What is the Erne in Pickleball?

The sport of Pickleball is known for its unique rule featuring the Non-volley zone. This zone is also called the kitchen. A player cannot stand in the kitchen and hit a volley, i.e., hitting a shot before it bounces. If the ball is about to land in the non-volley zone, the player has to allow it to bounce before hitting a shot.

Hitting a volley while standing in the non-volley zone results in a fault and the player loses the point. Professional Pickleball player Erne Perry is known for developing an advanced poaching tactic in Pickleball called the “Erne.” The name Erne was given by videographer Jeff Shank, who observed Perry play this shot consistently in 2010.

The Erne requires sharp anticipation skills from a Pickleball player. The shot is played by going outside the bounds of the Pickleball court in an area which is near or in line with the kitchen (the pantry). In order to hit am Erne, the player has to either jump from the kitchen and go outside the bounds of the court. While doing so, the player has to ensure that no part of his or her body is in contact with the non-volley zone.

The Erne was a counter to the Pickleball rule which states that a player cannot be in the non-volley zone and hit a volley by jumping or being in air as the ball makes contact. It is important for the player to land outside the kitchen if they are to execute the volley mid-air from the non-volley zone.

Perfect execution of an Erne can result in a high impact attack shot. Likewise, it can also be a defensive weapon in high voltage volley rallies that take place near, but not within the kitchen.

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