Nasty Nelson Shot

Want to improve your pickleball score with some spectacular shots? The nasty nelson might be your hidden weapon, a shot that not only keeps your opponent guessing but also keeps you in possession of the ball.

Before explaning the nasty nelson, it’s important to grasp what this shot entails. In essence, the nasty nelson pickleball shot is performed when the server purposely leads the ball toward their opponent’s closest area.

However, mastering the nasty nelson shot takes more than a simple awareness. We’ll dig into the intricate details of the nasty nelson shot in this detailed guide, bringing you useful insights. In addition, I’ll give some top-notch to help you improve your nasty nelson shots, ensuring you stay one step ahead of your rivals.

What Is a “Nasty Nelson” in Pickleball?

A Nasty Nelson, sometimes known as a “Nasty Erne Nelson,” is a shot in which the server serves the ball intending to hit the opposing player closest to the net, generally the one who is not receiving the serve. If the serving ball hits the receiving team before it bounces, the receiving team commits a fault and the serving team wins the point.

The Nasty Erne Nelson derives its name from the Erne and the Nelson, where Erne is shot and Tim Nelson is a professional pickleball player known for his contentious style of play. He often uses this shot to catch his opponents off guard and frighten them, and he marks his points with a puppeteer hand motion.

Nasty Nelson in pickleball
Nasty Nelson in pickleball

The nasty nelson shot, considered the easiest way to get a point in pickleball, poses a unique challenge to the opponent. When a server does the nasty nelson, the opponent must respond with a return shot without allowing the ball to hit the ground—a skill that adds a unique dimension to the game.

How to Avoid Getting Hit with the Nasty Nelson

Considering the Nasty Nelson as a possible game-changer that no player wants to be a victim of, everyone on the court is looking for tactics to avoid this unfavorable event.

Today, I’ll present a series of crucial tips that will certainly enhance your defense against the Nasty Nelson serve, keeping you safe from any possible risks.

Avoid Getting Hit with the Nasty Nelson
Avoid Getting Hit with the Nasty Nelson

Be Attentive During the Service

To prevent feeling the “awkwardness” of falling prey to a Nasty Nelson and dropping a point, it’s important to be conscious and alert during the serve. People who wind up on the receiving end of the spectrum are usually those who are caught daydreaming or are not attentive at the moment.

Optimal Positioning is Key

In pickleball, the value of being physically and mentally present in pickleball is well understood.

Some players, however, unknowingly ignore this important component. As the serve approaches, make sure that you are not only present but also tactically positioned in the right position.

Optimal Positioning is Key
Optimal Positioning is Key

Avoid the Centerline Trap

Standing too close to the centerline can be a pitfall. It allows the server to complete a standard serve (or even a Nasty Nelson) while retaining the ball within the right service box. Even if you safely avoid the ball, your position may obscure your partner’s perspective, making it difficult for them to return the serve.

Nasty Nelson” in Pickleball


The nasty nelson pickleball shot is truly a significant move in sports. It may both startle and terrify your opponents, earning you points. It is, however, a shot that can backfire and cause trouble. As a result, you should use it rarely and only when you have a clear edge.

The Nasty Nelson is not a popular or well-liked shot. Some might think of it as an excellent and clever shot, while others may consider it as insulting. It is, nevertheless, a shot that exists and may be encountered in pickleball. As a result, you should understand what it is and how to use or deal with it.


Is the Nasty Nelson shot legal in pickleball?

In pickleball, the Nasty Nelson shot is allowed as long as the server does not break any of the serving regulations, such as walking into the non-volley zone, hitting the ball out of bounds, or serving before the score is called.

Who are some famous pickleball players who use the Nasty Nelson shot?

Aside from Tim Nelson, the Nasty Nelson shot’s inventor, famous pickleball players who use this shot include Kyle Yates, Ben Johns, and Simone Jardim.

Why is the Nasty Nelson shot controversial in pickleball?

In pickleball, the Nasty Nelson shot is controversial because it is perceived as an intentional attempt to harm or fright the opponent rather than a display of skills and good sportsmanship.

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