Serve approach with sore shoulder

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I have recently been getting a sore shoulder when serving, especially after having cooled down and playing again. No pain after the match or anything but quite painful doing the overhead or serve in some instances.

So basically I just roll the ball in instead of going for pace. I suppose using legs and abdomen more could help? Perhaps bigger focus on palming/grip-timing the high five at contact before pronation?

What do you guys do to protect the shoulder?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
1) Video your serve and see if it is a) Waiter's Tray technique, b) high level serve or c) other techniques.
2) There is not much information on the WT or other techniques but you can find a great deal of information on the high level serve.
-- View the Ellenbecker video "Rotator Cuff Injury" and understand the limitation of the upper arm angle to the shoulder joint for a high level technique that Ellenbecker describes. The upper arm can't be angled up too high. It costs $32 to join Tennis Resources for 3 months to view their videos. But it is not directed at the WT technique. Most ATP players are good examples of the proper technique in the video. There have been many threads on the subject. I had a torn rotator cuff, surgery and a 9 month recovery. Tennis & a painful shoulder, what is that worth?

You should stop stressing your shoulder and see a well qualified Dr.
 
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kramer woodie

Professional
I have recently been getting a sore shoulder when serving, especially after having cooled down and playing again. No pain after the match or anything but quite painful doing the overhead or serve in some instances.

So basically I just roll the ball in instead of going for pace. I suppose using legs and abdomen more could help? Perhaps bigger focus on palming/grip-timing the high five at contact before pronation?

What do you guys do to protect the shoulder?
mxmx

Back in the 1960s, I had shoulder issues. I found I was trying to contact the ball as high in the toss as I could. This resulted in the upper arm of the serving arm getting to vertical in relationship to the height of my shoulder. Thus I was pinching the bicep tendon against the shoulder socket bones. The bicep tendon travels over the top of the upper arm bone through a groove and attaches on the inside of the upper arm bone. Being that I was 6 foot 4-1/2, I found I could contact the ball just shy of 10 feet above the court.

I solve the problem by getting more shoulder tilt. Being right-handed that meant getting the left shoulder lower than the right shoulder as the shoulders cartwheeled from the right being lower in the trophy position to the left shoulder being lower in the swinging the racquet up and forward towards my target. It caused two things to happen: 1. the upper arm of my right arm stayed almost parallel with my shoulders and 2. using my left oblique muscles increased power and gave me more forward movement towards the net.

Now, I don't really know what your problem is because you didn't include video of your serve. As others have said, it could be waiters tray versus high level serve motion, or rotator cuff. However, if the pain is on the outside of the point of the shoulder, you are probably pinching the bicep tendon by your whole arm becoming too vertical and your upper arm not more in line with you shoulders.

Good Luck and Shalom
 

pencilcheck

Professional
Internal shoulder rotation is a shoulder joint motion that uses muscles that supply forces for the shoulder joint. ?
I don’t deny that there are ISR or movement of arms, shoulders, etc, but movement doesn’t mean tightening up and hurting yourself by using the wrong muscle group.


I am answering based on intent, based on what muscle your brain is concentrating on and what muscle is the main driving force that moves the rest of the joints.

if pros uses their shoulder as the main focus of the swing, their serve will always look like a 3.5 form
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
@pencilcheck

What you think or feel that you are doing is a very interesting subject.

The Active use of muscles - Actin & Myosin - is much better understood by people. You send nerve signals to shorten the muscle and it happens.

But the Passive use of prestretched muscles is not so clearly understood. If your muscles have been stretched like rubber bands, what signals, if any, have to be applied when using elastic forces from those muscles. (I hope someone that knows the science can make some comments or supply references).

For tennis strokes, some years ago it was understood that just before a stretched muscle is to be used you are sending similar signals to the muscle as for the Active nerve signals. How stretched muscles are timed - if using nerve signals and/or some dynamically timed release point during the stroke sequence - is not clear to me. There are some interesting papers on the subject.

Pencilcheck, you should check out the publications on how stretched muscles are used and how that might feel. It probably fits in with some of your thoughts. I am busy with smoke issues in the Bay Area and those publications are hard to find for tennis.

I don’t deny that there are ISR or movement of arms, shoulders, etc, but movement doesn’t mean tightening up and hurting yourself by using the wrong muscle group.


I am answering based on intent, based on what muscle your brain is concentrating on and what muscle is the main driving force that moves the rest of the joints.

if pros uses their shoulder as the main focus of the swing, their serve will always look like a 3.5 form
 
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pencilcheck

Professional
What you think or feel that you are doing is a very interesting subject.

The Active use of muscles - Actin & Myosin - is much better understood by people. You send nerve signals to shorten the muscle and it happens.

But the Passive use of prestretched muscles is not so clearly understood. If your muscles have been stretched like rubber bands, what signals, if any, have to be applied when using elastic forces from those muscles. (I hope someone that knows the science can make some comments or supply references).

For tennis strokes, some years ago it was understood that just before a stretched muscle is to be used you are sending similar signals to the muscle as for the Active nerve signals. How stretched muscles are timed - if using nerve signals and/or some dynamically timed release point during the stroke sequence - is not clear to me. There are some interesting papers on the subject.

Pencilcheck, you should check out the publications on how stretched muscles are used and how that might feel. It probably fits in with some of your thoughts. I am busy with smoke issues in the Bay Area and those publications are hard to find for tennis.
The air quality is a lot better now in Bay Area. At least around South Bay. The downside that it has become windy but that’s a good thing.

Sure I can check them out.Do you have keywords that you use to find those papers?

Btw I don’t know if this applies to everyone but I notice my brain always come with the wrong solution if I don’t actively adjust it in mirror to fully understand what actually happens. I improved my way of hitting so much just by doing lots of shadow swings of anything in front of an mirror
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The air quality is a lot better now in Bay Area. At least around South Bay. The downside that it has become windy but that’s a good thing.

Sure I can check them out.Do you have keywords that you use to find those papers?

Btw I don’t know if this applies to everyone but I notice my brain always come with the wrong solution if I don’t actively adjust it in mirror to fully understand what actually happens. I improved my way of hitting so much just by doing lots of shadow swings of anything in front of an mirror
I can't remember the name but maybe the publications were in the early 2000s. Also, I believe that there is a special name for giving the muscles nerve signals to shorten when the muscles are certainly going to be lengthened and stretched by outside forces.

Let's say that you are doing pyrometrics and have jumped off a box and want to stretch your muscles as you land and then jump as high as possible. As you land you send nerve signals to extend your legs. As you land your muscles are getting the instruction to extend but because you are landing your knees must flex and the muscles are forced to lengthen and stretch. In other words, there is a 'XYZ?' type stretch. The keywords may be associated with the stretch shorten cycle.

Speculation - If you give your muscles an instruction to shorten when they must lengthen it may cause the Actin and Myosin to lock together and then stretch the Titin rubber band from that starting point. (I keep hoping that a kinesiologist will comment on the basic biomechanic.)

