What is an Erne in Pickleball?

Last Updated on July 9, 2023

During an Erne shot, the pickleball is hit over the net into the opposing team’s court while standing parallel to the left or right sidelines of the Non-volley zone, also called the kitchen.

Erne is played in two ways: Running through the kitchen or jumping over it and hitting the ball.

It’s an advanced shot that requires precise timing, quick movement, and a particular setup, even when executed beginning from the Non-volley Zone, also known as the kitchen line.

Do you know about this amazing short in Pickleball?

Why is it called an Erne in Pickleball?

An Erne is named after Erne Perry, who invented this short in the 2010 nationals held in Sun City Festival, Arizona. Jeff Shank, a champion pickleball player from Florida, first named it.

Image of Erne Perry Inventor of Erne shot in Pickleball

How To Setup and Hit a Successful Erne?

When playing pickleball, the best position to perform the Erne is facing the opponent directly. To prepare for the move, hit a shot close to the line, making it hard for the opponent to hit the ball cross-court.

You want them to hit the ball back down the line to you, so you can reach it while standing outside the kitchen.

Be ready to move when you think they will hit the ball down the line. Leave before they hit the ball, so you have time to position your feet outside the kitchen if you went through it.

If you went around the kitchen or jumped over it, you only need one foot down when you hit the ball.

Ensure your momentum doesn’t cause you to fall back into the kitchen. If that happens, it’s a fault, and you will lose the point.

The Erne is allowed because you are standing outside the kitchen area. Before hitting the ball, make sure both feet are outside the sideline.

Note: You cannot hit the ball before it crosses the net to your side.

It’s a surprise to your opponent when you move to the side of the court to do the Erne. It’s an aggressive move and can earn you a point if done correctly.

Benefits of an Erne?

The benefits of playing an Erne in pickleball include:


An Erne can be a powerful offensive shot that can surprise the opponent and score a point.


Hitting an Erne can give you a better court position and control over the game.


An Erne gives you more control over the direction and pace of the ball, making it harder for the opponent to return the shot.

Confidence boost

Successfully executing an Erne can increase your confidence and make you a more aggressive player.

How can you Improve your Erne shot in Pickleball?

  • It is important to have good timing and footwork to hit a successful Ernie shot in pickleball.
  • Practice with a partner by rallying down the line and timing the ball to hit the Ernie shot.
  • Focus on the timing of the shot, making the move right before the opponent hits the ball.
  • Take turns practicing with your partner to keep the rally going.
  • The main setup for the Ernie shot is to anticipate the opponent’s down the line shot.
  • Attempt the Ernie shot when your opponent is forced to hit down the line due to a tough angle dink.
  • The goal is to anticipate the opponent’s shot near the line so that you can pick it off on the side.
  • You can use drill scenarios to practice footwork and timing in anticipation of the opponent’s down-the-line shot.

When to Erne in Pickleball?

The Erne shot in pickleball is typically executed when your opponent hits a shot down the line. This allows you to position yourself outside the kitchen and play the ball.

Timing is crucial for this shot as you want to make contact with the ball just as it comes to your side of the net.

It’s essential to be patient and wait for the right moment to make the shot rather than force it.

Additionally, setting up your opponent by dinking back and forth with them is a good idea. Wait for them to put their heads down before making your move.

How Do you Hit an Erne?

The Erne shot in pickleball is usually initiated from a position just behind the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) line. One player will wait for their opponent to lower their head and hit a shot over the net.

At that moment, they will jump across the NVZ corner with both feet landing outside the court and not touching the sideline. They will make contact with the ball on their side of the net while in the air, hitting it down or into the opponent’s body.

The Erne can also be played by running through the Non-Volley Zone and hitting the ball close to the net after establishing a position outside the court.

How Do you Hit an Erne?

What are Other Rules to Consider when Hitting an Erne?

When hitting an Erne shot in pickleball, there are some key rules to avoid mistakes and ensure the shot is executed properly.

  • Both feet must leave the kitchen line before contact with the ball.
  • The player must contact the ball on the side of the net. He cannot reach over and hit the ball before it crosses the net onto their side.
  • The player’s momentum when hitting the shot cannot lead to falling back into the kitchen.
  • Erne must be executed within the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ), and players cannot touch the NVZ line or the sideline with either foot.
  • For a winner, the ball must be hit downward, either sharp and fast or into the opponent’s body.

These rules will help ensure the Erne shot is executed properly and avoid mistakes.

How do you defend against an Erne?

Defending against an Erne in pickleball requires strategy and technique.


Anticipate when an opponent tries to execute an Erne and be ready to react. Pay attention to their positioning and the trajectory of their shots to predict when they might try to make a move.


Proper communication with your partner can help you defend against Erne. Alert your partner to the possibility of an Erne and coordinate your defensive efforts.


Quick and agile footwork can help you defend against an Erne. Be ready to move quickly to the side, and be prepared to stretch or lunge to reach the ball if necessary.

Tip: Improve your Footwork with these exercises

Focus on the Ball

Watch the ball and react when it comes over the net. The more you can track the ball, the better your chances of defending against an Erne.

Good Positioning

Position yourself in a way that makes it difficult for your opponent to execute an erne. It might mean standing closer to the center of the court or being more defensive.

By anticipating the Erne, communicating with your partner, focusing on the ball, and using quick footwork and accurate positioning, you can increase your chances of successfully defending against this aggressive pickleball shot.

Mistakes in Playing Erne in Pickleball

Playing Erne too often

Doing the Erne move too often in pickleball can be considered a mistake for several reasons:


If you use the Erne move too often, your opponents will quickly figure out your strategy and anticipate your moves. This can make it easier for them to defend against your shots and take control of the game.

Lack of variety

Using the same moves repeatedly can turn your game predictable and boring. A lack of variety in your shots can make it easier for your opponents to read your shots and adjust accordingly.

Risk of Faults

Doing the Erne move too often can also increase the risk of committing faults. For example, if you don’t establish your feet outside the kitchen line before making contact with the ball, it’s a fault, and you’ll lose the point.

Therefore, using the Erne move strategically and only when the timing is right is essential. Mixing up your shots and using different strategies can make it more difficult for your opponents to defend against you and increase your chances of winning the game.

Jumping too Late

while executing the Erne in pickleball can have several negative consequences:

Missed opportunity

If you jump too late, you may miss the opportunity to make contact with the ball as it crosses over to your side of the net. This could result in a missed shot and potentially a lost point.

Unbalanced Landing

If you jump too late, you may have trouble landing in a balanced position outside the kitchen line. This could make it harder for you to control your shots and increase the risk of committing faults.

Reduced Power

Jumping too late also reduces the power you can generate in your shot. When jumping earlier, you have more time to build momentum and generate a stronger shot.

Therefore, jumping at the right time when executing the Erne in pickleball is important. Jumping at the right moment lets you contact the ball at its peak, generate more power in your shot, and maintain a balanced landing position outside the kitchen line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hit the ball in the middle of the Erne jump while still in the air?

Yes, you can strike the ball while in the air. That is the best time to contact the ball. Also, make sure you do not touch the kitchen line when landing. Also, be sure not to touch the net or post after contacting the ball.

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