Serena Williams Masterclass Video Course Review
Serena Williams has recently released a full tennis instructional video course on Masterclass.com.
I've had a chance to review the course and wanted to share my thoughts on it.
(Disclosure: The links in this article are affiliate links which means that if you follow them and decide to purchase the course, I receive a small commission.)
My first impression is that it's highly professionally developed with high quality video and multiple cameras shooting Serena Williams from different angles.
The website experience is also very efficient with simple, clean and intuitive navigation and movements through various lessons.
Serena's video course includes 10 lessons:
- Groundstroke Fundamentals
- Mastering Groundstrokes
- Controlling the Court
- Mental Toughness
- Net Play
- Game Day
- Making of a Winner
- The Serve
Currently you can also download the workbook on the serve which includes key instructions and suggested drills for improving your tennis serve.
You are also able to comment and ask questions in each lesson and possibly even receive an answer from the great Serena Williams herself.
Learning Groundstrokes From Serena
The first two major lessons after the introduction focus on groundstrokes which we all know are Serena's weapons as she can hit winners off her forehand and backhand side with ease as soon as she sets her self up in a good position.
Here are some key instructions from Serena that I really liked. These are real gems in terms of learning the strokes if you really pay attention to what she says.
She instructs the viewer to:
- Turn well on the forehand when preparing and use your body weight going into the shot when hitting the forehand rather than using your arm a lot
- Keep your elbow high on the follow-through so that you can lift the ball easily over the net
- Complete long follow-through as this helps you play the ball deep
- Keep your head still even after contact because this helps you stay balanced throughout the stroke
- To improve your two-handed backhand, have someone feed you balls and hit them only with your non-dominant hand (left for righthanders) as backhand is all about your non-dominant hand
Serena also shares her views on top spin on groundstrokes, specifically why it's so important to impart it and how she creates it.
Next she discusses the importance of quick footwork and how she was inspired by Muhammad Ali's movements in the boxing ring.
Of course, she doesn't forget the split step and why staying low when moving is critical for balance and power of her strokes.
Serena mentions how her dad taught her open stance on both forehand and backhand side and how it saves her one extra step on the recovery.
Mental Toughness Tips From Serena
Serena believes 70% of high level tennis is mental and she says she won all of her Grand Slam finals because of her mental toughness.
Here are some golden nuggets from this section:
- Get in your opponent's head so that they start doubting their ability to win this match.
- Being physically very fit can take your mental game to a whole new level.
- Imagine being 15:30 down and having a second serve only in practice.
- When trying to come back in the match remember it's not the end of the world - take a deep breath and play one point at a time.
- Get the fear out of you by hitting the ball as hard as you can – even if you miss a couple of shots, the fear will eventually disappear.
- Stay very serious and focused during practice - and that's same mindset will be transferred to matches.
- Being angry prevents you from thinking clearly, so it's imperative to calm down.
- Forget about mistakes; don't keep them in your mind, but simply learn from them.
The Serena Serve
Serena's serve is one of her biggest weapons. While she has excellent serving technique, she credits her power to throwing a LOT of balls when she was young.
Her dad recognized early that having a good throwing ability contributes massively to the ability to hit powerful serves so he had Serena and Venus throw thousands of footballs to develop efficient throwing motion.
Serena says that after a few years doing that she could throw the ball almost as well as a football quarterback!
And from my standpoint as a tennis coach that's really important as there is much analytical technical instruction that falsely makes players believe that if only they copy a pro's serve technique correctly, they will also serve a powerful serve.
In reality it's about developing proper biomechanics through throwing and similar exercises where we train the body's ability to quickly and efficiently accelerate the arm.
Serena shares her tips on the toss especially when to release the ball, how to practice it and how to troubleshoot your toss if it goes off.
You will also learn:
- why a high contact point is important for power and consistency,
- how to vary your serve depending on the surface and your opponent's skills,
- how to hit an effective second serve,
- how to add power to your serve,
- and many more useful serving tips.
Serena Williams' Masterclass course includes many more sections and very useful advice on how to improve your game.
I've pointed out only the ones that really stood out for me and that you can quickly apply to your game because of their simplicity.
In this course Serena does not analyze every bit of her technique by breaking it down bit by bit and therefore making it very complicated which is what you can find nowadays a lot on Youtube.
There are many online tennis instructors who in their desire to simplify the game analyze every small detail of stroke technique and in the process unfortunately make it much more complicated than it is.
Serena obviously knows how she hits her strokes and her explanations of fundamentals are easy to follow and understand.
What she emphasizes though is that you need to master these fundamentals through lots of practice rather than look for more analytical instruction if your strokes don't work well.
In summary, I'd like to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by Serena's willingness to record an instructional video course and be so generous with her time and her insider tips on how she deals with pressure, how she works on her strokes, how she prepares for the match and many more.
I would definitely recommend Serena Williams' Masterclass course to any tennis enthusiast who would like to hear the stroke technique fundamentals, mental and tactical advice and many more tips from someone who really walks her talk and doesn't over-complicate her approach to this beautiful game of tennis.