What Is an Erne in Pickleball?

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Pickleball is a singles or doubles game that combines aspects of badminton, table tennis, and ping pong. It has a lower net and is played on a smaller court than those used for other sports. There are many different shots to try in pickleball, from simple to complex, whether you’re playing indoors or outdoors. Gaining knowledge of the complex ones offers one an advantage over opponents. One of these advanced shots is the Erne.

In this article, we will explore what an Erne is, how to execute an Erne, and the benefits of implementing this shot.

What is an Erne?

In pickleball, an Erne, sometimes known as a dink shot, is an advanced shot or volley used to control the net, put more pressure on opponents, and ultimately score a point. Its name comes from the pickleball player Ernie Perry, who popularized the shot in competitive play. Elite pickleball players frequently use this advanced shot.

An erne is an angled shot that resembles a volley launched from the non-volley zone outside the pickleball court. It is only acceptable if the player executes it with their body outside the non-volley zone, which is an area that is off-limits. The player is frequently awarded a point by forcing the opponent to hit the ball in the non-volley zone by setting up the Erne shot.

Because of its low height and pace, this shot style can be challenging to perform and even harder to return. Both the person executing the shot and the person being fired at would need to have excellent hand-eye coordination, perfect timing, and exceptional control over the paddle. The ball falls rapidly and with a lot of speed, thanks to topspin.

This shot, which throws the unsuspecting opponent out of position and shifts their stance, is typically used by seasoned players to exert pressure and seize control of the net. An advantage is always gained by pulling off unexpected advanced shots like the Erne shot.

The Erne shot is so successful because it is struck out of the air in a position so close to the net with a topspin that renders it unattackable and in a strong and downward trajectory. Any pause in decision-making on the part of the opponent due to the threat of the Erne increases the possibility of committing unforced errors.

How to Execute the Erne

Erne is a shot in pickleball that, to be executed flawlessly, calls for time, accuracy, and rapid, anticipatory movements. The player needs to find the right angles to ensure the opponent takes their shots down the kitchen corner, which is the non-volley zone on either side of the net.

A player cannot hit the ball out of the air while standing in the kitchen due to a rule that governs it. The trick is to draw the opponent to this area to make it more difficult to block the shot.

The player stands parallel to the kitchen while trying an Erne to circumvent the kitchen regulation because the non-volley zone line does not extend beyond the court. To make this shot, the player must be as close to the sideline as possible.

The shot is rapidly executed by planting the feet outside the kitchen with a hop or dash. When done successfully, the Erne shot, which involves hitting the ball with a downward motion, surprises the opposition and ensures that a return shot can only be made in the kitchen corner. It calls for flexibility, endurance, and careful observation of the opponent’s shots to ensure accuracy in execution.

It is frequently used in doubles match where a partner assists with the setup. Both players attempt to make the opposing player dink the ball down the line, closer to the sideline, until one of them times the ball with a quick movement and precise footwork to hit the Erne. Because the opponent is not expecting the sneaky, surprise shot, it is an excellent offensive move that is guaranteed to earn a point if executed and set up correctly.

It is important to note that for the shot to be legal and allowable, both feet must be outside the kitchen prior to any contact with the ball. During the execution, any contact with the non-volley zone, its line, or the net is a fault against the player. It’s also against the rules to reach over the net to make a shot before it crosses over the opposing net.

What Is an Erne in Pickleball

Benefits of an Erne

The Erne shot has advantages that make it popular among advanced pickleball players. It is a lethal, calculated, and reliable shot that requires skill, agility, and tact to execute. Some of the benefits of using an Erne are as follows.

Element of Surprise

The Erne necessitates quick movement, preemptive planning, and careful setup from the player. Some tactical coaxing shots are taken prior to the Erne to ensure the ball is close to the sideline. As a result, the opponent frequently fails to notice the setup until it is too late. A fumble which is usually the response to the shot frequently results in a point against the opponent.

Higher Chances of Winning a Point

The Erne guarantees a point 75% of the time when played correctly. It is an important tactic that gives a player an advantage over their rival and increases the likelihood of winning. The opponent either makes a mistake as a result of confusion brought on by surprise or is unable to block the shot, giving the player the crucial point.

The Difficulty of A Return Shot

Aside from surprising the opponent, the Erne places your opponent in a risky scenario that can cause them to slip and be unable to return the shot. If timed properly, the Erne typically places the ball at the opponent’s feet or past the opponent. The ball may also elude them because of its topspin, trajectory, and speed of the shot.


Since it is typically played in doubles, it provides room for the partner to assist in recovery from the vacated position if the shot is timed incorrectly or the opponent learns about the setup and places the ball in a location far from the sidelines to continue the volley. In essence, if it doesn’t work or the tactic is discovered, one partner gets to save the other from losing a point.

Improves Skill

By learning and using the Erne shot, pickleball players gain diversity, sophistication, and unpredictability. It is an extremely powerful tool to add to your pickleball arsenal because opponents cannot determine or predict your next play. It makes it simpler to place the ball in deliberate and precise areas of the court, such as close to the sidelines or close to the net, which is crucial for setting up the Erne. It also helps you serve more effectively.


The Erne is a challenging shot to execute, but with enough practice, you can do it deftly enough to become routine. A deep understanding of spin mechanics and dexterous control of the paddle is also needed to aid in the mastery of this shot. Needless to say, it is a powerful shot that gives you an edge if you can perfect it. We can only hope that this article has clarified what an Erne is and how to use it effectively.