Before you quit tennis due to shoulder pain, try this.

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by lendl1986, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    Is serving a tennis ball so painful that you’ve considered surgery or quitting the game altogether?

    Since I tore the labrum in my right shoulder, serving with that arm causes significant pain the following day. But I recently developed an adequate left handed serve which may allow me to play matches and avoid surgery. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can make this switch, if you take it step-by-step.

    In about 3.5 hours, you can develop an adequate (but not powerful) serve that will “serve” you just fine at the 3.0 – 4.0 level.


    Switch your serving arm with these 4 exercises:

    1. Baseball throws (10 minutes). Throw a ball against a wall with a baseball pitcher motion. Be loose, snap your wrist, and try not to throw hard.
    2. “Frying pan” bunts from the service line (30 minutes). Grab the racquet with the same grip you’d use to pick up a frying pan. Choke up on the racquet, and bunt balls into the opposite service box. This helps to develop “feel” for placing the ball on the sweet spot.
    3. Practice making contact from the “backscratch” position (1 hour) against a fence. This will be awkward. You will miss the ball completely and shank many off the frame. But continue until you can reliably place the strings on the ball…regardless of where that ball goes. Avoid the temptation hit the ball hard.
    4. Serve in the “backscratch” position from the baseline (2 hours). At first, just “lob” in your serves to get a feel for the location of the service box. Avoid rotating the shoulders and hips. Don’t bend your the knees. Just focus on your arm motion only. Only swing harder when you can reliably make 6 serves in a row.

    Focus on contact first and accuracy second.

    The first attempt I made to switch my service arm failed quickly. I took a bucket of balls to the baseline and tried to replicate my entire motion–arm, shoulders, hips, and legs–at once. That’s too many moving parts! I shanked ball after ball and gave up in 30 minutes.

    My second attempt “stuck” because I broke the task into 4 achievable goals. Once I could reliably find the sweet spot on the racket, it wasn’t much work to direct the ball into the service box.
    You need less service pace than you think as a 3.0 – 4.0 player.

    I’ve tested my lefty serve in a few matches and found it’s not the crippling weakness I worried it would be because I:

    1. Don’t double fault.
    2. Keep the ball low.
    3. Can direct to the backhand or forehand.

    Yes, I must be extra alert for my opponent’s service return, but I’m coping fine. And my shoulder feels wonderful.

    Watch the video: how I made the switch.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3McSblMhBgo

    Read the complete article, and more articles to improve your tennis on my blog:
    http://volleycam.com/cure-tennis-shoulder-pain-switch-your-serving-arm
     
    #1
  2. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Sorry to hear to you have shoulder problems, but thank you for sharing how to develop a left handed serve.
     
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  3. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    Interesting.

    Any reason you don't want to get your shoulder repaired?

    What happens if something happens to your other shoulder?
     
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  4. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    Surgery is $12k. No tennis for 6 months. Can't work @ 100% for 5 months.

    So...it's worth pursuing the left arm serve first.

    Left shoulder won't fail because I lift light weights to prevent a failure. Plus I've given up on hitting 100 mph+ serves. :)
     
    #4
  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How much will insurance pay?
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I tried playing right handed multiple times thru the years, due to shoulder injuries of the left side from falling off motocycles or bicycles.
    As a 4.0 lefty, I can hold my own in 3.5 playing exclusively rightie.
    OTOH, most lefties have had to adapt to a rightie world, so it's no biggee.
     
    #6
  7. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    Gotcha..

    How'd you tear your shoulder labrum in the first place?
     
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  8. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    I tried a few groundstrokes lefty for fun, the FH wasn't bad surprisingly!

    The 2HBH was just....wrong....lol....

    Never tried the serve...
     
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  9. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    Surgery is $26k.

    I pay $12k.

    Insurance pays $14k.

    Court fees...coaching...strings...are pennies compared to the cost of a tennis injury.

    Be smart, and stay healthy.
     
    #9
  10. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Sh*t, I'm sorry for you. Sometimes I feel fortunate I live in France. And yet, people still ***** about how they are less and less reimbursed (they're not totally wrong though).
     
    #10
  11. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Hmm... what kind of insurance do you have?

    I had an extensive SLAP repair and decompression done 3 years ago and paid $400 out of pocket for the surgery. It would have been only $150, but I went out of network to an Ortho of my choosing (a top doc in my area who works on pro baseball/football players). Rehab was $20 per visit, which I did frequently for the first 3 months, then did the rest on my own with monthly check-ins. I ended up around $1,500 total. Not pennies, but no where near $12k.

    Now, I'm not pushing surgery as a first option. I did therapy for 8 months before going under the knife, but with success rates being what they are today, better to fix the problem than just not use that arm.
     
    #11
  12. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    I'm self-employed, with 3 kids. Don't get much for my $800 a month.

    May eventually get surgery, but I feel great since switching the serving arm.
     
    #12
  13. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I was also self-employed, 2 kids, paid $915 per month and had no deductibles and low copays. You should shop for better coverage. There are not a lot of choices, but there are some.

    Here's a tip: shop for the highest premium plan with lowest deductible and out of pocket. Come tax time, you can claim 100% of your premiums, but will not likely reach the threshold to claim out of pocket costs. I negotiated with my insurance company to pay more in premiums and less out of pocket for that reason.
     
    #13
  14. Panangga

    Panangga New User

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    How are your groundstrokes using the left hand.

    Thanks for the tips for serving.
     
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  15. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    I use my right hand on groundstrokes without shoulder pain.
     
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