changed serving motion, but now pain

tom-selleck

Professional
i changed my serving motion and it has improved my serving game..... more wrist pronation. doing more kicking motion and more spin.

anyhow, when i used to just throw the ball up and hit it, i never ever had shoulder pain.... now, seems like i have alot of shoulder pain.... talked to some people and said it's natural.

a bunch of questions:

1) is shoulder pain fairly common??? i.e. is that why baseball pitchers ice down the arm so much??? could never figure out why their arms needed 4 days rest.

2) seems like wrist action is really felt in the shoulder... which is surprising???

3) where is rotator cuff? side of shoulder or front where arm connects to body??

4) is serving motion a natural motion? i mean, if you tell kids to throw ball up and hit it, will they come close to the proper motion??? i think NO

5) how can i tell if i'm doing damage to my shoulder vs. "normal" pain??? i know rotator cuff can be very nasty.

thanks in advance..... and don't feel you need to answer all questions.... just looking to share experiences.
 

donnyz89

Hall of Fame
i changed my serving motion and it has improved my serving game..... more wrist pronation. doing more kicking motion and more spin.

I have gone through a couple service motion changes in the past year and each time it made more sense and my service got better and better and more constant.
anyhow, when i used to just throw the ball up and hit it, i never ever had shoulder pain.... now, seems like i have alot of shoulder pain.... talked to some people and said it's natural.
Yes, I think its natrual to feel pain when serving because unlike a ground stroke, you use your arm more when serving with less help from your body comparing to a forehand where you can really rotate your hips to not overwork your arm.



1) is shoulder pain fairly common??? i.e. is that why baseball pitchers ice down the arm so much??? could never figure out why their arms needed 4 days rest.
i dont know fairly, but if i practice serve for a while it might ache a little bit.
2) seems like wrist action is really felt in the shoulder... which is surprising???
hum... i gotta go outside and try that.

3) where is rotator cuff? side of shoulder or front where arm connects to body??
cant answer that sry...

4) is serving motion a natural motion? i mean, if you tell kids to throw ball up and hit it, will they come close to the proper motion??? i think NO
no way, no one launches into a ball or stand sideways or snap their wrist when hitting into a tennis ball if they never learned before, no way. throwing a baseball is closer.
5) how can i tell if i'm doing damage to my shoulder vs. "normal" pain??? i know rotator cuff can be very nasty.
good luck, cant help with that either...

Maybe you are not doing everything right. make sure you are relaxed when you serve, DO NOT GRIP the racquet too tight. notice roger federer's service motion, seems like hes putting no force on his racquet as hes getting rdy to hit. it should not be like a forehand, its a different way of using power. followthrough and use your legs are also important. its definitly more energy consuming to serve if you just use your arms, maybe thats what is causing your pain, too much arm. you shouldnt grip too tight until your racquet makes contact with the ball thats when you explode.

hope i helped!
 

tom-selleck

Professional
donny, thanks..... curious about one comment... when you mentioned baseball throw, did you mean that's more natural? or that tennis serve is like baseball throw??? i assume you meant baseball throw is natural... i used to serve like baseball throw and never, ever any pain (unless you count the emotional pain of double-faults LOL).

surprised that i can feel the wrist pronation in my shoulder muscles.... but baseball pitchers have huge problems with rotator cuff and that's all got to with wrist snap i assume (i know snap/pronation not the same, but probably the same mucles).... i would have assumed tricep feels it more from wrist pronation/snap, but it seems like it shoulder (rotator cuff??)
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
donnyz89 said:
Yes, I think its natrual to feel pain when serving because unlike a ground stroke, you use your arm more when serving with less help from your body comparing to a forehand where you can really rotate your hips to not overwork your arm.

Don't think it is, neither in the elbow nor in the shoulder. The serve should be a fast relaxed lashing motion.

Something is amiss about their condition or about your technique.

My serving sessions are about 150 balls and if something is paining me after that, I am thinking about what I did lately in terms of conditioning, or if I exagerated anything. And my racket is 410g.
 

donnyz89

Hall of Fame
yea, i mean when u let someone throw a baseball, its more likely they will get the right motion than tennis.

I think that baseball players use their whole arm when throwing a baseball, i dont know anything about how to throw a baseball but for tennis I think your not actually swinging your arm but snaping your wrist as you launch up and use your body to snap into the ball not your arm. so instead of swing your arm through the ball, use your body more. of course, i dont mean dont use your arm at all but putting it in perspective of throwing a baseball. i hope i make a little bit of sense.
 

tom-selleck

Professional
marius, but then why are baseball pitchers icing their arms and taking 4 days rest between starts??? i never really find my arm "tired" the next day, but i guess baseball pitchers are performing with such low tolerances . ..... you're probably right though, only recently that i have pain (might be too strong a word).... only after i try to work in more wrist action.

marius, i always appreciate your contributions.
 

FREDDY

Semi-Pro
damn my serve is sweet. i just got it. american twist. its reliable and quick to the ace. try it out.
 

Noelle

Hall Of Fame
Reminder about "wrist snap"

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=247909&postcount=40
fastdunn said:
Look at this article.

http://www.coachesinfo.com/category/tennis/212/#3

Forearm extension, pronation and "hand flexion" constitutes
about 70% of final speed.

