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What Is An Erne In Pickleball? Experts Explain

pickleball erne shot

If you’ve played enough pickleball, you’ve either seen or heard of the pickleball term “Erne.” Before getting into what an erne is, it’s important to understand where the term came from (for no other reason than it’s a fun fact to bust out in between games while at the courts). Erne Perry, a former pro pickleball player, put this particular shot on the map back in 2010, and he did it so well, that the shot was named after him and will live on forever! In this article, the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles outline everything you need to know and more about the erne shot in pickleball. Let's get started. 

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What Is An Erne? 

An Erne is a shot that requires as much patience as it does skill. This high-level shot occurs when either:

  • A.) a player jumps over the kitchen, hits the ball while in the air, and lands completely outside the sidelines.
  • B.) a player anticipates a shot coming back at them, runs through the kitchen, re-establishes their feet, and strikes the ball while standing with both feet outside of the kitchen and the sideline. 

The Strategy of an Erne

The strategy behind an Erne is simpler than actually performing an Erne. While dinking is such an important part of the game, it’s difficult to turn a dink battle from defense to offense. That’s where the Erne comes into play! If a player can effectively Erne, they can either jump over the kitchen or scurry through the kitchen to hit an offensive winner off even a terrific dink. In short, when playing against a player that can Erne, even the best dinks aren’t safe! Watch as Ben Johns teaches Simone Jardim the Erne: 

How To Successfully Hit An Erne

Perfecting the Erne will definitely take time. But just like anything in pickleball, practicing the Erne in fun, rec play is an absolute must before using it in tournament play. There are two very important aspects of an Erne that you’ll need to fine-tune.

Setup and Anticipation

Hitting a dink directly at your opponent’s feet, or hitting it wider toward the sideline is the best way to set up an Erne attempt. The fewer shot options your opponent has will make it easier to anticipate what shot they might hit and in turn, it leaves the door open for an Erne. While it isn’t a shot you'll try every rally, having an Erne in your back pocket will undoubtedly affect your opponent’s strategy. 

Quick Feet! 

You’ll need quick feet to not only scoot or jump to hit your Erne, but to re-establish your position in case your opponent retrieves your Erne shot, or more likely if they spoil your plans and hit a dink shot away from your Erne attempt. Remember that whether you’re hitting the Erne or your partner is, the teammate not hitting the Erne has the responsibility of shifting toward the middle of the court to protect more area since one of the players is off of the court. So beware of jumping too quickly into an Erne or using it too often since its downside is leaving a large portion of the court susceptible to an easy win.  

Who Made The Erne Famous? 

While former professional player Erne Perry is the shot’s namesake, most recently, pro player Tyler Loong was deemed the Erne King - often sacrificing a higher percentage shot for the flash of winning the rally with a crowd favorite Erne. So while Erne Perry is the man, the myth, and the legend, the top pros in the game today are keeping the Erne shot alive and well! 

The Best Way to Practice an Erne

The best way to practice an Erne is to drill with another player. Stand across the net from each other on the same half of the court. Dink back and forth with each other, and try to set your practice partner up to hit a shot that you can attack with an Erne. The practice partner should both hit dinks where an Erne isn’t possible and set up their teammate to be able to hit a successful Erne. Practicing this “Ernie drill” is the best way to get a lot of reps on a shot that you might only use once a game (or less). It’s vital to practice if you plan to use an Erne in competitive play! 


We hope this information sets you on your way to a successful Erne journey! You know the only thing better than hitting an Erne winner is hitting an Erne winner with a brand-new pickleball paddle. If you need help finding the right gear, feel free to contact our Paddle Experts! Whether it be our Paddle Coach or just a nudge in the right direction, call or text 1-866-382-3465, email us at, or utilize our live chat to speak with a Paddle Expert today. We’re JustPaddles, and we’re with you from Click to Court!


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