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What is an Erne in Pickleball?

Author: Andrew Gilman | April 23, 2024

Tyler Loong Erne Pickleball

When it comes to executing the Erne and the Bert, there’s no one better to talk to than PPA pro Tyler Loong.

We talked with Tyler and got all the info you need to know on executing these cool pickleball shots.

What’s an Erne?

Tyler: An Erne, as I see it, is a ball that is hit close to the sideline and the opposing player jumps across the Kitchen line and strikes the ball out of the air. 

What’s a Bert?

Tyler: A Bert is the same thing as an Erne, only this time you’re jumping in front of your partner on the other side of the court. A Bert takes a lot more commitment than an Erne, because you have to travel a farther distance and get in front of your partner.

What happens when you hit an Erne or a Bert? What’s the advantage?

Tyler: Essentially, you’ve cut off the angle the ball would have had if it had bounced first. Instead, you’re hitting it out of the air, taking time away from the player, often surprising them at the same time and ending the rally.

What’s the disadvantage to hitting, or trying to hit one of these shots?

Tyler: It can be a disadvantage, because players are getting so good at defending them, you could be putting yourself way out of position and could also force your partner to cover ground that maybe they’re not in position to cover.

What’s the best thing about pulling off one of these shots?

Tyler: It’s a high-energy shot, no doubt. It can get you and your partner really fired up, it can get the crowd fired up, too. It’s definitely my favorite shot in all of pickleball. But the most-impressive  thing about it is when players who are known for it, are still able to execute it time and time and time again. That’s hard to do when your opponents know it’s coming and you’re still able to do it.

Who’s the best at this shot?

Tyler: Certainly so many pros are good at it, but Dekel Bar is definitely known for it and Christian Alshon has gotten really good at it and tries it a lot, too. Players know I like to do this a lot, so they know they are trying not to give me the opportunity, but I do try them as much as I can.

What’s something to know that many amateurs don’t understand about the Erne?

Tyler: For one, it’s not always just to end the point. If an opponent knows I might go for one, it could change his or shot, and sometimes that’s in our favor. Often, the Erne attempt won’t end a point, but it might shift things up or more things around. A good partner can clean up a mess after an Erne attempt that doesn’t end the rally.

When is the time right to try one during a game?

Tyler: What you want to look for is when a dink is hit down the line, or if your partner hits one across the court in front of you. You can anticipate where your opponent might return that shot and take a chance.

Hey, you 3.0-3.5 players, should you try this shot?

Tyler: Definitely Try it. It’s effective, and when done right, it adds another weapon to your arsenal, and at the same time throws a curveball to the people you’re playing against. It makes them think a little more about what shots they have to hit, and adds a little more pressure when playing against you. Just practice. That’s the best way to get comfortable with it and get it down. 

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