Smoke. I found for the smoke that when 200-400 EPA Air Quality Index air, "purple air", is outside my home, my air cleaning units (AC Filter, 3*M air cleaner, failed to clean the leaks of bad air into my home.) We can use a HEPA in one bedroom to get good air and stay. Now the air outside is OK and the full house is usable. But at any moment the purple air AQI may come back. I have found many larger air leaks into my home with a hand held air quality sensor at the washer lint trap, front door, windows, sliding glass doors, a recessed lighting fixture, stove hood, etc. Front door was the worst. Worst of all the vent system with AC filter blows out dirty air from the vent when the outside air is very bad. I shut the vent into the bedroom. We can't use AC. Any replies please use conversation or start a separate thread. Need information on "make up" air and how it might relate to my vents putting out dirty air. 2.5 um particle size range
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
1) Video your serve and see if it is a) Waiter's Tray technique, b) high level serve or c) other techniques.
2) There is not much information on the WT or other techniques but you can find a great deal of information on the high level serve.
-- View the Ellenbecker video "Rotator Cuff Injury" and understand the limitation of the upper arm angle to the shoulder joint for a high level technique that Ellenbecker describes. The upper arm can't be angled up too high. It costs $32 to join Tennis Resources for 3 months to view their videos. But it is not directed at the WT technique. Most ATP players are good examples of the proper technique in the video. There have been many threads on the subject. I had a torn rotator cuff, surgery and a 9 month recovery. Tennis & a painful shoulder, what is that worth?

You should stop stressing your shoulder and see a well qualified Dr.
I have some OLD footage of my serve which will at least give some idea. My serve may have changed a little, but not that much. (It got more accurate but has probably lost power in recent years - not sure. Not able to upload new stuff atm):

"Hi guys :)

Its been a while. 3 years later I decided to upload some new videos of my serve. I would appreciate you guys' feedback, especially regarding to what I served like 3 years ago :)

1) To deuce court:
2) To ad court:
3) Splinter Cell Angle:
4) Need for Speed Angle:
"
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
mxmx

Back in the 1960s, I had shoulder issues. I found I was trying to contact the ball as high in the toss as I could. This resulted in the upper arm of the serving arm getting to vertical in relationship to the height of my shoulder. Thus I was pinching the bicep tendon against the shoulder socket bones. The bicep tendon travels over the top of the upper arm bone through a groove and attaches on the inside of the upper arm bone. Being that I was 6 foot 4-1/2, I found I could contact the ball just shy of 10 feet above the court.

I solve the problem by getting more shoulder tilt. Being right-handed that meant getting the left shoulder lower than the right shoulder as the shoulders cartwheeled from the right being lower in the trophy position to the left shoulder being lower in the swinging the racquet up and forward towards my target. It caused two things to happen: 1. the upper arm of my right arm stayed almost parallel with my shoulders and 2. using my left oblique muscles increased power and gave me more forward movement towards the net.

Now, I don't really know what your problem is because you didn't include video of your serve. As others have said, it could be waiters tray versus high level serve motion, or rotator cuff. However, if the pain is on the outside of the point of the shoulder, you are probably pinching the bicep tendon by your whole arm becoming too vertical and your upper arm not more in line with you shoulders.

Good Luck and Shalom
Thank you :)

I like this advice. But now to get to change the serve after so many years. What you are saying makes sense though. I think the pain is on the outside top part where the socket is. Feels like it could be a pinch as you say.

This has only started to happen recently. I think I need to proper warm-up from now on. I normally get rushed to serve.

I also want to get spin strings so that my serve livelier without more effort. Also lowering tension from 54 to 50. Not sure what lead will do to my shoulder aside from adding power.

Technique wise I know I'm protecting a left knee as well as lower back. This has subconsciously made me toss the ball too much behind me (I don't mean to the left) instead of in front. Especially on the second serve. I'm getting older and will need to change my serve.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
1) Video your serve and see if it is a) Waiter's Tray technique, b) high level serve or c) other techniques.
2) There is not much information on the WT or other techniques but you can find a great deal of information on the high level serve.
-- View the Ellenbecker video "Rotator Cuff Injury" and understand the limitation of the upper arm angle to the shoulder joint for a high level technique that Ellenbecker describes. The upper arm can't be angled up too high. It costs $32 to join Tennis Resources for 3 months to view their videos. But it is not directed at the WT technique. Most ATP players are good examples of the proper technique in the video. There have been many threads on the subject. I had a torn rotator cuff, surgery and a 9 month recovery. Tennis & a painful shoulder, what is that worth?

You should stop stressing your shoulder and see a well qualified Dr.
Thank you for the feedback. Seeing a doctor is really not an option though for various reasons. And these days some seem very operation prone.

But yes, it must be the angle I'm stretching towards the ball. And perhaps I tried to serve too hard without being warm enough.
 

kramer woodie

Professional
Thank you :)

I like this advice. But now to get to change the serve after so many years. What you are saying makes sense though. I think the pain is on the outside top part where the socket is. Feels like it could be a pinch as you say.

This has only started to happen recently. I think I need to proper warm-up from now on. I normally get rushed to serve.

I also want to get spin strings so that my serve livelier without more effort. Also lowering tension from 54 to 50. Not sure what lead will do to my shoulder aside from adding power.

Technique wise I know I'm protecting a left knee as well as lower back. This has subconsciously made me toss the ball too much behind me (I don't mean to the left) instead of in front. Especially on the second serve. I'm getting older and will need to change my serve.
mxmx

If you can hold your upper arm parallel with your shoulders, reach over with your non serving hand and press your fingers into the fleshy part of your shoulder between the top of the upper arm bone and the shoulder socket. You should be able to feel the bicep tendon where it travels over the upper arm. If you experience pain doing this, it is caused by the upper arm raised to high towards you ear, thus pinching the bicep tendon.

It can also be caused, like in my case swinging a 15.3 ounce racket in the 60s, which built up the bicep tendon so much it would not stay in the bone groove. It can also be caused by bone spurs in the bone groove. A sports medicine doc should be able to tell you what is wrong.
However, serve technique is usually the culprit.

Again, Good Luck & Shalom
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
mxmx

If you can hold your upper arm parallel with your shoulders, reach over with your non serving hand and press your fingers into the fleshy part of your shoulder between the top of the upper arm bone and the shoulder socket. You should be able to feel the bicep tendon where it travels over the upper arm. If you experience pain doing this, it is caused by the upper arm raised to high towards you ear, thus pinching the bicep tendon.

It can also be caused, like in my case swinging a 15.3 ounce racket in the 60s, which built up the bicep tendon so much it would not stay in the bone groove. It can also be caused by bone spurs in the bone groove. A sports medicine doc should be able to tell you what is wrong.
However, serve technique is usually the culprit.

Again, Good Luck & Shalom
I don't seem to feel any pain when I do this. Perhaps I'm not testing it right but I think the arm may have recovered until the next time I serve again. Hopefully it was a temporary pain due to improper warmup.

