Pickleball Erne Shot : How To Setup And Hit?

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Are you trying to figure out what an erne shot in pickleball is, the rules, and how it is played?

Let me break down all about these shots in this article so that it would be a no problem shot for you in your next games. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or not; these shots are played at every level.

As a professional pickleball player, I feel obliged to tell you that ernes had helped me many times in my games, especially when I wanted my opponents off the baseline.

Let’s go through these shots in further detail so that you’d understand better:

What is an Erne in Pickleball?

An erne shot in pickleball is when the player hits from the sidelines, outside the non-volley zone, or when the ball hits the ball in the air while jumping around the kitchen. It refers to when you are out on the sideline out of the kitchen but still hitting the ball above it.

Erne Perry, a pro pickleball player, gave fame to these shots and made them famous; that is why they were named after him. Everyone is talking about how one can benefit from this shot and catch their opponents off-guard.

It is also known as a surprise shot because it consists of an element of surprise. After all, players don’t usually expect a player to come forward, close to the net in the non-volley zone, and hit the shot in the game.

How to Hit an Erne in Pickleball?

I’ll be noting down three ways to hit an erne for you so you will get a better idea of it.

Here are three ways to hit a legal erne shot:

1. The first way is the roundabout way. It refers to when a player comes around and hits an erne on the kitchen side.

Roundabout Erne
Roundabout Erne

2. The second way to hit the erne is to hit it across the sideline when you go through the kitchen and hit the ball.

Through the Kitchen Erne
Through the Kitchen Erne

Make sure your feet don’t fall in the kitchen while contacting with the ball, because it is the violation of rules. To avoid any violation make sure your feet planted and balanced and then your should hit the shot.

3. The third way is jumping over the kitchen and hitting an erne. It counts as an erne when you jump, land on the sideline, and hit the ball.

Jumping the kitchen erne
Jumping the kitchen erne

These three ways are the most important and most used ways to play an erne in pickleball. It might need some practice, but I’m sure you’ll crush your opponent when you learn to hit an erne like a pro.

How to Setup the Erne in Pickleball?

This following line of discussion is also crucial to understand for you to practice successful erne shots.

  • The first thing is to perfect the timing of these shots. Hit them when your opponent is least expecting it. For instance, make your move when they look at the ball or anything (just not focusing on you).
  • Secondly, look for down the line shots from your opponents. Now I know they are scarce in an actual game situation but avail it when the opportunity arises. These shots are also excellent for practice if you want to perfect your ernes.
  • Put them in a difficult situation. An example would be hitting an angle dink whenever they are not focused on you. They won’t be able to go crosscourt to the side, giving you a perfect chance for an erne.

In addition to these three points, another thing you can do is anticipate your opponent to hit a down-the-line shot towards you. It will work in your favour because this shot is played from outside the sideline of the kitchen.

Rules of Erne Shots in Pickleball

Go over these rules of erne shots before you start to practice them.

  • You need to cross the sideline of the non-volley zone to attempt this shot.
  • Clear the net before going over the sideline; otherwise, you will lose that point.
  • Plant your feet outside the kitchen, on the sideline
  • Never touch the line because if you will, it will count as a foot fault
  • Don’t touch the net as well
  • Complete the shot because clearing the net and not hitting the ball will cost you a point.

Why is the Erne in Pickleball a Legal Shot?

In the official rulebook of pickleball, it is clearly said that all volleys must be initiated from the non-volley zone.

In other words, it is legal because the players are not standing in the kitchen. A player must be outside the sideline to hit the erne.

Follow all the rules for your erne shots to be considered legal and not a backfired shot, only resulting in losing a point yourself.

How do you defend against an Erne?

Ernes are great for offensive hitting but not so great a shot when coming at you, right? Don’t worry; I’ll tell you four ways to defend an erne right away.

  1. If you suspect that your opponent is in the mood to hit ernes today, simply don’t hit the ball in that spot and play in the middle of the court. And ultimately, they will have zero chance of hitting ernes.
  2. Do not hit down the line as they have an excellent opportunity for your opponent to hit an erne shot.
  3. Hit it right at them. Aim for either outside of their body or the body itself of your opponent because it will surprise them, and they won’t be able to get it out of the way and jump out of the court for erne shots.
  4. Lastly, a lob shot is a great way to prevent ernes from coming at you.

Final Thoughts On Pickleball Erne Shot

Overall, erne shots are one of the most effective pickleball shots. Pretty unbelievable that they are legal, right? Yeah, it is.

I want you to take advantage of this situation and hit ernes in your games, especially when your opponent isn’t expecting it. Practice the defense of these shots as much as you can to ace the offence and the defense side.

In my pickleball experience, I’ve practiced and played these shots all the time. They are excellent if you want to take your game up a notch and catch your opponent off-guard. Practice everything. Good luck!

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