Sprained my back after practicing serves

#1
I served everyday this week, 200-500 balls a day.
Then today, I sprained my back while going for a DTL BH slice.

It's the first time, aside from ankle irritation this summer, that I've injured myself.
(Both times from serving).

Now at home, I can't bend down without the left lower back hurting.

How can I reach 1 million serves now... Only do 100 serves per day? :(
I'm already 30. Haha.

What exercises should I be doing to prevent this in the future?
One legged dumbbell pickups?
 
#3
I served everyday this week, 200-500 balls a day.
Then today, I sprained my back while going for a DTL BH slice.

It's the first time, aside from ankle irritation this summer, that I've injured myself.
(Both times from serving).

Now at home, I can't bend down without the left lower back hurting.

How can I reach 1 million serves now... Only do 100 serves per day? :(
I'm already 30. Haha.

What exercises should I be doing to prevent this in the future?
One legged dumbbell pickups?
Ripping and tearing is part of the process of flexibility. Unfortunately to get there sometimes its too far.
Lay on your back and point your heels toward the sky. Arms over head, or to the side to keep balance.
Start making small circles with your feet, lower back can be slightly off ground, do this when you'll wake up and as often as you can. Eventually you'll be throwing your legs around and tightening your core and back. Working for me.
 
#6
Allow 6 weeks recovery for lumbar strain and slowly build yourself back up. Do not go back out and serve after you are pain-free 3 weeks from now. Ask me how I know.
 
#8
I served everyday this week, 200-500 balls a day.
Then today, I sprained my back while going for a DTL BH slice.

It's the first time, aside from ankle irritation this summer, that I've injured myself.
(Both times from serving).

Now at home, I can't bend down without the left lower back hurting.

How can I reach 1 million serves now... Only do 100 serves per day? :(
I'm already 30. Haha.

What exercises should I be doing to prevent this in the future?
One legged dumbbell pickups?
just curious, how long did 500 balls take to serve?

is that 2x 300 ball carts?

100 balls takes me about an hour, including ball pickup.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#11
just curious, how long did 500 balls take to serve?

is that 2x 300 ball carts?

100 balls takes me about an hour, including ball pickup.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I had only 6 hours of sleep today, so that may have been it too...

Yeah the day I served 500 was after 1 day break.
It was a cart of 350, and I had it right next to me. Took about 2 hours.
Some weren't full motion serves, but just me tinkering with the prep phase, head position, feet position, etc.

The pros have served over a million I think, so I need to catch up before I turn 40.. that's 10 years to get a million at around 270 per day lol

Here's me 2 weeks ago... will upload more once my back recovers.
This was just after around 300 serves.

 
#12
Ripping and tearing is part of the process of flexibility. Unfortunately to get there sometimes its too far.
Lay on your back and point your heels toward the sky. Arms over head, or to the side to keep balance.
Start making small circles with your feet, lower back can be slightly off ground, do this when you'll wake up and as often as you can. Eventually you'll be throwing your legs around and tightening your core and back. Working for me.
Thanks, I'll try that.
 
#13
I had only 6 hours of sleep today, so that may have been it too...

Yeah the day I served 500 was after 1 day break.
It was a cart of 350, and I had it right next to me. Took about 2 hours.
Some weren't full motion serves, but just me tinkering with the prep phase, head position, feet position, etc.

The pros have served over a million I think, so I need to catch up before I turn 40.. that's 10 years to get a million at around 270 per day lol

Here's me 2 weeks ago... will upload more once my back recovers.
This was just after around 300 serves.

4.1 servers per minute... it's like a machine gun!
did someone have a shot clock on you? :p
nice serve
 
#14
Nope, I'd be curious to see the speed (80-90mph?)
I just want the ball to kick up, since I'm tall enough to smash it down.

I'm working on wide serves (slice deuce, flat ad side).

