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Sports & Games

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 was really inspired by how Serena puts a lot of focus on perfecting her game than over-analyzing the opponent. I've learned how humble and gentle a person she can be off court, yet be the most focused power-player on court. I was surprised to know she cut out red meat completely; I am also going to try this to increase my energy level throughout the day. Thank you Serena, thank you Masterclass!

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.

I think Serena reinforced in my mind that improving in tennis is a matter of hard work and focus. There are no shortcuts. It still comes down to the basic principles that we have all been taught, but those who have the right goals, commitment and work ethic will be successful.

I applied Serena’s advice on the court. It might not have made me instantly better, but I had a mission and confident to try something new.


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