The Tonight Show
and Ellen. Last year, more than 600,0000 people set a
world record for stacking at the same time around the world. This is a lot more than a hobby. Sport stacking’s basically a combination
of formations in which stackers upstack (stack up cups)
or downstack (bring them down again). It’s all a race against the clock, for new,
mind-bendingly fast times. The most common patterns are 3 cups, 3 cups,
and 3 cups, 3 cups, 6 cups, and 3 cups — or a 3-6-3 —
and then the cycle, which has you do a 3-6-3, followed by a 6-6 and then a 1-10-1, which
top stackers can do …like this. “My name is Melissa Gomez. I won the
the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Nationals for women. And I won the Junior Olympics in 2015 for
women.” The guy next to her is Mark Sykes. He’s a former high school football and baseball
player who is coach of the U.S. Sport Stacking team. He’s a Masters level competitor too. (Masters basically means that he’s a grown
up, since a lot of stackers are teens or younger). He holds occasional practices in his church’s
basement, and those practices attract some of the best in the region. “Once I went to that first competition,
then I was kinda hooked. And then I kept going with the kids and kept
competing.” Amazing stackers like Melissa — and Mark
— have put in hours and hours of practice. Their goal is to break personal and world
records, but you can see their skill when they aren’t even trying. This is Melissa just practicing. Look at how quickly she does a slow set, just
to clear her mind. Or look at this. She’s setting up a 1-10-1. Notice where her eyes are looking. She’s not showing off. She just doesn’t need to look anymore. Here’s a newbie stacking and here’s Melissa. The point is not that Ellen is bad. The point is that people like Melissa have
gotten so, so good they can do it all on autopilot. And then when they really try? But at the same time, stacking is not just
raw talent, or even practice alone. The best stackers have to develop highly advanced
tactics. When you become a speed stacking pro, you
need to optimize for the milliseconds. Like Zhewei Wu does. “I started stacking when I was in 6th grade,
so I was 12 at that time, and I was introduced in PE class, and we’ve
been practicing since then.” That means breaking down the quirks of the
timer, cups, and different competition
formats to get record-breaking times. This is a stacking mat and timer. It starts when your hands leave the timer
and stops when they return. In that space in between, there’s room for
tactics to shave off crucial fractions of a second. “Most recently it’s the way that people
start the timer. So in the past people put their hands
on the timer flat, like this. But now people will cup their hands around
the cup and they have their hands on the timer like this. It’s not the conventional way to do it,
but doing so enhances the time it takes for you to get on the first cup. And having just those little differences
makes a huge difference on your time.” Playing to the timer is crucial. Here’s Melissa completing an amazing cycle,
but because the stack falls after she hits the timer too hard—
“6.17 – scratch.” — it’s what’s called “a scratch.” The time doesn’t count. You have to be sure you don’t miss the timer,
too. “When that happened to me,
I touched the timer and started celebrating, and just going back to my friends, but the
timer never stopped. That took another 2.1 seconds added to my
time, otherwise it would have been my fastest time ever.” To top stackers, the right cups are just as
important. You can see that on the pro cups, the holes
in the top are wider than the ones on my cups. That allows more air to get through. Different stackers like different cups (these
are just a few of the sets Zhewei’s owned). “These inks, you can really feel them.” And that knowledge, along with different grip
styles and all sorts of other adjustments, gets used in all different events. It even works in the truly mesmerizing doubles
event. “I’ll take that.” Because this sport is for a YouTube generation,
new strategies travel almost instantly. That keeps the competition really fierce. That’s led to blazingly fast — and close
— world record times, as well as some growing pains for the sport. Stacking started in a California Boys and
Girls Club in the early 80s. This is patent number 4,586,709, for the original
cup holding device. But kids and PE teachers embraced it far beyond
Oceanside, California. “You get a wide range. You get some kids who really really enjoy
it and they enjoy the competitive side of it. Some kids like the idea that you don’t have
to compete at it. They’ll build pyramids, they’ll build
towers, they’ll try to stack the cups and balance them in different ways. So it really brings in so many things other
than the stacking just as a sport.” The sport quickly professionalized, both as a business
and in the intensity of the competitions. This is the patent for that stack mat, which
is sold to stackers and, yes, speed Rubik’s cube competitors. Naturally, there’s a lot of other merch
you can buy as well. Because speed stacking is a pretty young sport,
the sport and the brand are kind of inseparable. Here’s the address for the people who make
speed stack cups. And here’s the address for the World Sports
Stacking Association, which runs the competitions. You get the idea. That may be a problem, it may not, as the
sport tries to mature. But those business concerns don’t really
affect why people stack. “I think for every stacker it’s different,
what attracts them. I have always been involved in sports. I’m very competitive. When I’m stacking the cups, I’m listening
for little things that make me feel good, like the rhythm, the sound. Sometimes you’ll get a really good time,
but you don’t feel like the stack was clean, for me, that’s what pulls me in.” “I want to better myself. I like seeing improvement in what you do.” And that drive, that’s always there: when the
stacks are loud and the crowds are rapt, but it’s also there
in dorm rooms and bed rooms, and
in the quiet moments in basements, too. So, after an embarrassing number of attempts,
I was able to get my 3-6-3 just under 5.3 seconds. So you have some context as to how old and
slow I am, the world record for that event is 1.786 seconds.

