Sports & Gaming

Mastering The Serve

Serena Williams

Lesson time 17:16 min

Serena’s serve is legendary. Weaponize your serve as Serena teaches you the mechanics that power 128mph of pure genius.

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

Topics include: Clear Mind • Toss • Form • Contact Point • Pronation • Second Serve • Variety • Adding Power • Hitting Aces


Serving is the only shot where you have complete control of, so when I take the court, and I'm about to serve, it is the only shot in tennis where everything relies on me. In that moment, you have to decide whether you're going to go for a big serve, or do I want to go for a serve to get the ball back in play and start a ground stroke? I think the serve is probably one of the hardest shots in tennis, because with the ground stroke, you can use your opponent's pace, or you can get set up, but with the serve, you have to create your own pace. You have to create everything, and it comes from you. So it takes a lot of effort to have a really good serve, and for me, to put in a really good serve. Practice is vital, I think, to getting your serve down. I remember when I was younger, my sister and I and my dad, he had this huge shopping cart of balls. And me and Venus would stand in the middle, and we would just serve the whole shopping cart. [MUSIC PLAYING] Before a serve, it's really important to clear your mind, because when you serve, you're starting your point. So you see a lot of players that bounce the ball several times, and those professional players, they're clear in their mind and think, OK, I'm going to serve this direction, and after that, I'm going to expect it to go here, so I know where to hit the next shots. I do bounce the ball five times before my first serve, two times before my second serve. I started a long time ago, and I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think the key to improving your serve is really going to be your toss. Getting your toss to be consistent is a great easy exercise, one of my favorites as it involves zero cardio. So what you do is you just stand in a serving position, and you toss the ball up, and you make sure it always lands in the same line as your arm. So your arm is straight as you toss it up. And repeat 50 times. That's my basic point of serving. Of course, I always make sure I try to get the toss when I connect with the ball. I try to make sure I have a good contact point with the connection, and it seems really easy to describe, but it is very difficult. If a student's having trouble on your serve, what I think is really important to visualize yourself hitting a better serve, but also really see where your toss is, because if your toss is too far to the right or to far to the left or too far in front of you, then you're going to have trouble. Incidentally, I've had some trouble recently with my serve. It was all due to the toss. Once I corrected my toss, I was able to have a much more consistent serve and a more reliable serve. To keep your serve consistent, a good way is to make sure you release the ball right as your hand comes closer to your head. So when your arm is going upwards, and your hand is closer to your head, that's when you want to release the ball. After 3...

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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