What is an Erne in Pickleball? PickleballMate

Do you know about a shot used on pickleball courts named the “Erne”? Often, while witnessing professionals or more skilled pickleball players fight back and forth, you’ll notice one or more shots that leave you scratching your head. Erne in pickleball is a wonderful example of this. But, what is an Erne in pickleball? How do you execute an Erne shot pickleball? What is the Erne definition? Also Read: Best Pickleball Paddles

It is true that every modern or developing game will surely have a player with a creative mindset to introduce a game-changing shot, method, or approach. But do you know? Each player keeps on improving their Erne shot strategy further than just back-and-forth dinking or precise third-shot drops for winning the game. The same goes for you. Practice is the key to nailing a great erne shot! However, first, it’s important to grasp what an Erne is in pickleball. In this article, we’ll demonstrate and explain how to set up and hit the Erne in pickleball. Also Check: Best Pickleball Shoes

So, let’s jump in:

What is the Erne in Pickleball?

Let us begin by understanding the erne definition that, during pickleball, an Erne shot is a surprise legal volley that is hit directly from outside the non-volley zone. An erne takes place when a player exits the court’s center area, passes over to the opposing sideline (toward the right or left), and advances until they are aligned to the kitchen zone. Being near the net often produces a downward stroke of the ball resulting in a successful shot.  Also Have a Look: Best Pickleball Machine

Regardless of starting from the NVZ line, the shot is difficult and needs specific preparation, time, and mobility to be successful. The Erne is generally used in return when a player directly across from them makes a dink to the sideline of a rival.

How was the Erne Shot named?

You all might know Pickle Ball was named after Joan Pritchard introduced the name in honor of the crew competitions’ “pickle boat,” which was made up of discarded non-starters. But, How did the name Erne have its emergence? 

The Erne shot or let’s just say the term Erne – was introduced by Jeff shank, a videographer, during the 2010 USAPA National Pickleball Tournament taking place in Buckeye, Arizona. He came across this name upon observing Erne perry, who participated in the competition. Erne Perry was using this approach for dominating rallies. Even though Erne Perry did not “create” the technique, he is credited with popularizing it in the pickleball tournament. The reason that the shot is named after a real person further explains why we write it “Erne” rather than “Ernie.”

How to set up an Erne:

It appears that hitting an Erne demands fair amounts of patience, speed, mobility, prediction, and the skill to detect your competitors’ shot habits. The key to establishing an Erne is to persuade your competitor to keep dropping the ball nearer to the sideline. 

In other words, to properly execute an Erne, you must trick your competitor into playing a linear smash close to the boundary. This will permit you to extend into the court of the game and strike the volley while not entering the non-volley zone. The timing of hitting the erne shot is essential, which is why it is quite a difficult shot. If you believe they will hit it sooner, it is time to execute your attack. 

Keep in mind that if you are in the kitchen zone, you must leave before they contact the ball so you get the choice to position your feet outside of the kitchen line. Also, they might try to hit the ball elsewhere if they see you move there for the position. So, make doubly sure your companion is positioned to fill in for you if the Erne fails.

How to hit an erne in pickleball:

In pickleball games, the Erne shot is among the most entertaining and challenging. The Erne adds on the stress on your competitors to execute a great shot. Not only that, it could as well lead to careless faults, if they raise their heads to glance at you sprinting or hopping across the pickleball court instead of concentrating on the pickleball. You can make an Erne in either of 2 manners: either by racing through the non-volley zone and afterward setting both feet outside it prior to striking the volley. Secondly by leaping over the edge of the non-volley zone and striking the ball when it is still in the air. Let me elaborate a little bit so you can easily understand how to hit an erne in pickleball: 

  1. The objective is to get your competitors to serve the pickleball near the corner that you like to Erne upon, so be decisive and prepare beforehand. 
  2. This probably can take place once your competitors let the pickleball go past them around the kitchen line close to the targeted corner.
  3. Hold back before moving to the place on the sideline outside the kitchen zone, till your player strikes or is likely to hit the pickleball.
  4. Jump or move across the kitchen corner to end up entirely outside the court, then quickly strike the ball back towards your rival’s feet. When you leaped the kitchen or went across it you are simply required to set one foot on the floor to make an impact. Remember that in order to set up and revive your feet beyond the kitchen zone, you’ll need to hop over the Kitchen or extend your rear foot if you’re sprinting over it.