100 Replies to “The incredible sport of cup stacking, explained”

  1. There should be a word for something like this. It's just stacking cups and people take it seriously and make a big deal about it… Like it's so oddly specific. Something so simple in concept and treating it like it's something more than that. What if someone's good at bending spoons and for some reason people are interesting and make a sport of it. It's just odd.

  2. You call THIS a sport!? And people think Marching Band isn't a sport!? People need to get their definition of a sport right!!

  3. Dobrá partia dobrá atmosféra príjemný ŕ na rehabilitácie injekcie na slovensku. A este si vonku sa máš? ja celkom ale to vsetko co ú. Super video, urobiť tam Maros to je v robote ja budem tam Maros alebo jednoducho keď sa to už ú alebo jednoducho skúste najobľúbenejšie dámske oblečenie a ešte aj v prípade že sa to mohlo stať partnerom? S pozdravom váš obsah fóra tím, a to už je v poriadku. mega k nám na

  4. Kayaknya Amerika kehabisan olahraga wkwkwk…
    In Indonesia have a martial arts (pencak silat), wood hand-foot ball (sepak takraw), fighthand (panco), carrom ball (karambol), Domino (gaple), and chest Javanese (catur jawa)… Visit Indonesia is actually wonderful world bali

  5. I remember when these came out as a game when I was like 11 or 12 and I begged my parents to get me the game…. they said no😔😔

  6. But why you would have cups with holes in them? They arent cups anymore then. You cant drink from cup that has holes in it.

  7. You didn't include an important thing , to me the whole video is just normal talking without it .
    Which is : why is stacking a sport ?
    Maybe it's a game of dexterity and speed
    Mind sport ?

  8. I enjoyed this video, but could care less about cup stacking. I am not even sure how this even constitutes being a sport. Is tying shoelaces the fastest a sport? But I digress. If you enjoy it good for you.

  9. At 4:10, the cubing part of my brain kept saying "+2 for not having palms face down, and another +2 for touching the puzzle while starting the solve."

  10. Completely pointless and contributing to CLIMATE CHANGE OR GLOBAL WARMING FOR PEOPLES OWN NEED FOR INSTANT GRATIFICATION OR SELF CONGRATULATED BACK PATS. The cups are made from oils. Try doing things that help the planet and not RAPING NATURAL RESOURCES. The end.

  11. I feel like this would get boring over practice just doing the same thing in the same way every time

    I’m just gonna stick to speed cubing

  12. What afckn useless talent…. Something u well never ever use in life… I admit it is kinda cool… But I don't see the point… Come on people, do anything else…table tennis, Rubik's cube, anything is better then this lame talent..

  13. Just like Ian Malcolm said it best, "just because you could, doesn't mean you should". Spend the hundreds hours wasted stacking cups on something actually productive.

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