How long should I sit out? Is improper technique the cause?


For those of you who have not read any of my posts, I have just gotten back into the game(roughly 3 weeks ago). After warming up recently I noticed a sharp pain on the back of my shoulder, only when I served, though. I thought that I may have just been tight that day so continued to play. The same thing happend the next time I went out.

Let me describe the pain. It only happens when I am coming forward with my arm on the serve when my upper arm and my forearm are at an accute angles. I can hit my strokes of both wings(even a one handed BH). I can lift my arms without pain. One thing I do notice, which I hear is a sign of a bad rotator cuff, is a clicking when I rotal my arms in windmill. I do not feel any pain from this motion though and the "clicking" is very minimal.

I've sat out roughly 1.5 weeks and am feeling less pain when mimicing that service motion.

1) How much longer should I sit out?
2) Is there a "bad move" in the serve that can cause a pain at the back of the shoulder?
3) If the clicking contiues, without pain should I be worried about it?


So you pretty much have pain in the middle of your service motion? If that's the case, it suggests rotator cuff problem. If you feel or hear clicks, then it's the instability of the rotator cuff. Though your case is different, usually rotator cuff problems (especially impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tears) are on the front part of the shoulder.

But you most likely have rotator cuff problems, with instability being the most obvious, stop everything tennis-related and go see a doctor.
And to answer your 2nd question... "Is improper technique the cause?"

The answer is yes, and no. If you are diagnoised with impingement syndrome, then you're more or less born with it. Someone with impingement syndrome is more prone to have rotator cuff problems/tears.

Bad technique and impingement syndrome = rotator cuff problem waiting to happen
good technique and impingement syndrome = a good chance of having rotator cuff sooner or later

If you dont have impingement syndrome but you have crappy technique, you'll still tear your rotator cuff. Impingement syndrome just makes it more vulnerable.


New User
Sounds exactly what I experienced a week and a half ago. I have not tried to play since. I am laying off tennis for two weeks and I already started with some shoulder exercises suggested by Marius in response to my post.

Check out my recent thread, "Choose: shoulder or playoffs". You can find the link to the shoulder exercises there.

Good luck.
just to add a little something something, to keep your hopes up i guess.

Even if you have the impingement syndrone, your tennis days are not over. I have impingement syndrone, i have already torn a supraspinatus but had it repaired. After the surgery, my rotator cuff is significantly stronger than before. My suggestion is to rest, and then strengthen the hell out of your rotator cuff. A strong rotator cuff should be unaffected even if you have impingement syndrone (for reasons i wont go into, because it's time consuming)

louis netman

Hall of Fame
A good PT can work wonders for your RC, ....then get a Theraband and let him/her show you some RC exercises...then do incremental strength training exercises with light resistance for your shoulder...then go out and hit 120 mph serves!!!


I feel a lot better now. I took 2 weeks off and feel no pain on a simulated service motion. I'll probably give it another week since I have a golf tournament this weekend.

Thanks for all the input,

no pain in simulation does not guarantee no pain in the actual motion. Weight of the racquet, the impact of the ball. No pain simply means the inflammation has gone down, that doesnt mean the problems went away. Go see a doctor


Considering the initial pain wasn't bad I am gonna see what another week does. Then I'll probably serve a few soft balls. If still no pain I'll slowly increase my playing til I can get some games in. The "clicking" is gone, there is no pain and no loss of range. At the first sign of trouble I'll go see the doctor but "hopefully" it was just getting back into the game after 6 years that cause the first problems.

Thanks for all the help,



i'd just hit without serving. gets blood flow happening without aggravating your injury. every week, reevaluate your condition and adjust routine appropriately