This was a question asked to Julius Menendez, Muhammad Ali’s Olympic Coach by Bud Winter, author of his fantastic book called ‘Relax and Win’:
Question: Did Ali have any special exercise or tricks to get relaxed, or was he mostly born with the ability to relax?
Answer: Well, I am not sure he had any tricks. His relaxation sort of developed with his great training. He did a lot of shadow boxing where he constantly stayed loose when there was no pressure on. In shadow boxing, you develop a rhythm that is very important in aiding relaxation. You know, Ali is a dancer, constantly moving around, and he has for a big man, very quick reflexes. All this comes from his “floating like a butterfly” practice. He shadow boxed a lot like this.
Dear readers….You see I am a huge fan of shadow tennis! And, like the above suggests: Swing your racket (particularly in a warm-up before a match) with confident visualization, relaxation and without pressure. Get the rhythm in your feet (which are so important to have from the get go) and get those feet moving in the MOST TENNIS SPECIFIC TRAINING TECHNIQUE (in my opinion) that exists OFF COURT!