What Is An Erne In Pickleball?

Pickleball, a fun and energetic sport played on a court with a net, has various techniques and strategies. One such intriguing technique is the Erne. This shot, pronounced “ern-ie,” often surprises both players and spectators with its unique execution.

In pickleball, like tennis and ping pong, players show off cool moves. One of these is called the Erne. Imagine a player quickly moving sideways near the court’s edge to hit the ball. It’s an amazing move to watch and often surprises everyone. This special move, the Erne, is both rare and very clever.

When you watch very good pickleball players play, sometimes they hit a shot that surprises you. This special shot is called an Erne (sounds like “ern-ie”). Today, we’ll talk about the Erne: what it is, where the name comes from, how to do it, and why it’s useful.

Let’s started!

An Erne In Pickleball

An Erne In Pickleball

In pickleball, there’s a special move called the Erne. Imagine this: instead of staying in the middle of the court, a player quickly moves to the side and stands close to the net but outside a special area called the NVZ (non-volley zone). They then hit the ball while it’s still in the air and close to the net. Think of it like this: In table tennis, it’s like you’re leaning over the net to hit the ball on the other side. It’s super tricky for your opponent to hit it back. To help you see it better, think of a player standing near the kitchen line.

Suddenly, they move sideways, avoiding stepping into the kitchen, and quickly hit the ball. It’s a surprise move that can catch the other player off guard. If you’re more of a visual person, there’s a video by Prime Time Pickleball that shows this move in action. In one part, the player starts at the kitchen line, then quickly moves to the side to make the shot, keeping outside the kitchen area. You can check out the full video to learn more about setting up the Erne in pickleball.

Why Is It Called The Erne?

The Erne shot got its name from a man named Jeff Shank. He saw Erne Perry use this move a lot in a big pickleball tournament in 2010. Even though Perry didn’t create the move, he used it really well and made it famous in matches. So, people started calling it the “Erne” after him.

Steps To Set Up An Erne In Pickleball:

Steps To Set Up An Erne In Pickleball:
  1. Positioning the Opponent: Encourage your opponent to keep hitting the ball closer to the sideline, making it hard for them to return it any other way or deeper into your side of the court.
  2. Being Prepared: Stand near the sideline, ready to either hop or quickly move outside of the kitchen zone.
  3. Anticipate the Shot: Start moving before your opponent strikes the ball. This is a crucial step as it ensures you’re in the right position for the Erne.
  4. Timing is Key: The challenge lies in predicting and encouraging your opponent to hit the ball where you want. You must be confident enough to move before they hit it.
  5. Keep Your Intentions Hidden: If your opponent notices your setup, they might change their shot. So, maintain a deceptive approach.
  6. Practice Makes Perfect: Work with a partner on dink shots down the kitchen line. Aim at angles that limit your partner’s options, forcing them to play into the kitchen corner.
  7. Test the Erne: Once comfortable with the setup, try executing the Erne during practice games to refine your technique.

Benefits Of An Erne In Pickleball:

  • Catches Opponents Off Guard: Players usually don’t expect an opponent to position themselves on the sidelines, making the move a surprise element.
  • Challenging to Return: A well-executed Erne can place the ball past the opponent or right at their feet, often causing them to hesitate and struggle with the return.
  • Team Strategy in Doubles: In doubles play, if the Erne doesn’t work out as planned, a vigilant partner can cover the court area you’ve vacated, ensuring the rally continues smoothly.

Why Is The Erne Legal In Pickleball?

In pickleball, there are rules about where you can hit the ball. The kitchen rules say you can’t hit the ball out of the air if you’re standing in a specific area. But, here’s the trick with the Erne – if you’re standing on the sideline, those rules don’t count. So, the Erne becomes legal!

Another thing is, you can’t reach over the net and hit the ball before it comes to your side. You have to wait until it’s on your side. The Erne works because you hit the ball right after it crosses the net, making it a bit surprising for your opponent.

Famous Instances And Players

Famous Instances And Players

Over the years, numerous players have gained recognition for their mastery of the “Erne.” Their ability to consistently execute this challenging maneuver in high-pressure situations has left spectators and opponents alike in awe. Their names have become synonymous with the “Erne,” underscoring its importance in the modern game.


Can you step in the kitchen before an ernie?

The other way to do an Erne is by moving across the kitchen area. When you do this, it’s important to have both feet on the ground before hitting the ball. This makes sure your Erne move is allowed in the game.

What is a Bert and Ernie in pickleball?

Now that we understand what an Erne in pickleball is, let’s talk about a Bert. A Bert is like an Erne but a bit trickier. Instead of doing it from your own side, you do it from your teammate’s side. It’s a more advanced move.

Is the around the post shot legal in pickleball?

When the ball goes around the post and lands in the opponent’s court without touching the net, it’s allowed and not considered a mistake.

What is the two shot rule in pickleball?

In simple terms, the “Two-Bounce Rule” in pickleball tournaments means that both teams must let the ball bounce once before hitting it back. First, the receiving team lets it bounce, and then the serving team also lets it bounce before playing.

Final Thoughts

What Is An Erne In Pickleball? The Erne in pickleball, with its intriguing name and captivating execution, encapsulates the essence of the sport’s creativity and strategy. It’s more than just a move; it’s a testament to a player’s anticipation, agility, and ability to think outside the box. As the pickleball community continues to evolve and innovate, the Erne stands as a reminder of the game’s dynamic nature, offering both challenges and opportunities for those willing to master its intricacies.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or a curious spectator, witnessing the Erne in action is sure to leave an indelible impression, highlighting the endless possibilities that make pickleball a truly unique and exhilarating sport.

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