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Mastering the ERNE Shot in Pickleball - A SelkirkTV Instructional Video Breakdown

By Kyle Whatnall

on May 26, 2023

A recent instructional YouTube video shared by SelkirkTV, professional pickleball player Porter Barr offers an insightful lesson on executing one of the sport's most dynamic shots – the ERNE. Renowned for its flashy and aggressive nature, the erne can often tip the scales of a game, if mastered and applied correctly. Contrary to the common belief that it's only for top-rated players, Barr simplifies the erne, making it accessible to all pickleball enthusiasts.

The Erne: More Than Just Flashiness

Before we delve into Barr's guidance on how to execute an erne, it's important to understand what an erne is. The erne shot is a volley hit after stepping outside the court, over the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen), reaching into the court to hit the ball. When executed right, it can apply immense pressure on opponents and potentially win the point immediately.

Learning the Erne with Porter Barr

Barr emphasizes on-court practice over drills to master the erne. His instructions are clear and concise: simulate real play by dinking (a soft shot) until you get a ball you can perform an erne on. Demonstrating with his partner Clint, Barr presents a series of steps to help set up the shot.

He begins by maintaining a dinking exchange without trying to win the point or escalate the pace. His objective is to gradually push Clint towards a cone positioned near the sideline. This causes Clint to lean back on his heels, making it difficult for him to hit towards the middle, and more likely to hit down the line.

Seizing this opportunity, Barr steps off the court and executes the erne on Clint's down the line shot. His advice here is critical: the erne is not a slam but a punch. By moving Clint around, varying between the middle and the cone, Barr controls the game and keeps Clint guessing.

The focus remains on preventing any infractions like stepping into the kitchen or touching the net. In pickleball, stepping into the kitchen or touching the net during the shot is considered a fault.

Partner Play and Strategy

Barr also shares some strategy for the erne shot in doubles play. If you don't secure the point with the erne, your partner should move towards the middle to cover the opening you've left behind.

Barr emphasizes the importance of unpredictability while dinking, advising against hitting the same spot twice unless exploiting a specific weakness. The goal is to force a high dink down the line that you can attack with an erne.

The Art of Deception and Patience

As you get comfortable with the shot, you won't need to push your opponent as far towards the sideline, explains Barr. You will develop the ability to anticipate the ball's movement and jump the kitchen to strike instead of walking around it. The trick is not to make your intentions too apparent; standing too often on the side of the court or looking eager to perform the erne might alert your opponent. Instead, keep moving your feet and patiently wait for the perfect moment.


Despite its complex appearance, the erne is a simple shot once you've learned to set it up. Porter Barr’s tutorial video demonstrates that with practice, patience, and precision, mastering this shot is achievable. This drill is an ideal way to begin your journey towards adding the erne to your pickleball toolkit.

To watch the complete episode and many other Selkirk TV original shows, podcasts, lesson series from the pros, and much more, download the Selkirk TV app HERE

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