serve problems shoulder

Hey guys,

Something is wrong with my serve. My shoulder hurts like crazy. If I move it in circles, my arm, my shoulder clicks every time. I can also just put my arm forward and move it side to side and it hurts. Could this be because I use lots of kick? Or because I try to hit it so hard? I think the motion is pretty good. What could I do to prevent this from happening, like throw the ball more into the court, etc.? Thanks.

Matt
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
You have to stay off it for a while. Your muscles need time to recover from injury. If you keep playing around with a shoulder injury, you may need surgery in the future so give it some rest and do some rehab in a few weeks.
 

gmlasam

Hall of Fame
mattlikovich said:
Hey guys,

Something is wrong with my serve. My shoulder hurts like crazy. If I move it in circles, my arm, my shoulder clicks every time. I can also just put my arm forward and move it side to side and it hurts. Could this be because I use lots of kick? Or because I try to hit it so hard? I think the motion is pretty good. What could I do to prevent this from happening, like throw the ball more into the court, etc.? Thanks.

Matt
The clicking description sounds like its within the joint and not really a muscle problem. You should really have it looked at. Did this just start happening recently or its been on going?
 
Its been happening for a couple months. I think if I sleep on it wrong it really hurts. Today it seemed like it was more muscles. If it clicks normally it doesnt hurt, just joint, but it seems like muscles too. I'm gonna take it easy here soon, maybe see the dr. and take some video to see how my serve looks. If worst comes to worse I just work on groundstrokes..
 

vin

Professional
I've paid my dues with shoulder problems and think I can help.

It's likely that some of your problems are that you're muscling the ball and/or your shoulder isn't flexible enough.

I HIGHLY recommend learning Trigger Point Therapy. The following $20 book will take you a long way
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...386-8873753?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
I've resolved many aches and pains from tennis with this. While it may be true that you have a joint problem and not a muscle problem, a trigger point in a muscle can cause pain that feels like a joint problem, or even cause a joint problem from keeping the muscle contracted. Trigger points are also notorious for causing 'clicking' or 'cracking'.

According to the book, trigger points are commonly misdiagnosed as other more serious problems by doctors, but you should still see one and try the trigger point therapy in parallel to whatever your doctor recommends. It's basically deep tissue self massage treatment, so you shouldn't have much worry about it worsening your problem.

I also recommend that you do some research on shoulder stretches and improve your shoulder flexibility, although you probably shouldn't do this until most of the pain is gone. Yoga is also a great way to improve flexibilty. If you're like me and don't go for all the spiritual stuff sometimes included in Yoga, you can get a dvd and do it at home. I have the 'Yoga for Athletes' dvd, and it actually has specific routines for tennis.

Another thing to focus on is strengthening your rotator cuff. If you are not familiar with what the rotator cuff is, it is a group of small muscles in the back of your shoulder that help stabilize the joint. It is these small muscles that slow down your arm when you hit a serve. As you can imagine, tennis puts a tremendous strain on them. If you do some research, you should be able to find a good strengthening program. If not, let me know and I will give you one. If you don't think this is important, talk to someone who has torn their rotator cuff and I think they will quickly change your mind.

Once you are ready to hit serves again, make sure that you are using your body to generate racquet speed. I learned this by hitting buckets of soft serves while focusing on a loose arm. I had to have intentions of hitting a soft serve to fool myself into keeping my arm loose. If you end up hitting a pretty powerful serve despite not trying to, you will feel how your body is generating the racquet speed instead of your arm. Once you discover the feeling, you just have to work on reproducing it. You may want to check out the Bollettieri Sonic Serve video to see if your mechanics are geared towards producing power. The video has helped my serve considerably.

Good luck!

Vin
 
I have the sonic serve video and it helped me a lot. Vin I would appreciate it if you could provide me with a good strengthening program if you have any spare time. My email is terferi@hotmail.com if thats easier. Thanks alot.

Matt
 

vin

Professional
Here's my current routine. Keep in mind that weight training is an interest for me outside of tennis, so my routine is not purely based on it. Also make sure that your shoulder pain is taken care of before you start lifting or you may make it worse.

I lift only two days a week because that is about the recovery limit for most average people. It's also about all the time I have when factoring in tennis and other interests and commitments.

Day 1
Weighted Crunches 1 x 10
Squats 1 x 10
Stiff Legged Deadlifts 1 x 10
Shoulder Press 2 x 5
Rotator Cuff exercises
Stretching

Day 2
Weighted Side Bends 1 x 10
Bench Press 2 x 5
Weighted Chin-ups 2 x 5
Bent Over Dumbell Row 1 x 10
Weighted Calf Raise 1 x 10
Rotator Cuff exercises
Stretching

When I have more time in the winter, I'll be doing more Yoga and track stuff in addition.

If you notice, I don't do that many exercises and mostly do basic compound exercises. In my opinion, that's all you really need. Don't get too caught up in the number of sets and reps, especially if you're a beginner. I'd say 2 sets of 10 for each exercise is a good place to start and you can customize to see what works best for you.

There's some discussion as to the shoulder press being a bad movement for a tennis players shoulder, so do your research if you decide that it's an exercise that you'd like to do. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it when done correctly. I've had some major shoulder issues and shoulder press has niether been a cause of the problems or a difficulty as a result of the problems.

It is also important to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. Weight training can mess you up just as bad as tennis if not done properly. Here are the two books that have had the most influence on my lifting. The second one discusses proper technique.

1. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...386-8873753?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

2. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t..._1_1/102-8999386-8873753?v=glance&s=books
 

vin

Professional
I just realized that you may be looking for a rotator cuff program, not a weight training program. DUH! If that's the case, let me know and I'll post my routine for that too. I guess I'll leave the weight training stuff here in case anyones interested in it.
 
thanks, more less the rotator cuff, but i was never too sure what i should concentrate on during lifting. I like to lift too, I have a smith machine in m basement so I can do alot of things by myself, but my dad can help if I need. Its not a very good one, but it could get the job done.
 

vin

Professional
The Smith machine is not good for weight lifting because if forces you into a path of motion that may not be natural for you. The only thing I've found it good for is calf raises. If you read the two books I mentioned, you will get further detail on why the smith machine is bad.

I'll post later on the rotator cuff strengthening.
 

Mikael

Professional
Vin is right. Free weights are always to be preferred since they give a greater role to stabilizer muscles thus limiting the risk of injury. Of course more attention has to be paid to good form and range of motion.
 

vin

Professional
I had trouble finding a website with pictures of a good variety of rotator cuff exercises, but this one should get you started.

http://www.nismat.org/ptcor/tennis_shoulder/

You should get a theraband to make your life easier. According to one of my physical therapists, using a band is superior to free weights because gravity is not involved which makes the resistance more constant. You can buy a kit that has the band, a handle, and a thing that lets you hook it up inside of a door which is very convenient. Theraband makes sport specific kits and if you get one of them, it comes with diagrams of different exercises. The kit is about $30. Do a google search for 'theraband tennis kit'.

You should also try and track down a copy of 'The 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution'. I think this is one of the best references available for people without a medical background. But it's out of print and difficult to get.
 

drummerboy

Rookie
I had some minor problems with the shoulder at times but it was in a time when I was playing with a lighter racquet. Now when I switched to heavier 330 g racquet the pain is not present anymore. I would suggest looking into your technique, doing some strenghtening exercises and taking into consideration that it might be also the frame you are using. Good luck.
 
thanks guys, i used to use the pro extreme ft, and now the lm prestige mid, but the ncode is comnig today so i am gonna use that. I think im gonna learn the left handed serve :) I'm gonna work on those exercises, and get one of those bands.
 

16

Rookie
I have been having trouble with my shoulder for about a month. I checked my serve technique and its fine in mine and my coaches oppinions, i swim do weight training, string with natural gut at low tension and always make sure my technique is a close to perfect as i can, and i do yoga. I do all this to make sure i don't get injured but i think i'am one of those people doomed to get injured no matter what. Anyway i have been doing more exercises geared to increase my shoulder/rotocuff to try to get over this injury asap since my college coach will be looking at me soon to decide where to put me on the team and i don't want any excuses. I'am a little frustrated since it took me 2 and a half years to get over my wrist tendinitis injury and know i'am playing my best tennis right now but can only play once to twice a week because of my shoulder. Its not killing me when i play but there is a slight pain near my scapular/rotocuff and inbetween my shoulder and chest. Any suggestions? I'am lost(doctors that are specialist, not the ones that just refere you to the specialists take about a month to get into up here)
 

vin

Professional
16 said:
Any suggestions?

Trigger Point Therapy. It will only cost you $20 and the time you are willing to put into it. A link to the book is higher up in this thread.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
vin: Excellent posts - well thought out and presented.

Any opinions on the surgical cord devices with the handles - I've used them (like the blue) for some time and they seem better than
free weights or the machines. Don't cost much, seem to last a lot longer than the flat rubber strips and can be used anywhere.
 
Thanks guys. MY coach told me that I shouldn't be lifting weights. He said tenditinitis. The reason was because of over use , playing lots of tennis and weight liftiing. I'm still gonna by trigger point.

Matt
 

vin

Professional
papa said:
Any opinions on the surgical cord devices with the handles - I've used them (like the blue) for some time and they seem better than
free weights or the machines.

Are you talking about the elastic bands used for physical therapy? This is the same thing as the Theraband that I described above. According to one of my physical therapists, using the bands are better than free weights because gravity is not involved and the resistance stays more constant throughout the motion. However, this is for strengthening small muscles like the rotator cuff and rehabilitation of injuries.

For regular strength training, I think free weights are better. Bands will make it hard to progress gradually over a long period of time and in some cases you may also not get enough resistance or will not be able to do certain exercises. For example, how do you exercise your legs with bands? And even if you can, how can you get the resistance that compares to a squat or leg press with a couple hundred pounds?

A simple way to make great strength gains is to focus on compound movements to reduce the amount of recovery needed and to gradually add resistance each workout. If you started doing squats today with 100 pounds and added only 2 pounds every week, you'd be squatting 204 pounds in a year! If you rushed and tried adding 5 pounds or more each week, chances are you'd hit a brick wall long before reaching the 204, or even worse, you'd injure yourself. I've hit this brick wall many times by not being patient. Of course there are exceptions like the people who have amazing recovery capabilities, but this is not the case for most people.
 

vin

Professional
mattlikovich said:
MY coach told me that I shouldn't be lifting weights. He said tenditinitis. The reason was because of over use , playing lots of tennis and weight liftiing.

I think you should get some more opinions.

Proper weight lifting should prevent more injuries than it causes. By strengthening the tendons, weight lifting should actually make it less likely for tennis to give you tendonitis rather than help cause it. I think the key here is moderation and proper technique. You only have to lift one or two days a week, and you don't have to use heavy weight.

Another consideration is your age. I have no idea what the implications are for a junior to be lifting weights, so you'd be better off talking to a doctor, physical therapist, or someone similar if you are under 18 to see if weight lifting will be safe for you.

Don't the pros lift weights? Doesn't Andre Agassi bench press 300 lbs? Are you playing more tennis than the pros? Why aren't all of them falling off from tendonitis?

If you watch the Tennis Channel, the No Strings segment on Taylor Dent shows his coach getting him in the weight room to help reduce his number of injuries.
 
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