Have you heard of a shot called the "Erne" on the pickleball courts? An Erne is an advanced shot on the pickleball court and is named after Erne Perry, who elevated the shot and first brought the shot into mainstream competitive play. The Erne is a shot where you hit the pickleball either (1) in the air as you are jumping around the Non-Volley Zone (also known as the Kitchen); or (2) after you run around or through the Kitchen and re-establish your feet out of bounds, just to the side of the Kitchen.
The Erne puts pressure on your opponents to make a quality shot and may cause your opponents to make unforced errors if they lift their heads to look at you running or jumping around the pickleball court, rather than focusing on the pickleball.
To hit an Erne:
- Think and plan ahead, as the goal is to entice your opponents to hit the pickleball toward the sideline that you want to Erne on. This is most likely to happen when your opponents let the pickleball get behind them at the Kitchen Line near the desired sideline;
- Wait to move to the area outside of the Kitchen on the sideline until your opponent hits or is just about to hit the pickleball (which will help you disguise your advanced move); and
- Run or jump to the area outside of the Kitchen on the sideline to hit the pickleball. Remember you must establish, or re-establish, your feet outside of the Kitchen, which could be accomplished by dragging your back foot if you run through the Kitchen or jumping over the Kitchen entirely.
Again, Rule 9.B of the 2020 Official Rulebook for USA Pickleball provides that any contact with the Non-Volley Zone while hitting a volley (in other words, hitting the pickleball out of the air, without bouncing) is a fault - and this includes the swing, follow-through, and the momentum from the swing. All volleys - which includes all Ernes - must be executed outside of the Non-Volley Zone. Again, you may jump over the Non-Volley Zone, as long as you do not touch the Non-Volley Zone line or the Non-Volley Zone surface area, or, if you touch the Non-Volley Zone, then you must re-establish your feet outside of the Non-Volley Zone before hitting your Erne.
Have you ever hit an Erne to win a point? Or, been the victim of a well-executed Erne? Share with us in the comments below!
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