Mortimer, J. Krysztofiak, S. Custard, and A. J. McKune (2011)
Physical educators are constantly searching for new methods of promoting psychomotor skill (basic movement proficiency) and cognitive function. Psychomotor skill consists of gross and fine motor skills and is developed throughout childhood (Swartz, de la Rey, & Duncan, 2004; Udermann, Murray, Mayer, & Sagendorf, 2004; Udermann & Murray, 2006). Cognitive function involves awareness, perception, and comprehension, including the abilities to think, rationalize, and remember (Uhrich, 2005).
Sport stacking participants work with 12 specialized cups, using both hands to make a pyramid (“up stacking”) and then returning the cups into stacks (“down stacking”). This must be done in predetermined sequences (Hart, et al., 2005). Once basic competency has been achieved, speed and increased difficulty or complexity of stacking become the main emphasis. The leading manufacturer of the specialized polymer cups (Speed Stacks) claims that sport stacking has an effect on cognitive factors (Udermann & Murray, 2006). Further claims suggest that sport stacking helps with the development of basic motor proficiency in that practice promotes hand-eye coordination, reaction time, ambidexterity, quickness, and concentration (Speed Stacks, 2005; Udermann & Murray, 2006).
In a landmark study, Udermann et al. (2004) investigated the effect of a 5-week sport stacking intervention program on hand-eye coordination and reaction time in 42 students. Analysis supported the use of sport stacking to improve hand-eye coordination and reaction time. In 2006, Rhea, Ludwig, and Mokha found that a 5-week sport stacking intervention positively affected right- and left-side coordination of learners. A 12-week daily sport stacking intervention (15 min. per day) significantly improved reaction time over that of a control group (Liggins, Coleman, Solis, & Li, 2007).
The results show that sport stacking affects specific auditory and visual attention global scales or subscales without affecting others. Sport stacking improved the participants’ ability to stay on a task (consistency), to remember and follow rules under high demand (steadiness), to reduce impulsivity (prudence), and to control fine motor activity.