I play with a blade 98 cv as well as a blade 98 amplifeel. The latter is slightly more heavy in the head than the blade cv. Does anyone know if heavier rackets are normally worse for shoulders specifically when it comes to serving?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
You should stop stressing your shoulder with its unknown cause and diagnosis.

The shoulder has many possible injuries. It needs a diagnosis by a Dr.

One of the most common shoulder injuries is a rotator cuff tear of the supraspinatus. That is on the top side of shoulder on the outside. Get pictures and find supraspinatus. Often the tendon is injured.

Google: shoulder pain pictures

You have an energetic serve and I did not see the upper arm high in my untrained opinion but that is not enough..........
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Thank you for the feedback. Seeing a doctor is really not an option though for various reasons. And these days some seem very operation prone.

But yes, it must be the angle I'm stretching towards the ball. And perhaps I tried to serve too hard without being warm enough.
I can't see your upper arm as at a high angle relative to your shoulder. Impingement can occur anyhow and is one common cause of shoulder injury. I am a forum poster and untrained in medical issues.

My torn rotator cuff injury of the supraspinatus tendon had a sharp pain on the top half of the shoulder toward the outer part - if the shoulder had a corner it would be near the corner. It was not a tennis injury.

There's a lot more than shown hear. The biceps tendon connects to top of the Labrum. The Bicep connection to the Labrum is often the location of injuries. All would be close together sources of pain. See for example, a SLAP tear.

Search pictures like this to inform yourself. See a specialist for a diagnosis.

There are many threads on shoulder injuries. Most are in the Health & Fitness Forum.

What you want to do may give you a permanent chronic injury in a short time.

See thread Tendon Injury Nuthouse. See post #1 on tendinitis (with inflammation) and post #15 on tendinosis (with defective healing)
 
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Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
I have recently been getting a sore shoulder when serving, especially after having cooled down and playing again. No pain after the match or anything but quite painful doing the overhead or serve in some instances.

So basically I just roll the ball in instead of going for pace. I suppose using legs and abdomen more could help? Perhaps bigger focus on palming/grip-timing the high five at contact before pronation?

What do you guys do to protect the shoulder?
Work to get your shoulder healthy. I recommend you see a good physiotherapist.

I had similar issues that went away after I started to warmup with therabands before I play, as well as throwers ten exercises 2-3 times a week.
 
I am not a teaching pro, so none of this is serving gospel. Don’t know much about shoulders, as I am not a doctor. I would say, if it hurts, don’t do it.
There are a couple of things with your serve that I believe might help. If not with pain just effectiveness. I can’t figure out how to take images from your video and then post, but I froze some frames and noticed a couple things. First, it looked like you toss while still rocking backward. This forces you to stop going back and start forward while the ball is in the air. Your left toes don’t come down from rocking back on your hell until your toss is near its apex.
More of an issue IMO is what the racquet is doing around the trophy and drop positions. A bunch of pros have the striking side of the stringbed facing the target at trophy position without issue. Some real hard servers. In the case of someone that doesn’t pause at trophy, it allows the racquet head to make a counterclockwise orbit around your head. In your case, it is making your racquet get outside of the right side of your body as you start toward your target. That can’t be good. Maybe even stress the shoulder. I would figure out a way to get the racquet head to stop behind your right shoulder area before starting forward.
If you brought the racquet up and faced the striking stringbed to your right (more pronated) it should slow that lassoing down. Just taking a stab here, but do you have trouble trying to hit that serve near the lines?
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
I can't see your upper arm as at a high angle relative to your shoulder. Impingement can occur anyhow and is one common cause of shoulder injury. I am a forum poster and untrained in medical issues.

My torn rotator cuff injury of the supraspinatus tendon had a sharp pain on the top half of the shoulder toward the outer part - if the shoulder had a corner it would be near the corner. It was not a tennis injury.

There's a lot more than shown hear. The biceps tendon connects to top of the Labrum. The Bicep connection to the Labrum is often the location of injuries. All would be close together sources of pain. See for example, a SLAP tear.

Search pictures like this to inform yourself. See a specialist for a diagnosis.

There are many threads on shoulder injuries. Most are in the Health & Fitness Forum.

What you want to do may give you a permanent chronic injury in a short time.

See thread Tendon Injury Nuthouse. See post #1 on tendinitis (with inflammation) and post #15 on tendinosis (with defective healing)
What did you have to do with your torn rotator cuff? Was it an operation?

I don't want to complain...but sleeping on my side isn't exactly great for either of my shoulders or my right sided hip. And I can't sleep on my back. I also do a lot of lifting of my right arm about face height. Perhaps my shoulder gets overused.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Work to get your shoulder healthy. I recommend you see a good physiotherapist.

I had similar issues that went away after I started to warmup with therabands before I play, as well as throwers ten exercises 2-3 times a week.
It takes me forever to get warm. My strategy for now is to take things slow and see what happens. Ie..warming up longer...not choosing to serve...just slow paced serves.

Doctor is not an option. I have no medical and will serve underarm before I get an operation and things of the sort. I will need to make due with whatever else "could" help.

I have only felt this problem twice recently. After not having warmed up after sitting out. So it's not necessarily serious. I hope it's not. But I know for sure pain is a warning.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I am not a teaching pro, so none of this is serving gospel. Don’t know much about shoulders, as I am not a doctor. I would say, if it hurts, don’t do it.
There are a couple of things with your serve that I believe might help. If not with pain just effectiveness. I can’t figure out how to take images from your video and then post, but I froze some frames and noticed a couple things. First, it looked like you toss while still rocking backward. This forces you to stop going back and start forward while the ball is in the air. Your left toes don’t come down from rocking back on your hell until your toss is near its apex.
More of an issue IMO is what the racquet is doing around the trophy and drop positions. A bunch of pros have the striking side of the stringbed facing the target at trophy position without issue. Some real hard servers. In the case of someone that doesn’t pause at trophy, it allows the racquet head to make a counterclockwise orbit around your head. In your case, it is making your racquet get outside of the right side of your body as you start toward your target. That can’t be good. Maybe even stress the shoulder. I would figure out a way to get the racquet head to stop behind your right shoulder area before starting forward.
If you brought the racquet up and faced the striking stringbed to your right (more pronated) it should slow that lassoing down. Just taking a stab here, but do you have trouble trying to hit that serve near the lines?
A very complex analysis. Thank you for the time to post and analyze.

It is a bit hard to understand in just words. I don't know if I struggle to hit the lines more than most people my level. I really don't have stats. What stands out from your analasys is the part where I have no delay in the tropy pose. So I'm doing it all too fast it seems.

More recent years I have started to bring in more of a 70% pace serve which has more spin, net clearance and accuracy. Unlike my flat power serves, which is where I think the injury could have started, especially not being warm.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I don’t deny that there are ISR or movement of arms, shoulders, etc, but movement doesn’t mean tightening up and hurting yourself by using the wrong muscle group.