I also switched from 12.6 to 10.6oz racket 2 months ago lol, so I can literally be on the court 5 hours a day.
 
#15
I serve 100 balls on deuce side and another 100 balls on advantage side.

You must use TRX method before and after. It worked like a charm for my injured shoulder! I had to correct my serve technique, so far, it's all good.
 
#16
I served everyday this week, 200-500 balls a day.
Then today, I sprained my back while going for a DTL BH slice.

It's the first time, aside from ankle irritation this summer, that I've injured myself.
(Both times from serving).

Now at home, I can't bend down without the left lower back hurting.

How can I reach 1 million serves now... Only do 100 serves per day? :(
I'm already 30. Haha.

What exercises should I be doing to prevent this in the future?
One legged dumbbell pickups?
Ok I was like you, I practiced my serves ALOT and practicing too much kick serves with toss too far back wrecked my low back. The first thing you need to do is STOP playing...for now, because trust me, you don't wanna end up like me and not being able to walk, stand or sit for weeks.

Now, the rehab exercise that helped me control my back pain (it's still there but manageable) is to do sloppy/lazy push-ups. This is where you lay down flat and only push up using your arms. If there is pain then adjust by having your arms further in front of you

Avoid any workout or movement that

Also, if you were thinking about getting back braces, I advise you not to get one. It doesn't help and I personally believe it slows down your recovery
 
#17
I should mention that I changed my serve stance due to my age (I’m 40). Don’t want to risk my back if I I produced a nasty kick serve like I did in the old days. With the new serve stance, I can serve with serving side like sidewinder spins.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#18
I served everyday this week, 200-500 balls a day.
Then today, I sprained my back while going for a DTL BH slice.

It's the first time, aside from ankle irritation this summer, that I've injured myself.
(Both times from serving).

Now at home, I can't bend down without the left lower back hurting.

How can I reach 1 million serves now... Only do 100 serves per day? :(
I'm already 30. Haha.

What exercises should I be doing to prevent this in the future?
One legged dumbbell pickups?
Overuse injury.

You will be more prone to injuries as you get older.

Serve less and/or take rest days.
 
#20
Ripping and tearing is part of the process of flexibility. Unfortunately to get there sometimes its too far.
Lay on your back and point your heels toward the sky. Arms over head, or to the side to keep balance.
Start making small circles with your feet, lower back can be slightly off ground, do this when you'll wake up and as often as you can. Eventually you'll be throwing your legs around and tightening your core and back. Working for me.
My Chihuahua does that in the grass ... and he never has back issues.
 
#22
I served everyday this week, 200-500 balls a day.
Then today, I sprained my back while going for a DTL BH slice.

It's the first time, aside from ankle irritation this summer, that I've injured myself.
(Both times from serving).
.................................................
" (Both times from serving)" (both injuries). Both from serving?

Why not from the slice backhand? Since you hurt your back on a slice backhand if you have any videos of your slice backhand you should look at those.

Don't get injury diagnoses or treatments from the internet. See a specialist Dr for diagnosis and treatment. Study the healing times of tissues such as ligaments, tendons, discs, all that might be injured. If there is an injury such as a tissue tear many healing times are long, months.

................................
Some weren't full motion serves, but just me tinkering with the prep phase, head position, feet position, etc.

The pros have served over a million I think, so I need to catch up before I turn 40.. that's 10 years to get a million at around 270 per day lol

Here's me 2 weeks ago... will upload more once my back recovers.
This was just after around 300 serves.

From the two serves on the video, your back does not appear to have larger angles that appear stressful. A camera view from the side would show your back bends from that other view.

Search: Chas Tennis Vimeo and look at some of the poster's serves, several appear stressful. The thumbnails to identify the videos are usually the frame of impact. Look at back curves at impact and during the service motion.

