What Is A Bert In Pickleball? Detailed Explanation

Have you ever wondered about that elusive and game-changing move known as the “Bert” in pickleball? If you’re a pickleball enthusiast seeking to elevate your skills and gain a competitive edge on the court, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we will unravel the secrets of the Bert shot, a rarely-seen technique that can leave opponents bewildered and transform your gameplay. 

By understanding the Bert shot and its counterpart, the Erne shot, along with the iconic characters Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, you’ll embark on a journey towards mastering this impressive manoeuvre. 

Join us as we explore the ins and outs of the Bert technique, providing valuable knowledge and practical skills to help you confound your adversaries and enhance your chances of triumph in future matches.

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What Is an “Erne” in Pickleball?

The Erne shot is a remarkable maneuver that has revolutionized the game of pickleball. It is named after a skilled player, Erne Perry, who elevated this shot and brought it into the mainstream competitive play. 

What Is an “Erne” in Pickleball

To comprehend the Bert shot fully, it’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of the Erne shot. This advanced move involves striking the pickleball in two distinct ways, showcasing your agility and finesse on the court.

Definition of the Erne Shot

The Erne shot offers players the opportunity to hit the pickleball in unconventional ways, creating an element of surprise and outmaneuvering their opponents. There are two primary variations of the Erne shot:

Airborne Erne Shot: This technique involves hitting the pickleball while you’re in the air, gracefully leaping around the Non-Volley Zone, which is also known as the Kitchen. 

By mastering this move, you can execute powerful shots that catch your opponents off guard, adding flair to your gameplay.

Side Erne Shot: The side Erne shot requires you to navigate around or through the Kitchen and position yourself just outside of it, on your side of the court. 

From this advantageous position, you can strike the pickleball with precision and finesse, setting yourself up for a winning play.

Origin and Influence of Erne Perry in Popularizing the Shot

Erne Perry, the eponymous figure behind the Erne shot, played a pivotal role in popularizing this innovative technique. With his remarkable skills and strategic play, Perry showcased the effectiveness and versatility of the Erne shot in competitive matches. 

As other players witnessed the impact of his shots, the Erne technique gained recognition and became an integral part of advanced pickleball strategies.

Perry’s contributions to the game extended beyond his skills on the court. By bringing the Erne shot into the mainstream competitive play, he opened the door for players to experiment with this exciting maneuver. 

As a result, the Erne shot has become an essential tool in the arsenal of seasoned pickleball players, offering them a unique advantage and an opportunity to surprise their opponents.

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What Is A Bert In Pickleball? A Variation of the Erne Shot

Now, we will delve into the world of the Bert shot, its unique characteristics, and how it can elevate your game to new heights.

What Is A Bert In Pickleball A Variation of the Erne Shot

Differentiating Bert Shot from Erne Shot

To truly understand the Bert shot, we must first distinguish it from its counterpart, the Erne shot. On the surface, the Bert and Erne shots may seem similar, but there is a fundamental difference that sets them apart. 

While the Erne shot is executed on your own side of the court, the Bert shot takes place on your partner’s half. Imagine gracefully leaping or swiftly maneuvering around the Kitchen area on your partner’s side to execute this shot. 

It adds a touch of excitement and surprise to your gameplay, catching opponents off guard and presenting a formidable challenge.

Benefits and Strategic Advantages of Using the Bert Shot

Now, you may wonder why advanced players opt to incorporate the Bert shot into their arsenal of techniques. The answer lies in the benefits and strategic advantages it offers on the pickleball court. 

By employing the Bert shot, you exert pressure on your opponents, forcing them to make quality shots and potentially inducing unforced errors. 

The mere act of running or jumping around the court during a Bert shot can distract opponents, diverting their attention from the pickleball itself. 

This diversion can give you a significant advantage, as your opponents lose focus and become susceptible to mistakes.

One of the key scenarios where the Bert shot shines is when one partner is being specifically targeted by the opposition. In such instances, executing a well-timed Bert shot allows the targeted player to actively engage in the point, turning the tide of the game and shifting the momentum in your favor. 

Additionally, the strategic technique of stacking, where players position themselves in a particular formation, can create opportunities for the Bert shot. 

For example, if you find yourself on the left side of the court with your forehand in the middle, you may seize the chance to leap over to the right-hand side, executing a powerful Bert shot and catching your opponents off guard.

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How to Hit a Bert on the Pickleball Court

Preparing for a Successful Bert Shot

To set the stage for a successful Bert shot, communication with your partner becomes crucial. It is important to ensure that your partner is aware of the possibility of a Bert shot and is prepared to cover extra court in case the opponents attempt the shot. 

How to Hit a Bert on the Pickleball Court

By having open communication, you can work together to anticipate and respond effectively.

Strategically positioning yourself on the court is another crucial aspect of preparing for a Bert shot. You want to entice your opponents to hit the ball towards the desired sideline, where you plan to execute the Bert. 

By observing your opponents’ positioning and shot tendencies, you can anticipate where the ball is likely to be directed.