I am answering based on intent, based on what muscle your brain is concentrating on and what muscle is the main driving force that moves the rest of the joints.

if pros uses their shoulder as the main focus of the swing, their serve will always look like a 3.5 form
I'm interested in ways around seeing a doctor, such as:

- less exertion of the shoulder (serving slower)
- more focus on legs and abs
- technique
- warmup
- racket type (tweener etc. Not specific brand)
- lowering string tension
- light vs. heavy (eg. Lead vs no lead)
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
2016, I was pulling two suitcases and was hurrying in the Denver light rail station (8 tracks?). I ran onto an escalator. I lost my balance and grabbed the hand rail to stop from falling back. There was sharp pain right then, pain after, top outside of the shoulder.

I recovered for about 3 weeks and - breaking my own advice - I played platform tennis twice. I knew the shoulder was not right and stop playing at that point.

I waited a while, not stressing the shoulder. Saw a great Dr that I had been treated by on previous injuries. MRI showed "small full thickness tear" of the supraspinatus tendon (very common shoulder injury). I interpreted that to mean that the tear was from the top of the tendon to the bottom - to bone - but was not across the full width of the supraspinatus tendon. I was told that full thickness tears were unlikely to heal and would likely get larger with stress.

"Small" meant equal or smaller than 10 mm. "Large" was 10 mm or larger to the next size. (There was no 'medium' size??) At 10 mm my tear size was exactly between 'small' and 'large'. For "small, full thickness tears" there was a 95% chance of a successful outcome for surgery of my injury. The chances of a good outcome dropped down considerably if "large".

I got 'open' surgery, not arthroscopic. (I was given a narcotic pain killer after the recovery room that affected my asthmatic breathing and they had to work on me twice to keep me breathing.)

The recovery was 9 months for my surgery (longer than many) as you don't want to apply much force to the tendon, which I believe was sutured to the bone. The first 6 months was to restore and maintain range of motion with stretches. To be followed by 3 months of light strength training. Then gradually back to normal activity and tennis.

At about the time I was to begin gradually hitting my first tennis balls very gently (no playing) and begin some strength training, I got my first kidney stone. That was scary hell with set backs, but not much pain from the stone itself, it took two months, I moved to the West Coast, and gradually got back to tennis the next spring (2018). (surgery end of March, 2017).

The above is the reason to avoid surgery by stop stressing your shoulder. I'll point out that if I had continued playing with my full thickness tear - and it began to feel normal before my scheduled surgery - I probably would have increased the tear and decreased my chances of a successful outcome. My shoulder feels normal and there is hardly any noticeable range of motion loss.

Some rotator cuff injuries can be treated without surgery with physical therapy. ( A physical therapist is medically trained to deal with Dr diagnosed injuries.)

There are many, many shoulder injuries. Bursitis is on the corner of the shoulder also. You need a firm diagnosis.

Night Pain. Years earlier, I had another rotator cuff injury, left arm, where at first there was not much pain but I suddenly lost strength at the gym. It got worst and became painful. I can't remember the injured rotator cuff muscle. Surgery was not recommended. I did not want a shot (cortizone?) and requested PT. I recovered well.

During that first shoulder injury, I would have shoulder pains at night. No matter how I shifted, the pains was still there. Two Drs had no comment. The physical therapist suggested that I look into ischemia, or pain from lack of blood flow. The next time I had the shoulder night pain, I got up and walked around to circulate my blood and the pain went away in a minute or two. There was some underlying cause of that pain that should have been addressed (?), but moving around seemed to stop my night pain.

Your serve looks very energetic. That can really stress the shoulder. Stressing an injury leads to defective healing and often making the injury worse. Does your job also stress your shoulder?

X rays can diagnose arthritis as I just learned for my hip.

Look for the long threads of Pacific Lefty for her experience some years ago. Included is a lot of information on shoulder injuries at the location of the top corner of the shoulder.

Don't take my experience, or anybody else's. as applying to your undiagnosed injury.

Stop playing tennis for 3 months.
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
2016, I was pulling two suitcases and was hurrying in the Denver light rail station (8 tracks?). I ran onto an escalator. I lost my balance and grabbed the hand rail to stop from falling back. There was sharp pain right then, pain after, top outside of the shoulder.

I recovered for about 3 weeks and - breaking my own advice - I played platform tennis twice. I knew the shoulder was not right and stop playing any more.

I waited a while, not stressing the shoulder. Saw a great Dr that I had been treated by on previous injuries. MRI showed "small full thickness tear" of the supraspinatus tendon (very common shoulder injury). I interpreted that to mean that the tear was from the top of the tendon to the bottom - to bone - but was not across the full width of the supraspinatus tendon. I was told that full thickness tears were unlikely to heal and would likely get larger with stress.

"Small" meant equal or smaller than 10 mm. "Large" was 10 mm or larger to the next size. (There was no 'medium' size??) At 10 mm my tear size was exactly between 'small' and 'large'. For "small, full thickness tears" there was a 95% chance of a successful outcome for surgery of my injury. The chances of a good outcome dropped down considerably if "large".

I got 'open' surgery, not arthroscopic. (I was given a narcotic pain killer after the recovery room that affected my asthmatic breathing and they had to work on me twice to keep me breathing.)

The recovery was 9 months for my surgery (longer than many) as you don't want to apply much force to the tendon, which I believe was sutured to the bone. The first 6 months was to restore and maintain range of motion with stretches. To be followed by 3 months of light strength training. Then gradually back to normal activity and tennis.

At about the time I was to begin gradually hitting my first tennis balls very gently (no playing) and begin some strength training, I got my first kidney stone. That was scary hell with set backs, but not much pain from the stone itself, it took two months, I moved to the West Coast, and gradually got back to tennis the next spring (2018). (surgery end of March, 2017).

The above is the reason to avoid surgery by stop stressing your shoulder. I'll point out that if I had continued playing with my full thickness tear - and it began to feel normal before my scheduled surgery - I probably would have increased the tear and decreased my chances of a successful outcome. My shoulder feels normal and there is hardly any noticeable range of motion loss.

Some rotator cuff injuries can be treated without surgery with physical therapy. ( A physical therapist is medically trained to deal with Dr diagnosed injuries.)

There are many, many shoulder injuries. Bursitis is on the corner of the shoulder also. You need a firm diagnosis.

Night Pain. Years earlier, I had another rotator cuff injury, left arm, where at first there was not much pain but I suddenly lost strength at the gym. It got worst and became painful. I can't remember the injured rotator cuff muscle. Surgery was not recommended. I did not want a shot (cortizone?) and requested PT. I recovered well.

During that first shoulder injury, I would have shoulder pains at night. No matter how I shifted, the pains was still there. Two Drs had no comment. The physical therapist suggested that I look into ischemia, or pain from lack of blood flow. The next time I had the shoulder night pain, I got up and walked around to circulate my blood and the pain went away in a minute or two. There was some underlying cause of that pain that should have been addressed (?), but moving around seemed to stop my night pain.

Your serve looks very energetic. That can really stress the shoulder. Stressing an injury leads to defective healing and often making the injury worse. Does your job also stress your shoulder?

