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Postcards from Wimbledon | Mackie Shilstone

Monday was the first day of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Serena Williams plays Tuesday against Georgian-born American Anna Tatishvili, whom she faced only once before last season on clay.

On Monday, we practiced from 10-11 a.m. During the practice, she used one of my on-court drills in which she must return shots alternating to a small area on each corner of the singles court.

Her target is a small area inside a set of 5 cones on each side of the singles court, where she must shuffle into position – firing 20 returns on target in less than 1 minute with 30 seconds recovery.

If you have not seen the movie “Captain Philips,” in which Navy Seal snipers on-board a moving destroyer must pick off three Somali pirates holding the captain hostage, you might night appreciate the drill.

In my past, I volunteered to help a SEAL team. Quite amazing what you learn from those that serve – fire for accuracy. Remember,  while speed is impressive, accuracy kills.

It’s all about the mental game at this point.

Mackie Shilstone, a regular contributor to | The Times-Picayune, has been involved in the wellness sports performance industry for nearly 40 years. He is currently the fitness coach for Serena Williams, has trained numerous other professional athletes and consulted a litany of professional sports franchises. He is St. Charles Parish Hospital’s Fitness and Wellness expert. Contact him at

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