What Is An Erne? The Spectacle of Pickleball

We've all wanted to volley over the kitchen, but logic prevails, thankfully. But what if there was a way to skirt around the rules a bit? If you're asking these questions, your first question should be "What is an Erne?"

An Erne in pickleball is an aggressive shot played from the air over the non-volley zone (kitchen). This daring move is executed when a player jumps outside the court, strikes the ball mid-air, and lands outside the kitchen.

In other words, ninja move of pickleball. This sneaky shot is pulled off outside the non-volley (kitchen) zone, in the out-of-bounds area on either side of the court, near the net. Only the most skilled players can master this advanced move, as it demands precise timing and strategy. Its power-packed punch and proximity to the net make it a volley that nearly always wins a rally.

Understanding the nuances of the Erne shot in pickleball isn't merely about adding another flashy move to your repertoire. No, it's about becoming a more rounded player, capable of turning the tide in high-stakes situations. In this comprehensive guide, we're going to walk you through everything you need to know about one of the coolest shots in the game - the Erne. Let's begin with a 20-second history lesson.

Why Is It Called An Erne?

The Erne is a pickleball shot named after Erne Perry, a professional player known for his exceptional skill in executing this bold move. His proficiency in performing this shot led to its christening as the Erne shot.

Erne Perry, a pro pickleball player, popularized the shot during the 2010 USAPA National Pickleball Tournament in Buckeye, Arizona. Although Erne Perry wasn't the inventor of this shot, he was the one who brought it to the forefront of competitive play, leading to the naming of the shot after him.

The Erne Shot Explained

This shot, while thrilling to watch and potentially game-changing, can often leave even seasoned players frustrated. It's not just about the leap from the non-volley zone or the arc of the paddle; it's about timing, precision, and a certain daring.

However, as with many aspects of pickleball, the Erne doesn't have to be an intimidating move. Picture this - you're in the middle of a heated game, you see an opportunity, and with a well-placed split step and a swift paddle swing, you nail the Erne, stunning your opponent and leaving spectators in awe.

Embracing the sport's complexity, an Erne requires a blend of finesse and power, and enhancing your skills to match. Furthermore, the Erne can be a testament to your dedication, your willingness to push boundaries, and your undying passion for pickleball.

With the right guidance, practice, and a high-quality Paddletek paddle in hand, mastering the Erne is well within your reach.

What Does An Erne Look Like?

An Erne in pickleball is visually striking, characterized by the player either jumping over the corner of the non-volley zone or running through the zone and establishing both feet outside the sidelines before hitting the volley.

The player must make contact with the ball on their side of the net, without touching any part of the net or the net post. When executed correctly, the Erne is nearly impossible to defend against, often catching opponents off guard and scoring points.

 Christian Alshon, Top Pickleball Pro - Bantam TKO-C

The Bert and Erne in Pickleball

You can't have an Erne without a Bert, and pickleball respects the universal rules of Sesame Street, apparently. Both terms refer to two advanced shots, typically used in highly competitive play as the skill level to pull them off is quite high. While the Erne, as mentioned earlier, is a surprise shot executed from outside the kitchen, the Bert is a similar shot but with an added level of complexity.

What Is A Bert in Pickleball?

A Bert shot is the same as an Erne but involves the player taking the shot from their teammate's side of the court rather than their own. This surprise shot, also known as a poached shot, requires precise timing, skill, and coordination between partners.

It's essential to communicate with your partner and ensure they're aware of your intentions, as the Bert shot can leave both players out of position if not executed successfully.

But back to the shot at hand - the Erne - how do you perform it correctly?

Setting Up and Executing the Erne

To successfully execute the Erne, players must consider several factors, including patience, quickness, agility, anticipation, and the ability to recognize opponents' shot patterns.

The Setup

The key to setting up an Erne lies in baiting the opponent into hitting a shot near the sideline. This can be achieved by hitting a series of dinks toward the opponent's sideline, forcing them to hit a straight-ahead dink in return. As soon as the opponent makes contact with the ball, the player can swiftly move to the out-of-bounds area, establish their feet outside the kitchen, and hit the surprise volley.

Timing and Anticipation

Timing is crucial when executing an Erne, as the player must begin their movement just as the opponent is about to hit the ball. Anticipation is also essential, as the player must be ready to pounce when the opportunity arises. Recognizing opponents' shot patterns and lulling them into a false sense of security is a vital part of this advanced strategy.

Legal Aspects of the Erne Shot

The Erne shot is considered legal in pickleball because it adheres to the non-volley zone rules, which state that all volleys must be initiated from outside the non-volley zone or the NVZ line. As long as the player establishes both feet outside the sidelines before hitting the volley and doesn't touch any part of the net or the net post, the shot is deemed legal.

Defending Against the Erne

While the element of surprise is a significant factor in Erne's effectiveness, players can still defend against this shot by recognizing the setup and adjusting their strategy accordingly. Some defensive options include hitting a cross-court dink, a low and short shot into the kitchen, or a well-placed lob.

The Impact of the Erne on Pickleball

The introduction of the Erne shot has undoubtedly added an exciting dimension to the game of pickleball. Not only does it serve as a powerful offensive weapon, but it also keeps opponents on their toes, forcing them to adapt their strategies and anticipate the unexpected. It's no wonder then that the Erne has become a popular and captivating aspect of this rapidly growing sport.

Master the Fundamentals First

The Erne shot has undoubtedly made a lasting impact on the game of pickleball, providing players with a new and exhilarating way to score points and keep their opponents guessing. By mastering this advanced shot, players can elevate their game and gain a competitive edge. But, the truth is, you need a strong fundamental game first and foremost.

So if you're new to the sport of pickleball, begin with the basics. As you get everything sorted there, that's when you can start to explore more advanced shots like the Erne.

Wherever you're at skill-wise, be sure to grab your Paddletek paddle, hit the court, and start practicing your Erne shots in earnest! With dedication and practice, you might just become the next pickleball sensation.