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Sports & Gaming

Advanced Net Play

Serena Williams

Lesson time 8:40 min

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

Serena Williams
Teaches Tennis
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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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...

Learn Serena's Technique

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.


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

I have learned everything by a champion whom I like to watch very much. Gives me a lot of information of different sessions.

Many notes taken, but I would have enjoyed some more detailed notes on the serve and controlling the toss. I appreciate some insight into her process and practices.

Since I am not a tennis player, I enjoyed Serena's discussions about the mental aspect of the game and how she handles that.

The class has helped me understand how to work on different areas of the game as well as give insights like tips and tricks to help improve my game of tennis.


Rachel C.

It's a generous insight into a professional athlete's method on how to deal with frustration and how to reframe your perspective in adversity, pull back to concentrate on the here and now and form a repeating micro-strategy of how you're going to recover the situation. Focus, refocus.

Dan U.

Use your opponents power to block. But what if the ball is moving nine miles an hours if?

Antoinette C.

I just love how you inspired me to own my personal record in anything I set out to do now... I had always been calling it "time efficiency" or "efficiency expert" but it really is just me setting my standards higher for myself.

Paul F.

I have new appreciation for Serena as she has responded from adversity and injuries. Not always am I able to play at 100%, but some of my best games have been at less than 100%. Trying to stay focused on the ball is a big problem for me, but these videos are a great help.

Paty G.

The "boxer" feet movement, gets you ready for any shot. Placing the ball is so key, however, in the moment I find myself on "self-defense ", instead of defense. Serena you are in my head on the court, so much knowledge. Now, "Perfect thy Practise".

A fellow student

I was excited to hear that Serena was going to serve and volley more often. I started playing tennis in the late 50s. I saw Billy Jean King and Pancho Gonzales play tennis at the Cow Palace south of San Francisco. It was exciting to see his net play. When I played on my high school tennis team I could place my serves, hit a mid court volley and then come to the net. I never did have a good forehand. My back hand was better than most but nobody now approves of the way I held my racket. Now that I am retired I have started to play again. The racquets and the game have changed so much. Serena's instructions on creating a top spin on my forehand has been inspiring.

A fellow student

Gosh, my volleys need some help and I really believe that the advice given will help! Thank you Serena! I have a question though, why is it that when I come in off of a nice approach, my opponent still seems to hit a passing shot?

Brad D.

How does not looking at the ball first help Serena to pre-emptively stop her opponents from responding to her volley? What are some other great ways to pre-empt your opponents?