X rays can diagnose arthritis as I just learned for my hip.

Look for the long threads of Pacific Lefty for her experience some years ago. Included is a lot of information on shoulder injuries at the location of the top corner of the shoulder.

Don't take my experience, or anybody else's. as applying to your undiagnosed injury.

Stop playing tennis for 3 months.
Very scary post this. Thank you for sharing in such great detail.

Perhaps I should explain my situation. Where I'm at this point doctors or medical is not an option. Perhaps these options are easier for others. It is also hard finding trustworthy diagnosis without very expensive medical. Going to state doctors is hugely risky as you hear of stories of doctors amputating legs instead of lets say a toe. Sometimes even the wrong limbs. There is also a trend of doctors becoming more prone to operate instead of treatment. Can I prove this? No. But still the option for the advice to see a doctor is a luxury I do not have.

I love tennis and am almost the first to arrive and the last to leave. I'm far less talented than most at my club but will normally be the last person wanting to take a rest or stop playing. This weekend will be a good test to see what thr shoulder does with good warmup and taking it slow. At least I'm prepared knowing I should be careful. Last time the pain caught me by surprise.

If the pain persists my options for now will have be to stop serving and not playing overheads. Even if it means serving like a beginner. Not playing tennis is a last resort. I really hope it doesn't come to that. I will even learn to play left.

To answer your question about my job. It's more an uncomfortable height to keep lifting the elbow. I do this often but not the whole time. Almost like a soldier holding a gun. It's not weight, but repeating movements about eye level, like taking the cereal box off the shelf too many times during the day.

Strange how the mind works. Just talking about any form of injury somehow makes one feel it a little more.

What's your take on heat rubs? I find them to work great until they cool down and it's almost as if the cooling actually stiffens the muscles again.
And can you sleep on your side? Does your hip still have pain?

I think a softer bed will help both my hip and shoulder. I literally bend my arm under my chest when I sleep sometimes with my hip at an angle to protect it. Maybe this is another cause my shoulder is under strain.
 
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Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
I'm interested in ways around seeing a doctor, such as:

- less exertion of the shoulder (serving slower)
- more focus on legs and abs
- technique
- warmup
- racket type (tweener etc. Not specific brand)
- lowering string tension
- light vs. heavy (eg. Lead vs no lead)
Out of your list is strengthening your shoulder muscles. That would have a higher impact on your condition than anything you've listed.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
Your rotator cuff holds your shoulder much in a stronger and protected position when your arm is angled to be spaced from your head (e.g., don't swing so your bicep/shoulder is next your FH-side ear) So move your arm sideways away from your head (e.g., hit a slice serve with a toss to the side of your head) and/or move your head sideways (toward your backhand shoulder) if you are swinging with more flat serve.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
To compare videos in this post
1) single frame on Youtube using the period & comma keys.
2) always select the video using Alt + Left Mouse Click, otherwise the video starts playing.
3) for the most accurate comparisons use the same camera angles.

Find impacts and work back comparing frame-by-frame.


1) In my opinion your upper arm relative to the shoulder joint did not show excessive too much upward angle. See many threads in the forum. Search:

2) Most ATP pro servers are not still looking at the ball at impact. I have assumed that it allowed them to bend forward. You look up to impact and that is much less common in the ATP, where that break off just before impact is more often used. Some do look through impact, Tsonga is an example.

Observe and list all differences.

The tricky thing about positions for the serve is to estimate the chest tilt & turn, relative to what? Try to observe and compare that from identical camera angles.

Your Drs don't sound like the USA's Drs. ?

I am pretty busy worrying about our smoke in CA.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Read thread Tendon Injury Nuthouse the publication in post #1. Understand the very short time a new tendon injury can heal defectively. Also, maybe that goes on piecemeal if you keep playing and is the way that many people play tennis with pain and acquire chronic injuries that are permanent. I hope it is not that bad but I believe that often it is.

Give your injury time to rest.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
....................... I can’t figure out how to take images from your video and then post, but I froze some frames and noticed a couple things. ............................................
Your pictures need to be on a photo hosting website, as you cannot upload directly from your computer. On the photo website RIGHT click on the frame picture and select "Copy Image Address" . Use the picture icon above the Reply Box and paste that "image address" in. Use Reply Box "Preview" to see how it looks.

To make images from video frames to upload to a photo hosting website -

1) Use free, open source Kinovea to view and analyze videos. Add text, arrows, & many other things. You can save frames as images. Kinovea has many features for video analysis including a count down time scale so that for stroke analysis you can set the frame of impact as time "0" and show milliseconds before impact for each frame.

2) Use Windows 10 Snip & Sketch (from the magnifying glass icon near "START", start typing 'Snip & Sketch' in the bottom search box and when"Snip & Sketch" appears in list, click on that.

It also has an instruction to use keys to make the S & S box appear.
Windows KEY (next to the space bar) + 2) SHIFT KEY then also click 3) "S" KEY. This can snip any area of the frame.

Search for a better written description..........

Let me know what you don't know about making & posting a picture.
 
Last edited:
Your pictures need to be on a photo hosting website, as you cannot upload directly from your computer. On the photo website left click on the frame picture and select "Copy Image Address" . Use the picture icon above the Reply Box and paste that "image address" in. Use Reply Box "Preview" to see how it looks.

To make images from video frames to upload to a photo hosting website -

1) Use free, open source Kinovea to view and analyze videos. Add text, arrows, & many other things. You can save frames as images. Kinovea has many features for video analysis including a count down time scale so that for stroke analysis you can set the frame of impact as time "0" and show milliseconds before impact for each frame.

2) Use Windows 10 Snip & Sketch (from the magnifying glass icon near "START", start typing 'Snip & Sketch' in the bottom search box and when"Snip & Sketch" appears in list, click on that.

It also has an instruction to use keys to make the S & S box appear.
Windows KEY (next to the space bar) + 2) SHIFT KEY then also click 3) "S" KEY. This can snip an area of the screen.

Search for a better written description..........

Let me know what you don't know about making & posting a picture.
Yeah, thanks! I am giving imgur a try for the purpose of this thread. Here goes:

So mxmx, if this picture loads as the preview function indicates it might, you can see where your racquet head is swinging towards 4:00 o’clock. This is happening while you are starting to attack the ball. IMO this will lead to a loss of control and is probably not easy on the shoulder. Stopping videos of a bunch of pro tennis player’s serves, I almost always see the head directly below the grip when headed to the ball. This allows the player to direct the arm toward the target and knows the racquet head is going to the same place. The racquet head on your serve will try to get in the right position as you accelerate upwards, but you are making it harder on yourself. Also, you don’t need a pause at trophy, but I believe you need to rectify the “lassoing” as I call it, somehow.

