In pickleball, the “Erne” shot is an advanced offensive technique used by players to attack a ball close to the net while standing outside the boundaries of the court. The name “Erne” is derived from the player who popularized the shot, Erne Perry. The goal of the Erne shot is to surprise opponents and put pressure on them by hitting a sharp-angled or powerful shot that they struggle to return.
Here’s how to execute an Erne shot:
Anticipation: The key to executing an Erne shot is anticipating when your opponent will hit a soft or high ball that you can attack. Keep your eyes on the ball and your opponents, looking for cues that indicate they may hit a vulnerable shot.
Positioning: As your opponent hits the ball, move quickly and stealthily toward the net and the sideline. Your goal is to get as close to the net as possible without touching it while staying outside the court boundaries. This will give you the best angle to attack the ball.
Footwork: Use quick, agile footwork to maneuver yourself into the ideal position. Be careful not to step into the non-volley zone (also known as the “kitchen”) as doing so would result in a fault.
Hitting the shot: When the ball comes within your reach, hit it aggressively with a volley or a half-volley. Aim for a sharp angle or a powerful shot, targeting your opponent’s feet, the open court, or the gap between your opponents. The goal is to make it difficult for your opponents to return the shot.
Recovery: After hitting the Erne shot, quickly return to your position on the court and prepare for the next ball.
The Erne shot is a high-risk, high-reward technique that requires excellent timing, anticipation, and precision. It’s important to practice this shot and develop the necessary skills before attempting it in a game situation. Keep in mind that if used too often, your opponents may catch on and be better prepared to counter the shot. Use the Erne shot sparingly and strategically to keep your opponents off-guard and maintain the element of surprise.