Ready, set, stack! Introducing sport stacking

It’s arguably the fastest table sport in Singapore, an amazing activity to watch, and even more amazing is the fact that its relatively unknown in our shores. One man has been working on making it popular here, and we tell you why this will catch on faster than the yo-yo fad.

Allan Ong is on a mission. The former engineer decided to dedicate his career to promoting a highly accesible — yet largely underexposed — sport that frequently sees Guinness World Records entries and is a visual spectacle at any level.

And technically, all you need are a set of plastic cups.

But not just any old plastic cups. Sport stacking (also known as cup stacking or speed stacking) requires the use of specially designed cups that maximises handling, durability and speed. It’s extremely competitive, too. The World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) decided to change its name from cup stacking to “sport stacking” to better reflect its status as a competitive activity.

Allan is the managing director for WSSA’s Singapore chapter, after being introduced to the sport and the organisation back in 2010. Since then, he has brought his cups to community centres, country clubs, schools and even churches, not only to introduce the activity as a sport, but also as an icebreaker for social groups and teambuilding.

“Sport stacking is easy to learn. It can be done by any age group, (any size, any gender, and) any ability level,” says Allan. “It’s not like other athletic sports like basketball or rugby; your parents don’t have to give birth to you with a tall figure (in order for you to do well in sport stacking). All you need is practice, and you’ll do well.”

Indeed, given a couple of minutes of basic training, kids as young as 3 years old to seniors aged 70 and more will find it an extremely easy skill to pick up, and very addictive, too. But there is a good reason why it is being termed a “sport”, and it’s evident just from the demo video we took of Allan presenting the various competition categories on a makeshift table.

Allan is by no means fast. At competition level, Singapore’s representative sport stackers can hold times as quick as 2 seconds flat for a 3-3-3 (3 sets of 3 cups configuration) event, or 2.55 seconds for a 3-6-3 category. As Allan says, you just need to put in the hours, and you will do well.

Allan also describes a studying approach called “Stackademics”, where “a lot of kids use (sport stacking) as a way to de-stress. It provides an avenue for a kid to use both hands actively in 10-15 minute breaks… that stimulates both the left and right brain and helps students absorb school material better.” In fact, Stackademics is a well-research approach that improves students’ momentum both in academic and co-curricular activities.

But more than that, sport stacking is a near-instantaneous training exercise for hand-eye co-ordination, ambidexterity (active use of both hands), and in team relay setups, co-operation. And because it’s so easy to pick up, it is even being touted as a co-operative family activity for parents, children and grandparents, too; Allan has been in talks with community clubs,  residents’ committees and the Dads for Life movement to organise sport stacking activities for families and senior citizens, and is even trying to include it as a co-curricular option for schools.

If you’re interested to learn more and for your child — or yourself — to try it out, Allan is holding a “Night Stacking Workshop” at JayJayJolly on the evening of 22 September 2012.

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About Winston Tay
Our staff aims to Discover and review family friendly activities and places that never bores kids.