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What is an Erne in Pickleball? – A Thorough Dissection 

What is an Erne in Pickleball
Written by Alex

Erne is by far one of the most advanced forms of maneuver which when timed correctly can turn the tables in the most effective way imaginable.

However, due to it being excessively harder to pull you wouldn’t see even the most professional Pickleball player utilize it which is why there is so little esoteric information about it.

On the flip side, regarding the skill requirement, I wouldn’t be surprised since the strategy itself is named after the legendary player Erne Perry who is known for performing unimaginable feats and has delivered tons of contributions to the sport itself.

To maintain his legacy, I would be shedding some on “What Is An Erne In Pickleball and how you should utilize it to your advantage, the “legal” way.

What Exactly Is An Erne In Pickleball?

Popularized in the early 2000s, pulling an Erne implies when you are able to hit the ball before it lands on your side of the court by carefully maneuvering across the Non-Volley zone or Kitchen. It requires tons of coordination and reaction, as even the slightest mistake could result in a fault and an easy point for the opposing team.

In general, there are three legal ways to pull an Erne, here is how it’s done,

1. Across the Kitchen

This is the most common and effective form of Erne because you are clearly arent required to jump through hoops in order to pull it. However, you just need to make sure you make your way across the kitchen before hitting the ball.

In this form of Erne, players are required to run directly over the kitchen and stand at the edge of the Non-Volley Zone all while hitting the ball in mid-air. 

Make sure your feet are clearly off the lines of the kitchen, as even the tip of the soles might result in fault or penalty, so agility is the key to such a successful form of maneuver.

2. Around the Kitchen

This is considered one of the safest ways to pull an Erne because there are minimal chances of errors, all you have to do is move around the Kitchen zone and stand at the thigh of the court while hitting the ball in mid-air, it’s just that simple. 

The advantage of this form of maneuver is that even if you fail to reach the edge of the kitchen in time, you could simply cancel the maneuver and swap in for a standard shot.

The best part about this maneuver is that you clearly attain a sense of unpredictability since you could easily bamboozle your opponent by confusing them by canceling your shot mid-way.

3. Over the Kitchen

If you feel like you have the grit to pull off something like this, then pat yourself on the back because you have made it to the advanced tier since this maneuver is clearly made for those players who know what they are doing.

Nevertheless, if you are highly athletic, you could simply jump over the kitchen zone and hit your shot mid-way, however, make sure you time this properly, since if your feet aren’t cleared off the kitchen it wouldn’t be counted as legal erne.

Benefits Of Erne Maneuver

It’s a high-risk, high-reward maneuver allowing players to attain a handful of game-changing benefits such as,

1. Raising the Bar

A well-timed erne could level the playing field or even raise the bar altogether as you can seamlessly switch to hardcore or aggressive playstyle in a matter of seconds and dominate the court with a quick and robust splice in the mid-air.

Switching to aggressive on the fly will undoubtedly provide some quick points, however, the catch here is that if you aren’t vigilant it could backfire easily.

2. Surprise Factor

The look on your opponent’s face when you surprise them with a snappy mid-air execution is always priceless since Erne itself is expected the least even in competitive sports.

However, it only works if you have created a total sense of unpredictability in the court and combined the element of surprise with agility.

3. Exploiting the Opponent

Erne shots are an absolute Godsend against players with weaker reflexes or instincts, if you see a player struggling to pull a counter backhand or is simply fatigued with poor footwork, a snappy shot right across their feet would give them a run for their money.

Perform an Erne every now and then in variable spots and you could be easily leading your team to a glorious victory.

4. Breaking the Rhythm 

If you notice that you are clearly at a disadvantage or your pattern of playstyle has been detected by your opponent, an Erne could feel like a breath of fresh air since it easily allows you to change the dynamics of the game and could be termed as a top tier ace up your sleeve.

When To Avoid an Erne?

An Erne could be a bad idea and can backfire in numerous ways such as, 

1. In The Lead 

There is no need to double down on your opponent if you are already dominating the court and find yourself in the lead by miles since overconfidence could certainly break your streak and shatter your route to a certain victory.

2. Low Skill Set Phase

Every now and then we watch videos and spectate different matches and try to learn a thing or two which is a commendable trait if you want to become adept according to the learning curve.

However, keep in mind Erne shots are considered the “top of the food chain” so if you haven’t “learned the ropes” it’s best that you steer clear of such a maneuver altogether.

Performing an erne also implies that you know the court Kitchen Zone like the back of your hand since it heavily depends on your speed and footwork agility.

Read Here: Stacking in Pickleball?

Bottom Line

Pickleball is a sport that requires determination, sheer focus, and commitment and that is only possible if you practice what you learn on the court with your mentor or simply spectating others.

While, some of these maneuvers and strategies might look like a walk in the park, when executed without prior knowledge or experience, it could backfire swiftly which will not only make you lose a couple of points but also put you in an embarrassing spot.

Nevertheless, I hope this guide has provided insight into “What is An Erne In Pickleball” and how it has helped you become better on the court.

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

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