Ok, one last edit. You didn't even ask for help on your serve and I can see why, it is a good one. But, on the off-chance the pain is linked to a technique problem, I will make one last suggestion. As I said, you didn't ask for technical help, but it's not about you anymore, it's about me! ; )
I think the first issue I mentioned will help with the second. Try to not toss the ball until you have fully rocked backward and are ready to start forward. Start pushing off the ground when you feel the racquet head has just moved past 12:00 o'clock. I think I saw your push start about the time the racquet was at 9:00. This had it getting well past 6:00 when your toes left the ground. It seems it may just be a minor timing issue. If this helps let me know. If it doesn't, lie and say it did. (y)
 
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pencilcheck

Professional
I have some OLD footage of my serve which will at least give some idea. My serve may have changed a little, but not that much. (It got more accurate but has probably lost power in recent years - not sure. Not able to upload new stuff atm):

"Hi guys :)

Its been a while. 3 years later I decided to upload some new videos of my serve. I would appreciate you guys' feedback, especially regarding to what I served like 3 years ago :)

1) To deuce court:
2) To ad court:
3) Splinter Cell Angle:
4) Need for Speed Angle:
"
Btw, by watching your 5 year old serve video I confirmed that your serve is the shoulder type of serve, this is very common and the logical way to serve when you don't have to serve fast throughout the course of a set or multiple sets. It might be easier to serve well in a tie breaker I think.

This way of serving might not be too bad because I think you might not be using the front of the shoulder much but it would be very hard for you to be consistent and sometimes you might get good serves in a row then followed by double fault city.

If you still serve this way, then I would advice you find a different way to serve instead of pulling your shoulder back and swing it forward like how you did in the video.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Your rotator cuff holds your shoulder much in a stronger and protected position when your arm is angled to be spaced from your head (e.g., don't swing so your bicep/shoulder is next your FH-side ear) So move your arm sideways away from your head (e.g., hit a slice serve with a toss to the side of your head) and/or move your head sideways (toward your backhand shoulder) if you are swinging with more flat serve.
Do you mean I should normally have my bicep further away from the ear and toss wider?

I try and keep my toss as consistent as possible for all serves for the sake as disguise.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
To compare videos in this post
1) single frame on Youtube using the period & comma keys.
2) always select the video using Alt + Left Mouse Click, otherwise the video starts playing.
3) for the most accurate comparisons use the same camera angles.

Find impacts and work back comparing frame-by-frame.


1) In my opinion your upper arm relative to the shoulder joint did not show excessive too much upward angle. See many threads in the forum. Search:

2) Most ATP pro servers are not still looking at the ball at impact. I have assumed that it allowed them to bend forward. You look up to impact and that is much less common in the ATP, where that break off just before impact is more often used. Some do look through impact, Tsonga is an example.

Observe and list all differences.

The tricky thing about positions for the serve is to estimate the chest tilt & turn, relative to what? Try to observe and compare that from identical camera angles.

Your Drs don't sound like the USA's Drs. ?

I am pretty busy worrying about our smoke in CA.
- Sorry, but did you adress just me in this post? Or was it intended for someone else?

- The doctors in my region range from first world to third world, depending on your medical if you have any.

- I have noted Federer looking at opponents while tossing the serve, but doesn't he look at the ball at contact?

- Because of the wildfires?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Read thread Tendon Injury Nuthouse the publication in post #1. Understand the very short time a new tendon injury can heal defectively. Also, maybe that goes on piecemeal if you keep playing and is the way that many people play tennis with pain and acquire chronic injuries that are permanent. I hope it is not that bad but I believe that often it is.

Give your injury time to rest.
Just an update on the shoulder:

This weekend I took it slower. I warmed up longer and added less effort in my serve. The shoulder did not once, after a couple of matches give the same sharp pain as before. I wouldn't exactly describe my shoulder as still having pain. It's hard to describe it. The sharp pain occurred last weekend when serving cold and that was definitely some pain.

The state of the shoulder now feels more perhaps like it has worked. Like any of my other muscles after tennis. I wouldn't call it stiff either. Rather more that my brain is telling me I have a shoulder. I do not have pain even having slept on my side.

What I did notice the weekend, is that if I go for my serve, it puts pressure on the shoulder and it produces (some) pain. I served harder on about two important points. But nothing like the sharp pain of last weekend.

What I didn't realize is that in the lock down period I have played a lot of groundstrokes against a wall, but very few serves. So I'm probably not conditioned to serve like I did pre-lock down. For now I'm taking it slow on the serve. I will gradually increase effort, but if some pain returns slow it down.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Yeah, thanks! I am giving imgur a try for the purpose of this thread. Here goes:

So mxmx, if this picture loads as the preview function indicates it might, you can see where your racquet head is swinging towards 4:00 o’clock. This is happening while you are starting to attack the ball. IMO this will lead to a loss of control and is probably not easy on the shoulder. Stopping videos of a bunch of pro tennis player’s serves, I almost always see the head directly below the grip when headed to the ball. This allows the player to direct the arm toward the target and knows the racquet head is going to the same place. The racquet head on your serve will try to get in the right position as you accelerate upwards, but you are making it harder on yourself. Also, you don’t need a pause at trophy, but I believe you need to rectify the “lassoing” as I call it, somehow.

Ok, one last edit. You didn't even ask for help on your serve and I can see why, it is a good one. But, on the off-chance the pain is linked to a technique problem, I will make one last suggestion. As I said, you didn't ask for technical help, but it's not about you anymore, it's about me! ; )
I think the first issue I mentioned will help with the second. Try to not toss the ball until you have fully rocked backward and are ready to start forward. Start pushing off the ground when you feel the racquet head has just moved past 12:00 o'clock. I think I saw your push start about the time the racquet was at 9:00. This had it getting well past 6:00 when your toes left the ground. It seems it may just be a minor timing issue. If this helps let me know. If it doesn't, lie and say it did. (y)
Thank you for taking the time to upload an image and giving advice. I always welcome advice even when they're from people who don't coach or even play tennis. We can learn stuff everywhere.

It's very interesting what you spotted. My drop of the racket angle being at 4:00 is unexpected. I would have thougt it would be at 5:00 or 6:00. This is something to look at.

As for the timing thing, that will probably be hard to change. Will tossing the ball higher help to give the time for all the things you describe?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Btw, by watching your 5 year old serve video I confirmed that your serve is the shoulder type of serve, this is very common and the logical way to serve when you don't have to serve fast throughout the course of a set or multiple sets. It might be easier to serve well in a tie breaker I think.

This way of serving might not be too bad because I think you might not be using the front of the shoulder much but it would be very hard for you to be consistent and sometimes you might get good serves in a row then followed by double fault city.

If you still serve this way, then I would advice you find a different way to serve instead of pulling your shoulder back and swing it forward like how you did in the video.
Which kind of serve would you recommend that has more use of the front part of the shoulder?

As for double faulting. I serve only about 1-3 in entire matches. My second serve kick is quite consistent although not very powerful. But you are right about missing first serves as I do not get enough in.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
- Sorry, but did you adress just me in this post? Or was it intended for someone else?

- The doctors in my region range from first world to third world, depending on your medical if you have any.

- I have noted Federer looking at opponents while tossing the serve, but doesn't he look at the ball at contact?

