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

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By Jacob Jackson

Unleash Your Skills with the Erne Shot in Pickleball

Seasoned players probably toss around the term ‘Erne’ if you’re just getting into the thrilling world of pickleball. But what exactly is an Erne, and how does it fit into the game? Let’s dive into this intriguing concept and uncover its secrets.

What Is the Erne in Pickleball?

The Erne shot in pickleball is more than just a stroke – it’s a powerful and versatile technique that can score you points and leave your opponents scrambling. Picture this: you hit the ball hard and flat from one side of the court to the other, making it nearly impossible for your opponent to reach.


This impressive pickleball shot honors the legendary Dave Erne, who introduced this playstyle in the 1970s and made it a hit in tournaments around the world.

What Makes an Erne Shot Legal?

Before you unleash the Erne shot, it’s crucial to understand its legality so you can play fair and square. To qualify as a legal Erne shot, it must meet specific criteria:

  • The ball must soar gracefully above the net without touching it or any part of its supports.
  • Both players need a fair opportunity to reach and hit the ball before it crosses the net.
  • Hitting or touching the ball more than once during the return counts as a fault.
  • Remember, each side is allowed only one serve per point. Any additional serves will result in a fault.

By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll ensure that your Erne shots comply with pickleball rules!

How to Master the Erne Shot

To become a true pickleball maestro, you need to know how to hit the Erne shot with finesse. Here are some valuable tips to help you level up your game:

  • Start your serve low to guarantee that the ball bounces twice before sailing over the net.
  • Position yourself strategically, close to where you want the ball to land on your opponent’s court.
  • Keep your paddle parallel to the ground and swing through with power and spin for maximum impact.
  • Focus on making contact with the bottom of the ball to achieve a fantastic spin effect off your opponent’s court wall.
  • Aim for specific targets on your opponent’s court to maintain control over each shot.
  • Practice regularly, serving diagonally from one corner to the opposite side’s court, until you can master both angles consistently.
  • Pay attention to the power and speed of your strokes, as too much power can lead to errors.
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By following these pro tips, you’ll be well on your way to executing remarkable Erne shots in pickleball!

Unlock the Power of the Erne Shot

The Erne shot is an absolute game-changer in pickleball. It involves hitting the ball off two walls at once, resulting in an angled return that’s challenging for your opponents to counter.

Mastering the Erne shot requires practice and precision. It will keep your opponents guessing and off-balance as they struggle to anticipate where the ball will land next. Timing is key with this type of shot – a carefully timed swing can make all the difference.

Also, keep in mind, experienced players not only choose which wall to hit but also how hard to hit it. This technique adds variety and strategy to your game, giving you a significant advantage in competitive play.

Your Journey to Pickleball Excellence Starts Here!

Defend against an Erne shot by using quick movements and adjusting your position swiftly. Remember to employ good footwork and body positioning. Move toward the center of the court by sidestepping or shuffling to maintain balance and gain more reaction time.

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Did you ever wonder where the term ‘Erne’ came from? Jeff Shank, a pickleball enthusiast who witnessed Erne Perry performing this move back in 2010, created it.Referees consider it one of the trickiest maneuvers to judge accurately. Quite the pickleball mystery, isn’t it?


While pickleball has its faults – like inadequate court size, limited equipment choices, and lack of organized rules – it continues to grow in popularity. These issues must be addressed for pickleball to thrive.

So, there you have it! The Erne shot is a game-changer that can take your pickleball skills to the next level. Incorporate it into your arsenal, and you’ll become an unstoppable force on the court!


What exactly is an erne shot in pickleball?

An erne is an unusual underwater stroke in pickleball where the paddle is moved in an upward motion to chip the ball just over the net. It’s essentially an underhand soft shot that arcs over the net.

Why is it called an “erne”?

“Erne” refers to the erne bird or sea eagle which swoops down low across water to catch fish. The erne pickleball shot mimics this swooping bird motion.

What are some tips for hitting a successful erne?

Keys to the erne are keeping your paddle low, using an upward chipping motion, hitting the ball softly, and aiming to just clear the net height. Disguise the shot by not taking a big backswing.

How can you defend against an opponent’s erne?

To counter an erne, stay back from the non-volley line, keep your eyes on the ball, and try to take the shot on the rise or in the air. Avoid letting it bounce first which kills its effectiveness. Anticipate the possibility of an erne on key points.


In conclusion, the erne stands as an essential strategic shot in pickleball, with the capability to catch opponents off guard. Executed by hitting the ball with an underhand stroke so it barely goes over the net, the erne limits the opponent’s ability to return the shot effectively. Mastering the erne takes practice, but it can be a game-changer once a player gets the hang of the technique. Knowing when to use this deceptive shot and being able to hit it accurately requires both skill and strategy. Pickleball players looking to step up their game will find that spending time working on the erne is well worth it. Though it may seem like a simple trick shot, it is actually an advanced move that can give players a competitive edge.

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