I think wrist flex will occur simply because there is a joint there.
But it would happen naturally as a result of loose arm and its
whipping action via pronation. It would lead into a bad result
if you try to snap it consciously. That's how I interpreted BB's
advice.....
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
tom-selleck,

IMO the pain is not natural. But since the onset of pain came when you added pronation, it sounds like you're probably over pronating. With an extended arm at contact, forcing pronation of the forearm transfers that rotation through the elbow and upper arm until it is finally stopped by the internal rotation limit of the upper arm in the shoulder girdle. That sudden stop of the internal rotation of the upper arm, in the shoulder joint is probably causing your pain.

It's what a martial arts practitioner does when applying wrist/arm control/compliance techniques on an adversary. Alot of those techniques involve internal rotation (twist) of an adversary's wrist w/ a straight arm, which when cranked up, create excruciating pain in the adversary's shoulder, until released, hence the adversary's compliance. While serving, if over-pronating, you're doing same thing, in a ballistic motion, over and over. Keep it up and you could develop one of the "itis's" of the shoulder or risk acute serious injury. Stop over-pronating and the pain will probably stop. Then re-build the motion, making sure all the links in the kinetic chain are contributing in sequence then allow the pronation to occur more naturally instead of forcing it past your body's natural limits. Relax the arm and allow the pronation to square the racquet face, not to supply all the pace.

If the pain doesn't subside quickly, seek out a sports orthopedic.

Good Luck.
 

tom-selleck

Professional
five-o, thanks, i'll try to watch it..... good news is that i'm really focussed on going really high to hit the serve and it seems to help...... had been frustrating (and probably will be again) because double-faults are holding me back from going to a much higher level (and alternative seems to be patty cake serve, get killed at my current level).

interesting that my tennis pro and the best player i know just go overboard on the wrist pronation (snap???)..... like they are obsessed with it.

but i really appreciate your comments and i think i can do o.k. with very high contact and working alot of side spin (i'm a lefty)
 

tom-selleck

Professional
also five-0..... i really enjoyed your judo/karate example... you'll probably notice i mention golf and baseball alot. i think we can learn alot about movement and ball contact from other sports.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
tom-selleck,

For clarity, pronation IS an important link in the kinetic chain of the serve.

It's OVER pronating that is potentially hazardous and what I feel your body (shoulder) is letting you know about.

Good luck.
 
Keep your grip EXTREMELY loose. What you are probably doing, as others have said, is FORCE the pronation, which is not the correct action.
The pronation cannot be "muscled". Start VERY RELAXED with the grip and just let the racket release at contact, don't force it. Make it a check point EACH TIME YOU SERVE that your grip is very relaxed. Don't worry, it will tighten up automatically on contact without you even thinking about it.
 

tom-selleck

Professional
FiveO said:
tom-selleck,

For clarity, pronation IS an important link in the kinetic chain of the serve.

It's OVER pronating that is potentially hazardous and what I feel your body (shoulder) is letting you know about.

Good luck.

Five0, i appreciate it.......... i meant that my tennis pro and the best player i know are completely obsessed with pronation, so that's where i got it from............. will try to relax and work on other key fundamentals like high contact point.
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
Pitchers ice their shoulders down because it prevents too much blood flow in the injured area and yes, the body treats an overworked muscle like an injury. The shoulder heals much quicker as a result of the lack of swelling and the pitcher is ready to go sooner than if he had not iced down the sore shoulder.
 

tom-selleck

Professional
played tennis...... relaxed my wrist and pain is gone or sudsided greatly......... unfortunately, i liked my serve alot when i was muscling it (more control). i think loose flowing swing takes alot of practice.
 

TommyGun

Semi-Pro
You ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT FEEL PAIN WHEN SERVING! Whatever change you made was bad, and I suggest you stop it immediately!

As a long time coach and player, I have never felt pain in my shoulder, wrist or elbow. Because my technique was sound and my motion biomechaninally correct.

I suspect you are holding the racquet with a forehand grip when serving, and that alone combined with your new motion is stressing the shoulder too much. I had a player on my college team two years ago had similar problems and almost lost his ability to play. I caught it in time and was able to correct it before he needed surgery.

t-gun
 
tom-selleck said:
played tennis...... relaxed my wrist and pain is gone or sudsided greatly......... unfortunately, i liked my serve alot when i was muscling it (more control). i think loose flowing swing takes alot of practice.

How have you lost control? Long? In the net? Wild?

The relaxation of the wrist should give you more spin which should equal more control.
 

alan-n

Professional
Thereallovebone said:
How have you lost control? Long? In the net? Wild?

The relaxation of the wrist should give you more spin which should equal more control.

Not really. Relaxation of wrist will relieve stress and allow it to pronate more freely, even faster = more racket head speed.... you still have to gauge / "feel" how much you are hitting through or brushing up on the ball by combination of leg drive and pronation.
 

tom-selleck

Professional
Thereallovebone said:
How have you lost control? Long? In the net? Wild?

The relaxation of the wrist should give you more spin which should equal more control.

relaxed = long and wild in my case..... when i shorten it up and muscle it, i can move around at will and get aces just from placement and moderate pace. for some reason, i can't do that in a relaxed way.
 
Top