- Because of the wildfires?
The post is for you to compare your serve to high level servers frame-by-frame.

Sorry that you don't have the medical care that you should have.

I have looked at Federer, who looks very carefully at ground strokes, for serves and maybe he is looking at impact. ? I don't know if he is looking at impact. Federer had back issues from 2013-2015 and maybe he does not bend forward as much as others so he can maintain his neck angle. ? In any case, Federer is in the minority regarding looking at the ball at impact, most break off, jump forward more, and probably are more flexible. Also, Federer raises his upper arm a little more than recommended. I have read that the tendency for impingement also depends on the individual structure of the shoulder. Find side views with clear high speed videos, never a photograph or other viewpoints. Check out everything that you hear on the forum with your own video observations. Most ATP servers are not looking at the ball at impact, pick 10 players at random and search the videos yourself.

But one thing is certain that if you have an existing unknown injury from serving and continue to serve you are risking getting a chronic/permanent injury. Maybe your bursa sack is inflamed and swollen and you and are irritating it more. Maybe the same for a tendon or other of the many structures of the shoulder. ?

How long have you had the pain? Since it started how long have you taken off so that it had a chance to heal?

I look for the shoulder angle issue, provide references and suggest that everyone do their own observations since it is simple. I tell them how to video so as to best observe certain parts of the serve.

In my opinion, nobody should serve or especially work on changing their serve when they have pain from an unknown injury.
 
Last edited:

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.

See other Johns Hopkins webpages on the shoulder.

I usually look at the Mayo Clinic website also.

The NCBI PMC has free, on line publications that are well selected.
 
Last edited:

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
......................................................................................
I love tennis and am almost the first to arrive and the last to leave. I'm far less talented than most at my club but will normally be the last person wanting to take a rest or stop playing. This weekend will be a good test to see what thr shoulder does with good warmup and taking it slow. At least I'm prepared knowing I should be careful. Last time the pain caught me by surprise.

If the pain persists my options for now will have be to stop serving and not playing overheads. Even if it means serving like a beginner. Not playing tennis is a last resort. I really hope it doesn't come to that. I will even learn to play left.

To answer your question about my job. It's more an uncomfortable height to keep lifting the elbow. I do this often but not the whole time. Almost like a soldier holding a gun. It's not weight, but repeating movements about eye level, like taking the cereal box off the shelf too many times during the day.
........................................................................
And can you sleep on your side? Does your hip still have pain?
.................................................................................
You have the tough guy approach and don't want to stop. Sooner or later that will make an injury worse. Study what a chronic injury is. Notice how many tennis players have braces and wraps that they always wear. I hurt my elbow about 10-15 years ago and got an elbow brace. Playing doubles one time, all 4 older players on the court had elbow braces on! I believe that occurred because many players continued playing 'to see how they would do'. That's what you are doing now. See thread Tendon Injury Nuthouse.

The hip pain had been gone since the beginning of the year. Now, after too much sitting around and not enough moving or tennis, the hip pain just came back. I am having trouble getting comfortable to sleep.
 
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pencilcheck

Professional
Which kind of serve would you recommend that has more use of the front part of the shoulder?

As for double faulting. I serve only about 1-3 in entire matches. My second serve kick is quite consistent although not very powerful. But you are right about missing first serves as I do not get enough in.
I wouldn’t recommend to use any shoulder or your serve will destroy you and you don’t want that.

This might not be pleasant but try a different serve approach without using shoulder.

my advice just means don’t use shoulder as pivot and the joint instead use your entire body instead so your pivot should be somewhere down in your body instead
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
I haven't exhaustively read through this entire thread but as a fellow shoulder impingement sufferer, I thought I'd at least offer up some thoughts.

First, I don't recall you ever mentioning when the shoulder hurts. Is it on the way up to the contact point, at contact, or on follow-through?

Second, I'm not a coach but in looking at your serve videos, the thing that strikes me most is how much stress you are putting on your shoulder during the deceleration phase of your serve after contact. Your deceleration path is very short and you do so with a straight arm, so all of the momentum of your racquet is transferred to your shoulder through that long lever that is your straight arm.

If you look at quarterbacks or baseball pitchers on the follow-through, they have a longer, more gentle deceleration path even though they don't have to also slow down the weight of a racquet. Many of them end up with their throwing arm wrapped around their body, just to allow a longer and more gentle deceleration phase.

In my own case, a lifetime of throwing and racquet sports, along with a severe injury to my dominant arm which involved my biceps tendon separating from my upper arm and my pec muscle tearing in half, has resulted in a shoulder that performs with less than full biomechanical efficacy. As a result, since about age 50, when I could still easily serve in the triple digits, I'll have on and off periods where some sort of shoulder joint problem makes it difficult to serve. About 70% of these problems are post-contact, and my current issue is that something catches in my shoulder if I lower my arm from an overhead position with my thumb pointing downward. This makes pronating post-contact very painful and I've mainly been able to compensate by as gently decelerating the racquet as possible, knowing that I'm going to shock my arm somewhat by stopping forearm pronation right at contact. This problem is worse for me on second serves, where the swing path is more out towards the sides, which limits how I can decelerate the racquet. I've lost a good foot of hop on my second serves because I can't swing like I used to.

Others have mentioned the "thrower's ten" or "thrower's dozen" exercises. Those are also really important, especially as you get older.

Anyhow, to see what I mean about a longer deceleration path, here's a video I shot about a year ago when I was playtesting the Pure Strike. These serves are 60-70%, because I was having shoulder problems at that time. I think there are ten serves, the first six of which would be typically how I would hit my first serve. The 7th and 8th were my first attempts at second serves, which I think didn't go well, and the last two were more typical of how I hit second serves. I think in especially the last serve, you can see how awkward my racquet deceleration looks. Though the plane of the swing is different, I'd guess the effect is relatively the same on your shoulder in your serve videos.

 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
The post is for you to compare your serve to high level servers frame-by-frame.

Sorry that you don't have the medical care that you should have.

I have looked at Federer, who looks very carefully at ground strokes, for serves and maybe he is looking at impact. ? I don't know if he is looking at impact. Federer had back issues from 2013-2015 and maybe he does not bend forward as much as others so he can maintain his neck angle. ? In any case, Federer is in the minority regarding looking at the ball at impact, most break off, jump forward more, and probably are more flexible. Also, Federer raises his upper arm a little more than recommended. I have read that the tendency for impingement also depends on the individual structure of the shoulder. Find side views with clear high speed videos, never a photograph or other viewpoints. Check out everything that you hear on the forum with your own video observations. Most ATP servers are not looking at the ball at impact, pick 10 players at random and search the videos yourself.

But one thing is certain that if you have an existing unknown injury from serving and continue to serve you are risking getting a chronic/permanent injury. Maybe your bursa sack is inflamed and swollen and you and are irritating it more. Maybe the same for a tendon or other of the many structures of the shoulder. ?

How long have you had the pain? Since it started how long have you taken off so that it had a chance to heal?