Unless those were different type serves, the fact that you are doing two different foot movements in the two serves indicates that you have not grooved your service motion. Your two serves have foot work questions after landing. Your left foot does not land very much into the court on both serves, but a lot of rec players do that. The first serve on the clip, the left foot after landing comes up with a quick left foot pick up. ? Your right foot goes up but then you walk into the court with the right foot, I guess, to help keep your balance.?

You look at the ball through contact. The majority of high level ATP servers break off several milliseconds before impact. I believe that they do that so so that they can bend forward more with lees neck stress. Look at videos of where servers are looking at impact. Estimate %.

Move the camera closer for a bigger image. Your racket is too blurry to see. In the future, video outdoors in direct sunlight and there should be much less motion blur.

High level serves land on the left foot and the right foot goes up behind. I believe the view that the right foot goes up to maintain balance.
 
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#23
I went out to hit against the wall, then easy rallies with a friend today for an hour.
I noticed that I can still move and even hit light serves without any pain.

But when I go pick up balls, it will hurt if I 'bend' my back, instead of keeping it straight.
I wonder if it's because I'm not landing properly when serving, or because I'm just picking up too many balls lol :rolleyes:
 
#24
" (Both times from serving)" (both injuries). Both from serving?

High level serves land on the left foot and the right foot goes up behind. I believe the view that the right foot goes up to maintain balance.
That's true, my momentum was going too far 'left' so I over rotated, as you can see when I'm running forward-left.
I think I've corrected that last week, but we'll see once my back recovers.
I was thinking to swing 'forward' along the ad side base line, instead of 'left' into the court. That's what makes my feet elevate in mid air, because of the momentum.
Also it feels like I'm doing a little ab curl as well.

As for the 'quick left foot pickup', I was just using the momentum to get back into position for the 2nd serve, in order to keep the rhythm going.
So the 2nd serve, I was done, and I let my momentum run its course.

Thanks for the feedback!
 
#25
But when I go pick up balls, it will hurt if I 'bend' my back, instead of keeping it straight.
One good stretch for the lower back: position yourself as if you were going to do a pushup. Keep your hands spread wider than shoulder-width. *Gradually* [an inch at a time] push your upper body off of the ground while keeping your waist and everything below on the ground. If it starts to hurt, don't continue. You could also experience pain going down your leg; the further away it radiates, the worse the injury. Hopefully you can do it with only mild discomfort/tightness. Over time, start bringing your hands closer together, which will make the stretch more difficult because the angle your back makes with the ground will get larger.

Another is to lie face down with your arms on the floor above your head. Raise the left arm and right leg simultaneously and hold for 10 s. Lower and repeat with the right arm and left leg. Then do both arms and both legs. Again, if there's any pain, back off [no pun intended]. This is the Superman exercise [cape optional].

These exercises helped me when I had lower back issues. Additionally, strengthening the core and loosening the hamstrings will help.
 
#26
to op:

1. Never hit more than 200 practice serves in a day. 50 to 200 balls is sufficient for any single day of serve practice.
2. Make sure you have good technique - maybe see a coach and/or video your serve. Really make sure you are bending at the knee and not arching the lower back.
3. look up lower back and core strength and stretching exercises and develop a routine that you can use. Work on strength 1 to 3 times per week and work on stretching a lot - ideally, you would stretch after each practice and at other times during the week.
 
#27
Back is healed, served ~120 balls today.
Think I discovered another technique.
Will see if it sticks tomorrow.

Thanks guys, I do need to make stretching a habit after practice and do some strength exercises.
 
#28
Injuries Related to Technique

If you have any pain stop doing tennis strokes and especially stop trying anything new until you know what is going on. Many times a high speed video of your serve will show obvious flaws - differences to high level serves and often they may even look look stressful. If the flaws in the video are anywhere near the pain learn about that issue. Many common flaws are well known and there is information available on them, but do not diagnose yourself.
 
#29
i think your ball toss is a bit high.. and its forcing you to "hurry up" the serve... im sure youve tried the lower toss.. but just an observation...
 
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