Sports & Gaming

Mastering Groundstrokes

Serena Williams

Lesson time 10:17 min

Master baseline play with advanced footwork, backhand and troubleshooting techniques that Serena uses to challenge any opponent.

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

Topics include: Footwork • Open Stance • Improving Backhand • Troubleshooting


After you've practiced the basics for groundstrokes, you can start mastering these techniques. Start with your footwork. A good way to work on your footwork is to watch some boxing. If you look at boxers, they all have wonderful footwork. They're moving fast. They move in and out, and it's very similar to what you want to do and what you want to be in tennis. I'm really inspired by a lot of people-- one of them being Muhammad Ali. I never really watched him. I was far too young, but I watched a film of him. And I was able to learn his story, and I loved his footwork. And I thought, "Well, if I could incorporate that footwork on the tennis court, how good would I be?" Like, he never stopped moving his feet. So that really inspired me. When you finish watching those videos, you try it on the court and just always try to dance around on the court and constantly have your feet moving. There is one good footwork drill that you contract every day. Be in a low, squatted position and just move your feet up and down really, really, really fast and before you start the point. Then you can start the point right after you are in this position. That way, you'll always have good footwork. A split step is very important for you to do because it helps you to regain your balance if you're doing a lot of movement. And also, it helps you to be able to get good footwork to be able to be in position to hit either a forehand or a backhand. The split step is a simple jump in the air and landing on a balance point with your legs out. In order for me to work on getting lower, if you want to work on getting more low, you have to do it in practice. You have just virtually staying in a squat until your legs are burning. If they're not burning, you're not working. I don't usually use my legs as much. I don't get low as well as I want to. So that's something that I'm still working on and striving to do is to use my legs a little more. That way, I can be even more powerful. [MUSIC PLAYING] [MUSIC PLAYING] My dad taught me the open stance. He got a lot of flak for it, actually. No one had really done it before, and people told him that it was impossible to do and it didn't make sense. But he insisted that Venus and I did the open stance, and he insisted that I-- and to this day, when he's on the court. He's always like, "Serena, you need to make sure you use your open stance." So for me, when I use the open stance, it makes a lot of sense because I can be on the run and I can be on the-- in a last position. But if my outside leg is here, then I can hit the ball. Obviously, I want to get my weight into the ball. But if I can't-- if I'm not set up and I can't get my weight into the ball, I can still hit from this position without losing the court. So I can hit with open stance. But if I do this, I'm losing-- I'll lose extra steps. Lik...

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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