Ernie and Bert are best buddies in the children’s television show Sesame Street. So how do they find themselves relevant in Pickleball?
An Erne is a shot in Pickleball that was named after Erne Perry. It was a shot which Perry regularly hit by going outside the bounds of the Pickleball court in order to hit a powerful volley. The position of the player while hitting this shot is outside either sideline near or in line with the non-volley zone. This shot requires sharp movements and anticipation from the player. A successful execution can result in a nearly unreturnable shot.
Bert is a shot that is similar to Erne but comes with a twist. While the Erne can be hit in both singles and doubles, the Bert is an exclusive doubles tactic. In order to execute a Bert, the player hits an Erne by going to their partner’s side of the court. The Bert is called a poach shot as the player who hits the shot has actually taken a shot which was intended for his or her partner.
Compared to the Erne, a Bert is a highly risky and volatile shot. Your partner should be well aware if you are the one performing a Bert. This is because the player who will hit the Bert has to run right in front of their partner through the kitchen and jumping out of bounds from the sideline. Moreover, the Bert has to be a rally finishing shot. Should the returners manage to return it on the open side of the court, the Bert backfires.
A Bert is a highly advanced and rare shot that takes immense practice and understanding with your doubles partner.