Erne Pickleball – What Is An Erne In Pickleball

Out of the blue, it hits you, leaving you wondering, is that shot even allowed? You wonder if the players playing that shot really can get away. You try to convince yourself there’s no way they could pull it off. Yet, they do… and they can!

No need to worry! Everyone experiences the same astonishment the first time they face a well-executed pickleball, Erne. Eventually, the initial shock develops into acceptance, followed by thoughts of retaliation.

This article will guide you on precisely how to execute a fantastic Erne and when it’s best used. We’ll dive into why it can be a potent weapon in your pickleball skill repertoire and provide tips on defending against it, ensuring you’re not caught off guard in the future.

What is an Erne in Pickleball?

You may be wondering what’s an Erne in pickleball, and if it’s really used in every game play. Erne is not something you will see in any other play. This type of shot is only okayed in highly competitive plays. It was invented by a videographer named Jeff Shank. He noticed a professional pickleball player named Erne Perry constantly using it in the game. 

If you know the basics of pickleball, you would probably know that you can’t volley a shot from the kitchen. That is exactly why it’s called the Non-Volley Zone. This rule prevents players from gliding at the net, and then hammering the ball when it comes at them.

How to Hit an Erne?

Erne in pickleball

Doing an “Erne” move is not easy. You have to be very careful and choose the right time during a game. It’s a risky move because it’s easy to make a mistake and lose the rally.

To do an Erne pickleball, you trick your opponent into hitting the perfect shot, maybe making them hit the ball toward the side. Then, quickly jump over the kitchen corner and attack the ball close to the net. This usually surprises them, and they can’t defend well.

Getting ready for an Erne pickleball needs patience and planning. Picking the right time to attack is super important. Move at the exact moment your opponent hits their shot so they don’t know what you’re doing. Be fast and get back to your position if their shot is different from what you expected.

Good players are always watching for Erne’s chances. Fooling your opponent into feeling safe is a big part of the game. When you see your chance, move fast and make sure you land outside the kitchen and sideline. If you step on the line, it’s a mistake, and you will lose a point.

Three Ways to Execute the Erne

1. Leap Over the Corner of the Kitchen:

    Ensure both feet land outside the kitchen to avoid faults.

2. Run Through the Kitchen and Stand in the Out-of-Bounds Area:

   Both feet must touch the ground outside the kitchen before hitting the Erne pickleball.

3. Run Around the Kitchen Corner and Stand in the Out-of-Bounds Area:

    Similar to option 2, ensure both feet touch the ground outside the kitchen to avoid faults.

Absolutely YES, the Erne move in pickleball is totally legal! It might seem sneaky, but it plays by the rules. Here’s the deal: in pickleball, you can’t volley (hit the ball out of the air) from inside the kitchen. But guess what? There’s no rule saying you can’t do it if you are standing right next to the kitchen, outside the sideline. 

That’s the magic of the Erne – legal and a bit surprising. So, you can jump over that kitchen corner, scoot through it, or even run around it, as long as both your feet touch the ground outside the kitchen. No kitchen contact is allowed during the hit, and you’re good to go. 

Pickleball Erne Rules

Pickleball Erne

By now, you may know every shot in pickleball has its own set of rules and techniques, and so does Erne pickleball. Here are a few basic rules for pickleball Erne shot you have to abide by to ace the game: 

  • Outside the Kitchen:

 Perform the Erne from outside the kitchen, near the net, and outside the left or right sideline.

  • No Net Contact:

Ensure no part of your body, paddle, or clothing touches the net during the Erne shot.

  • Legal Landing:

Land outside the kitchen and sideline after executing the Erne; stepping on the line results in a fault.

  • Fault-Free Feet:

If you leap over the kitchen corner, both feet must touch the ground outside the kitchen. Similarly, when running through or around the kitchen, both feet should land outside before hitting the Erne.

  • Post-Hit Net Crossing:

Avoid crossing any part of your body, paddle, or clothing over the net plane until after hitting the ball to avoid a fault.

  • Strategic Timing:

Execute the Erne at the right moment, ideally as your opponent takes their shot, for maximum effectiveness.

Benefits of the Erne Shot in Pickleball

Now you may be wondering, apart from being confused about it being legal or not, what exactly is the benefit of using such a shot in pickleball? Well, here are a few benefits of Erne shot in pickleball:

  • Surprise Attack:

The Erne is your secret weapon, catching opponents off guard with its unexpected nature.

  • Highly Effective:

When executed well, it’s a powerful shot that’s tough for opponents to defend against.

  • Strategic Advantage:

Gives you an edge by exploiting a legal rule loophole in pickleball.

  • Versatility:

Three ways to perform it – leap, run through, or run around the kitchen corner – providing options based on the game’s dynamics.

  • Lulling Opponents:

 Incorporates a psychological element by making opponents unsure of your next move.

  • Legal Play:

Despite its sneakiness, the Erne strictly follows pickleball rules, making it a fair and exciting part of the game.

Bottom Line

The Erne is a game-changer in pickleball, requiring some time and effort to get the hang of. Advanced strategies demand patience and practice, but once you nail the Erne, your game gets a serious boost. Once your opponents know you have the potential to hit an Erne shot, it gives you a mental edge. They will be guessing when the next Erne might happen, and it could make them tweak their game plan to counter your unpredictable moves.


What is an erne in pickleball?

An erne in pickleball is basically a shot where a player jumps over the non-volley zone to hit the ball before it bounces, typically executed near the sidelines.

Can you touch the net with your paddle in pickleball?

No, touching the net with your paddle in pickleball is not allowed, it results in a fault.

Is an Erne a legal shot to play in pickleball?

Yes, an Erne is a legal shot in pickleball as long as it sticks to the game’s rules. These rules include allowing players to jump over the non-volley zone to make the shot.

How can I improve my footwork for Erne moves?

To make your footwork better for Erne moves in pickleball, practice agility drills, work on lateral movements, and focus on quick changes of direction to improve your ability to execute this dynamic shot.

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