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Serena Williams’ Training Secrets: Big X Drill

With people now having the ability to spend more time with outside activities—emphasizing appropriate Covid-19 safety measures—such as social distancing, one activity that can afford fitness and fun is tennis.

Tennis is characterized by intermittent (stop and go) change of direction movements—alternating short bouts of high-intensity runs (4-10 seconds) with short recovery periods (10-20 seconds). Quick-burst speed and change of direction are prerequisites to success. The dominating factor, as attested to by tennis great, Roger Federer, is footwork and fitness.

The tennis serve is the only stroke in tennis, where the player has control from the start. It’s a game changer, when effectively managed. Increasing serve speed and accuracy is the ultimate objective.

Over the next three weeks, April and I will show you techniques I’ve used with world champion tennis great Serena Williams to maximize her on-court movement mechanics and serve power—the Big X Drill, Serve and Reverse Serve Skill Simulation, and Tennis Serve Acceleration (Shot Throw).

Big X Drill: (on-court or field with or without a tennis racquet)

Set up a 10-yard square box—with markers at each corner and one marker in the center, which would serve as the mid-point of the back line on a tennis court. You will simulate running diagonally to one corner and simulating a return of a drop-shot from your opponent at the net or adjacent to the corner marker. Turn and side-shuffle back to the mid-point, as if awaiting your opponent’s return shot.

Accelerate from the mid-marker to behind the back line (a deep return) in a diagonal line, as if returning a corner shot or sky ball from above. Simulate a return shot. Run back to the mid-marker—awaiting the opponent’s next shot.

Take 20-seconds recovery and repeat to the opposite side. Try 4-6 repetitions

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

Mackie and April share exercises every Wednesday on WWL-TV