Timing and Movement Considerations

Timing plays a pivotal role in executing a Bert shot. You need to move to the area outside of the Kitchen just as your opponent hits or is about to hit the ball. By doing so, you position yourself in the optimal location to hit the Bert shot.

When it comes to executing the Bert shot, you have two options: running or jumping to the area outside of the Kitchen on the sideline. Both techniques can be effective, and the choice depends on your comfort and the specific situation. 

Regardless of the method, it is important to establish or re-establish your feet outside of the Kitchen before making contact with the ball.

Execution Guidelines and Footwork Techniques

Executing a Bert shot requires precision and adherence to the rules of pickleball. Remember that hitting a volley, including Berts and Ernes, must be done outside of the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ), commonly referred to as the Kitchen. Any contact with the NVZ while hitting a volley is considered a fault.

The swing, follow-through, and momentum from the swing should all be executed outside the NVZ. 

It is essential to maintain your distance from the NVZ line and surface area to avoid faults. Jumping over the NVZ is permitted as long as there is no contact with the line or surface area. 

However, if you make any contact with the NVZ, you must re-establish your feet outside the zone before hitting the shot.

Progression from Mastering the Erne Shot to the Bert Shot

To enhance your chances of successfully executing the Bert shot, it is recommended to master the Erne shot first. The Erne shot involves hitting a ball on the sideline while airborne outside of the NVZ. 

By developing proficiency in the Erne shot, you gain a solid foundation for executing the more advanced Bert shot.

The Erne shot and the Bert shot share similarities in terms of footwork and execution. By practicing the Erne shot, you improve your ability to move quickly to the desired location outside the NVZ and adjust your body position to hit the shot effectively.

Mistakes to Avoid When Hitting a Bert

I will guide you through the common mistakes to avoid when hitting a Bert shot, ensuring that you execute the shot flawlessly.

Lack of Communication and Awareness:

One of the biggest mistakes is failing to communicate effectively with your partner. It’s crucial to discuss the possibility of executing a Bert shot before the game starts. 

By doing so, you can ensure that both you and your partner are aware of the potential opportunities and can work together seamlessly to execute the shot without any collisions or injuries.

Stepping on the Kitchen Line:

Stepping on the kitchen line is a grave mistake that can result in a fault, nullifying all your efforts. Even a slight brush of your toe on the non-volley zone line can be considered a fault. 

To avoid this, start your jump well inside the kitchen line, giving yourself a buffer zone to maintain a fault-free execution.

Failing to Anticipate Opponents’ Shots:

To successfully hit a Bert shot, it’s essential to anticipate your opponents’ shot choices. By observing their positions and analyzing their shot selections, you can position yourself strategically and be ready for opportunities that favor the Bert shot. 

Anticipating your opponents’ moves will give you a competitive edge and increase your chances of executing the shot effectively.

Telegraphing Your Move:

One common mistake is giving away your intentions through body language or false starts. Your opponents are observant and can pick up on subtle cues. 

Avoid feinting or making false starts toward a ball if you’re planning a Bert shot. Also, be cautious of shuffling toward your partner’s side too early, as it can indicate your strategy. 

Minimize your focus on your partner’s sideline to prevent your opponents from anticipating your moves.

Neglecting Effective Communication and Coordination:

Proper communication and coordination with your partner are vital for a successful Bert shot. Lack of coordination can lead to misjudgment and missed opportunities. 

Make sure to have pre-game discussions regarding Bert shot possibilities to ensure both partners are prepared and on the same page. This will enable smooth execution and maximize your chances of success.

Violating Boundaries and Faulting:

Staying within the boundaries is crucial to avoid faults. Any contact with the kitchen line or non-volley zone line can result in a fault. It’s essential to maintain awareness of the court’s boundaries and ensure that you don’t step on or brush against these lines during the execution of the Bert shot.

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The Bert shot in pickleball is a unique and strategic maneuver that can significantly enhance a player’s gameplay. It is a variation of the Erne shot, named after Erne Perry, a skilled player who popularized this technique. 

While the Erne shot is executed on your own side of the court, the Bert shot takes place on your partner’s half, adding an element of surprise and excitement to the game. 

The strategic advantages of using the Bert shot include exerting pressure on opponents, distracting them, and creating opportunities for your team. 

To successfully execute a Bert shot, effective communication and coordination with your partner are essential. 

It is also crucial to avoid common mistakes such as stepping on the kitchen line, failing to anticipate opponents’ shots, telegraphing your move, neglecting communication and coordination, and violating boundaries. 

By mastering the Erne shot and progressing to the Bert shot, players can elevate their skills and increase their chances of success on the pickleball court.

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Michael Stevenson

Michael Stevenson

Hi, my name is Michael Stevenson and I’m a passionate pickleball player. I’ve been playing the game for many years and I’m pretty highly skilled at it. Pickleball is one of my favorite topics so naturally, I love to write about it.

Whether it’s tips for beginners, guides for experts, reviews of new paddles, or advanced playing techniques – if it relates to pickleball then I have something interesting to write about it. So if you’re looking for entertaining and informative information on the topic of pickleball, look no further than my written works!