What Is an Erne in Pickleball? Let’s Find Out!

If you are new to the sport of pickleball, you may have heard the term ‘Erne’ thrown around by experienced players. But what exactly is an Erne, and how does it fit into the game?

Erne in Pickleball
Ron Alvey – iStock

Let’s take a closer look at this important concept in pickleball to learn more about it. An erne is essentially a type of serve in pickleball where the ball arcs high over the net before descending sharply down toward your opponent’s side of the court.

This article will discuss what an erne is, how it works, and how you can use it strategically during your next match!

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What Is the Erne in Pickleball?

The Erne shot in Pickleball is a powerful and versatile stroke that can be used to score points or put an opponent on the defensive. It involves hitting the ball hard and flat from one side of the court to the other, making it difficult for your opponent to reach.

The Erne pickleball shot is named after Dave Erne, who popularized this style of play in tournaments from the 1970s onward.

To execute an effective Erne shot, one must have good balance, footwork, and timing, along with great hand-eye coordination. This type of shot will also require some spin on the ball. So, that it lands deep in your opponent’s court, while still maintaining its speed.

The main advantage of this stroke is that it puts pressure on your opponent by forcing them out wide into defensive positions.

What Makes an Erne Legal Shot in Pickleball?

An important part of the game is understanding what makes an erne legal shot. It is a type of shot in which the ball passes over the net without touching it. In order for an erne to be considered legal in pickleball, it must meet certain criteria. Such as:

Erne Legal Shot
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  • The ball must not touch any part of the net or its supports while crossing over it.
  • Both players must have had an opportunity to reach, and hit the ball before it passes over the net.
  • If either player touches or hits the ball more than once during their return. Then this would also constitute a fault.
  • There can only be one serve per side on each point. Any additional servers that are sent across will result in a fault as well.

Following these guidelines will ensure your shots are legal according to pickleball rules!

How to Hit an Erne Shot in Pickleball?

Hitting an erne shot in pickleball is a great way to score points, and put pressure on your opponents. To hit an erne shot, you must start with a soft underhand serve, and then hit the ball at an angle.

Hitting an erne shot
Ron Alvey – Shutterstock

That will cause it to spin off the side of your opponent’s court. This can be difficult as it requires precise timing and accuracy.

Here are some tips to help you successfully hit an erne shot:

  • Make sure you start your serve low enough so that the ball bounces twice before going over the net.
  • Position yourself close to where you want the ball to land after hitting it off your opponent’s court.
  • When hitting, keep your paddle parallel with the ground and swing through nicely for power and spin.
  • Focus on making contact with the bottom of the ball for maximum spin effect when striking off of your opponent’s court wall.
  • Aim for targets in specific areas of their court instead of just randomly striking at different spots each time; this will give you more control over where each shot goes.
  • Practice regularly by serving from one corner diagonally across their court until mastering both angles consistently.
  • Keep track of how much power or speed each stroke has been given; too much power can cause errors

By following these tips, anyone can learn how to successfully execute an erne shot in pickleball!

Why Is the Erne an Effective Shot to Hit?

The Erne shot is one of the most effective shots to hit in a pickleball game. It involves hitting the ball off of two walls at once for an angled return that can be difficult for opponents to return.

Hitting an erne shot
Tempura – iStock

The Erne shot requires precision and accuracy to be effective and can take some practice to master. It’s also a great way to keep your opponent off-balance and guessing as they try to anticipate where the ball will go next.

It’s important to remember that timing is key when using this type of shot. For instance, if you’re too slow or too early with your swing, you won’t get maximum impact from it. Additionally, an experienced player may choose not only which wall they are going to hit but also how hard they are going to hit.

Overall, mastering this technique can give players a huge advantage in competitive play by adding variety and strategy to their gameplay.


How do you defend against an Erne?

To defend against an Erne shot in pickleball, the best strategy is to move quickly and adjust your position. Make sure you are ready to react as soon as possible and then use a combination of good footwork and body positioning. Try to move toward the middle of the court by sidestepping or shuffling, which will help you keep your balance while also providing more time for reaction.

Where did pickleball Erne come from?

The term ERNE, (pronounced Ernie) was first created by Jeff Shank pickleball when he observed Erne Perry performing the move at the 2010 Nationals in Sun City Festival, Arizona. Referees find this to be one of the most difficult maneuvers to judge accurately each time it occurs.

What are the 3 faults in pickleball?

Just like any other sport, pickleball comes with its own set of faults. These three faults are inadequate court size, limited equipment, and lack of organized rules. The courts used for pickleball are often too small to accommodate the number of players playing at one time. Additionally, a limited range of equipment available for players can limit the level at, which they can play. These issues must be addressed for pickleball to continue its growth.

Well, It’s a Wrap!

Let’s quickly recall: what is an erne in pickleball?

The Erne is an important element of pickleball, and understanding its role can help any player improve their game. It is a shot typically made near the non-volley zone line that forces players to move around and stay on their toes as it’s unpredictable.

The Erne can be used defensively or offensively depending on who strikes first. Knowing how to use it correctly will give you an advantage over your opponents.

Anyone looking to take their pickleball skills to the next level should be sure to incorporate this powerful shot into their repertoire!

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