I look for the shoulder angle issue, provide references and suggest that everyone do their own observations since it is simple. I tell them how to video so as to best observe certain parts of the serve.

In my opinion, nobody should serve or especially work on changing their serve when they have pain from an unknown injury.
- thank you. I misunderstood at first :)

- we must remember that even though pros are the standard for technique, we can aim for it. But we will never achieve what they can. In some cases I believe their technique will only work for them because they're so good. Not looking at the ball when serving does not make sense to me as it will be hard to have pure contact using only peripheral vision.

- I don't believe it's as serious as I first thought.

- I only had the sharp pain once or twice. I have about a week before I serve again. But I do play some groundstrokes during the week.

- as I understand it some members said my shoulder angle looked fine. Either way it will be very hard aside from the toss up to change my serve after all these years. The main aim for me is to learn how to muscle the ball less (If I'm muscling that is).

- I'm not convinced that I am/was injured. Perhaps just stiff/out of shape hence pain when cold after not serving enough in lockdown. Slowly but surely my arm should condition itself again. But, I consider what you say either way. But for now my default is to take it slow to feel if the shoulder has pain or not. I think the problem is mostly serving hard and flat. So now I'm kicking and medium-pacing as they'd say in cricket.
 
Thank you for taking the time to upload an image and giving advice. I always welcome advice even when they're from people who don't coach or even play tennis. We can learn stuff everywhere.

It's very interesting what you spotted. My drop of the racket angle being at 4:00 is unexpected. I would have thougt it would be at 5:00 or 6:00. This is something to look at.

As for the timing thing, that will probably be hard to change. Will tossing the ball higher help to give the time for all the things you describe?
The drop to 4:00 happens because you don't start up towards the ball until it gets there. The racquet head starts at 6:00 as you initiate the toss and makes a counter-clockwise tour around the clock face (viewed from behind) until you attack the ball. You don't need to toss higher, because you have plenty of time to get a little past where you probably should be. It is more timing than time. It is easiest to see on a Kevin Andersen or John Isner serve as to how they only move forward on their toss, because they start in a reared-back position - no rocking. If you are going to rock back, finish before the ball goes up. If you try and shift your weight from going back to out toward the court after you toss, you are going to lose power. That may solve everything I think I see. If you still get to 4:00 o'clock before you attack the ball, also focus on pushing off of the ground when you feel the racquet head is at 12:00 o'clock. The more I think about it, the more I think it is all because you toss while still rocking back. Try and post a video of yourself should you experiment with this. Who knows, it may help the shoulder?

The stress on the decel phase that InjuredAgain mentioned, may be due to the racquet starting up to the ball on an awkward path. It may be hard for you to follow through correctly.
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
I haven't exhaustively read through this entire thread but as a fellow shoulder impingement sufferer, I thought I'd at least offer up some thoughts.

First, I don't recall you ever mentioning when the shoulder hurts. Is it on the way up to the contact point, at contact, or on follow-through?

Second, I'm not a coach but in looking at your serve videos, the thing that strikes me most is how much stress you are putting on your shoulder during the deceleration phase of your serve after contact. Your deceleration path is very short and you do so with a straight arm, so all of the momentum of your racquet is transferred to your shoulder through that long lever that is your straight arm.

If you look at quarterbacks or baseball pitchers on the follow-through, they have a longer, more gentle deceleration path even though they don't have to also slow down the weight of a racquet. Many of them end up with their throwing arm wrapped around their body, just to allow a longer and more gentle deceleration phase.

In my own case, a lifetime of throwing and racquet sports, along with a severe injury to my dominant arm which involved my biceps tendon separating from my upper arm and my pec muscle tearing in half, has resulted in a shoulder that performs with less than full biomechanical efficacy. As a result, since about age 50, when I could still easily serve in the triple digits, I'll have on and off periods where some sort of shoulder joint problem makes it difficult to serve. About 70% of these problems are post-contact, and my current issue is that something catches in my shoulder if I lower my arm from an overhead position with my thumb pointing downward. This makes pronating post-contact very painful and I've mainly been able to compensate by as gently decelerating the racquet as possible, knowing that I'm going to shock my arm somewhat by stopping forearm pronation right at contact. This problem is worse for me on second serves, where the swing path is more out towards the sides, which limits how I can decelerate the racquet. I've lost a good foot of hop on my second serves because I can't swing like I used to.

Others have mentioned the "thrower's ten" or "thrower's dozen" exercises. Those are also really important, especially as you get older.

Anyhow, to see what I mean about a longer deceleration path, here's a video I shot about a year ago when I was playtesting the Pure Strike. These serves are 60-70%, because I was having shoulder problems at that time. I think there are ten serves, the first six of which would be typically how I would hit my first serve. The 7th and 8th were my first attempts at second serves, which I think didn't go well, and the last two were more typical of how I hit second serves. I think in especially the last serve, you can see how awkward my racquet deceleration looks. Though the plane of the swing is different, I'd guess the effect is relatively the same on your shoulder in your serve videos.

Wow. I really like your serve.

Well spotted by the way. Yes, my follow through and deceleration is not smooth enough and I stop before I should and even pronate to the right side of my body instead of around the body.

Years ago I served and hit my shin really hard. With the next serve I hit the exact same place. Ever since it is hard for me to complete the serve around my body. This I believe can help protect my shoulder as well as make the serve more effortless.

Which grip do you serve with?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
The drop to 4:00 happens because you don't start up towards the ball until it gets there. The racquet head starts at 6:00 as you initiate the toss and makes a counter-clockwise tour around the clock face (viewed from behind) until you attack the ball. You don't need to toss higher, because you have plenty of time to get a little past where you probably should be. It is more timing than time. It is easiest to see on a Kevin Andersen or John Isner serve as to how they only move forward on their toss, because they start in a reared-back position - no rocking. If you are going to rock back, finish before the ball goes up. If you try and shift your weight from going back to out toward the court after you toss, you are going to lose power. That may solve everything I think I see. If you still get to 4:00 o'clock before you attack the ball, also focus on pushing off of the ground when you feel the racquet head is at 12:00 o'clock. The more I think about it, the more I think it is all because you toss while still rocking back. Try and post a video of yourself should you experiment with this. Who knows, it may help the shoulder?

The stress on the decel phase that InjuredAgain mentioned, may be due to the racquet starting up to the ball on an awkward path. It may be hard for you to follow through correctly.
I think I should abandon the rocking part if I can. Urgh....the more I think about my serve, the more I realize how many things are wrong with it.

It will be very hard to unlearn these things.

Ideally I'd want to toss the ball slightly in front and just jump upward with both legs and not just one. The slight front toss will help me land in court. Perhaps the rocking is causing it to be too much. I want a smoother and well timed serve. Not a serve because I have a good arm. I used to be able to throw a baseball quite well. I want my body to do the work and not my arm.

I know it sounds weird, but i like the serve of Pliskova. Seems so effortless. I hate the almost Roddick approach I have. I just don't have his physique.
 
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