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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Setting up Erne

Getting the fundamentals right...

It is Tuesday and w all know what that means - it is Jordan Briones time! This week's video is an interesting one for me since it is about a shot I have never even tried - the Erne. Let's describe the Erne first. It is a shot that is hit by a player standing outside the court beside the net post. It is usually a surprise shot. I wrote 2 articles about it in June 2017 - The Erne Shot and More on the Erne Shot.

What was left unsaid in those articles was the specifics of setting up the Erne for success. Jordan does that in his video How To Setup The Erne In Pickleball.

The not-so-secret part of hitting the Erne is that it must be off a down-the-line shot. Otherwise, the ball would out of the reach of the player attempting the Erne. So the secret part is setting up the opponent to hit the ball down the line.

Before revealing the secret, Jordan shows a drill that allows you to practice the Erne. For me, this is probably the most important element. I can relate it to the around-the-post shot. For a long time, I never hit an ATP, primarily because I never gave it a thought. Finally, I specifically practiced the ATP. I found that the physical practice was far less relevant than planting the seed in my mind so I could remember it during play. I am guessing the same is true with the Erne.

The drill is for 2 players to each hit down-the-line dinks. After a pattern is established, one player quickly moves to hit the Erne with the movement starting just before the other player hits their shot. Players can each practice the Erne at any point in the drill.

Obviously, that drill is easy because players know the ball will always be down the line. In regular play the shots will be more varied. Thus, the secret is to try hit shots that force your opponent to hit down the line when you want. There are two ways to create this opportunity. 

First, hit the ball down the line yourself. Watch to see if your opponent chooses to go back down the line or some other direction. If a down-the-line pattern is detected, then you can set up the Erne by going down the line first. 

Second, move your opponent around and eventually make it difficult for them to hit anything but a down-the-line shot. Forcing them to stretch likely means they cannot return crosscourt, for example.

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