Pickleball terms: Few basic terminologies you should know:

Are you just getting started with pickleball or are you researching the sport?  In any case, there are numerous terminologies that can confuse you in a pickleball game. These pickleball terms are frequently used by participants or stated in rules. A few of the terminology used in pickleball are listed below:

  • Ace: A serve so exceptional that the competitor is unable to return it, ending in a winning round.
  • Rally: A period of uninterrupted play that follows a serve but prior to a fault.
  • Backhand: A move in which the player hits the ball with their dominant forehand on the opposing side.
  • Dink shot: A type of soft shot is called a “dink shot” that is meant to go over the pickleball netting and fall in the non-volley area.
  • Dead shot: A type of groundstroke that is meant to fall at a considerable distance from the opponent.
  • Non-Volley Zone: It is commonly referred to as “The Kitchen”. This is the area of the court nearest to the net. When positioned inside the non-volley zone, a player is not permitted to volley a ball. It covers any line encircling the zone. 
  • Volley: Throughout the rally, hitting the pickleball ball up in the air whenever it receives a possibility to drop onto the court.
  • Double: A pickleball match involving four players.

Advantages of an Erne:

Every volley, including all ernes, is important to be played without coming in the non-volley zone. Pickleball players at the highest level may dink endlessly and generally hit whatever shot they like whenever they please. They do make mistakes, but they are quite infrequent as they practice more than any beginner. In addition to being interesting and amazing to see, the Erne has some advantages. Let’s dig in and see are few of the advantages of Erne: 

  • The competitor is taken by surprise: Players may not spot your move to the sidelines (particularly if you did it swiftly) as they often do not scan the sides for their rivals.
  • Returning the shot is challenging: The Erne shot must land directly at the opponent’s foot or just past them. If you hit it correctly, your competitor will probably pause for a little while and will unlikely to recoup in time to revert back shot.
  • Saved by the bell: In a double game, if you try to perform an Erne but miss your timing, or your rival notices you attempting it they may strive to target their stroke in the contrary direction. If your companion is conscious that you often attempt an Erne, they will be prepared to retake the position you left and complete the volley.


In short, the Erne in pickleball is a terrific shot and approach that can add a touch of unexpected shots to your game. But don’t forget, there are definitely other abilities, tactics, and approaches that you need to acquire beforehand. With this article’s clarification of the Erne shot, you should be properly ready to deal with it on your own. Have you previously scored a point by hitting an Erne? Or perhaps you have faced a capable Erne shot in a pickleball game? Leave a comment about your experience below!

Frequently ask questions:

  • Can anyone play the pickleball game?

Ans: Yes! A Pickleball game can be played by everyone. This game doesn’t see the age, level, skill, or size of a person. Pickleball is highly dependent on skill and technique rather than on quickness and stamina.

  • Is it legal to hit an Erne shot based on pickleball rules?

Ans: According to pickleball regulations, every volley should be started beyond the non-volley zone. Remember that the non-volley zone is just the two-dimensional portion of the field that is enclosed by the non-volley boundary and the two corners. Hence, it is acceptable for a player to have a position near the net in order to strike the ball that is still in the air.

  • What should we avoid doing when hitting an erne shot?

Ans: Yes, firstly keep in mind, that it is incorrect to strike the ball before passing the line of the net. Also, when the ball is in the air, you are not permitted to contact any aspect of the net arrangement, the rival’s court, or the rival.

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