Sports & Gaming

Advanced Net Play

Serena Williams

Lesson time 08:39 min

Serena rarely comes to the net, but when she does, she makes it count. Learn proper approach, volley, and smash techniques.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Approaching the Net • Approach Shot • Volley • Overhead


Net play is really, really key. I'm definitely not a player that is at the net often, so-- but I do have a good record in doubles, and I do come to the net I make it count. So I would advise for anyone it's important to come to the net. Sometimes if you see your opponent on the run, or they hit a high ball, you can come take a swing volley. There's so many players doing that now. And you can definitely come in and take the next ball out there. When you come to the net, your positioning should be ideally somewhere between halfway between the service line and the net. You don't want to be too much closer than that, because your opponent can lob over you. And you don't want to be too much behind that point, because your opponent can angle on you. You also want to follow and shadow your opponent. So if your opponent runs to the backhand side, you also want to move a little bit with them to the backhand side, because the majority of the time your opponent tries to pass up the line. [MUSIC PLAYING] [TENNIS BALL HITTING RACKET] The rules that I have when I decide to come to the net is like if I hit it good shot then I might venture to the net. Or if I see my opponent on the run I might venture to the net. Or if I see my opponent hit a high ball, then I'm definitely going to try to go to the net sometimes and take that out of the air. [TENNIS BALL HITTING RACKET] There are times you should never go to the net. Maybe if you have a really weak, weak shot, it's really not a good play to go to the net. But at the same time you can kind of throw your opponent off. I've played players who I'll have big easy overhead to put away and they'll actually move forward. And that kind of closes the court off for me. So I don't know if there's a reason not to come to the net or a scenario not to come to the net. [MUSIC PLAYING] [TENNIS BALL HITTING RACKET] One of the most important things in a backhand approach shot and one of the most important things in a forehand approach shot and one of the things that I'm still working on trying to do well is making sure when you approach to stop, hit the ball, and then run. Don't run through the shot. This is really important in terms of making the shot. I hit an approach shot when I want to come to the net, usually when I get a short ball and when my opponent is at the baseline. It's really important not to get too excited and come to the net too quickly. You have to run fast, but yet do a split step, and then be ready for the next shot. [MUSIC PLAYING] [TENNIS BALL HITTING RACKET] One drill I would suggest for you to do is to stay at the net and just hit volleys back and forth. What I often do is I have a hitter, or someone that I'm hitting with, and we both are at the net and we just volley to each other. This really is able to get you to have faster hands, and this also makes you be able to see the ball better and ha...

About the Instructor

Serena Williams, the world's #1 ranked women's tennis player and winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, teaches you tennis and reveals the secrets of her game. This is as close as you can get to a private lesson with one of the world's greatest tennis players.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Serena Williams

Step up your game with two hours of the techniques, drills, and mental skills that made Serena the best in the world.

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