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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.

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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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...

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 don't play tennis, but I can use what she taught us for my daily life. thank you for the help.

very interesting and understandable, now all of that have to be applied and applied

luv it (this is a test from a MasterClass employee)

Thanks Serena! My groundstrokes, serve and volleys have all improved.


Gauri B.

I know she is an amazing player and has lots of variety, skill and power in her shots. Throughout this series, there was little that I could latch on to improve my game.


Except for mastering the service episode I did not find this master class useful.

A fellow student

Thought the serve lesson was the best-- how she thinks about it, when to slice, kick-it, jump into's remarkable how consistent her toss is...every time...

Mary H.

Always interesting to have insight into her process and practices. It was fun to see some early shots of Serena and Venus with their Dad. Since she is still competing and making history-she can't reveal too many secrets.

Christine K.

I thought it was great! Good tips, but also fun getting to know Serena better.

Ellen L.

I would have liked more technical tips. More on how to hit a kick serve, not just how it bounces after you hit it. I did enjoy listening to how she learned and what got her where she is but I wanted more!

A fellow student

Serena is the greatest (so far) but I consider this class medium quality. There are a lot of general chats you can hear from any player and read in many articles, I was expecting more technical and tactical tips (like the serve chapter). I hope to see more tennis coming!

Edwin E.

Enjoyed watching the class and love Serena's attitude. Would have liked more technical insight on specific stroke form and more drills. It also seemed a little sparse on the footage with the hitting partners and showed the same sequences many times.

Natalia V.

Serna Williams' dedication and discipline of her craft at tennis inspires me to sparkle my desire in my passion, focus, and work hard... whilst having fun at the same time. :)

A fellow student

It was a very helpful lesson, I picked up many tips on mastering my serve. Especially the comparison between throwing a ball and swinging the racket was very useful for me to understand the concept