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Old 04-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default Before you quit tennis due to shoulder pain, try this.

Is serving a tennis ball so painful that you’ve considered surgery or quitting the game altogether?

Since I tore the labrum in my right shoulder, serving with that arm causes significant pain the following day. But I recently developed an adequate left handed serve which may allow me to play matches and avoid surgery. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can make this switch, if you take it step-by-step.

In about 3.5 hours, you can develop an adequate (but not powerful) serve that will “serve” you just fine at the 3.0 – 4.0 level.


Switch your serving arm with these 4 exercises:

1. Baseball throws (10 minutes). Throw a ball against a wall with a baseball pitcher motion. Be loose, snap your wrist, and try not to throw hard.
2. “Frying pan” bunts from the service line (30 minutes). Grab the racquet with the same grip you’d use to pick up a frying pan. Choke up on the racquet, and bunt balls into the opposite service box. This helps to develop “feel” for placing the ball on the sweet spot.
3. Practice making contact from the “backscratch” position (1 hour) against a fence. This will be awkward. You will miss the ball completely and shank many off the frame. But continue until you can reliably place the strings on the ball…regardless of where that ball goes. Avoid the temptation hit the ball hard.
4. Serve in the “backscratch” position from the baseline (2 hours). At first, just “lob” in your serves to get a feel for the location of the service box. Avoid rotating the shoulders and hips. Don’t bend your the knees. Just focus on your arm motion only. Only swing harder when you can reliably make 6 serves in a row.

Focus on contact first and accuracy second.

The first attempt I made to switch my service arm failed quickly. I took a bucket of balls to the baseline and tried to replicate my entire motion–arm, shoulders, hips, and legs–at once. That’s too many moving parts! I shanked ball after ball and gave up in 30 minutes.

My second attempt “stuck” because I broke the task into 4 achievable goals. Once I could reliably find the sweet spot on the racket, it wasn’t much work to direct the ball into the service box.
You need less service pace than you think as a 3.0 – 4.0 player.

I’ve tested my lefty serve in a few matches and found it’s not the crippling weakness I worried it would be because I:

1. Don’t double fault.
2. Keep the ball low.
3. Can direct to the backhand or forehand.

Yes, I must be extra alert for my opponent’s service return, but I’m coping fine. And my shoulder feels wonderful.

Watch the video: how I made the switch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3McSblMhBgo

Read the complete article, and more articles to improve your tennis on my blog:
http://volleycam.com/cure-tennis-sho...ur-serving-arm
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Before you quit tennis due to shoulder pain, try this.

It is obviously an interesting proposition to switch serving handedness, but as you pointed out it really won't allow you to progress as much. I would certainly be worried about the time it takes to swap back to being right handed especially when the return is being played quite fast on you.

Of course if you practised hard enough, you could take such a lefty serve into a real weapon at least some day. However, typically since you would only be using your left hand to serve, I don't think the progression to make it viable is worth it.

Have you tried various techniques to help ease the pain on your right shoulder? As in take adequate time away from the game, get plenty of rest and do drills and weight lifting reps for your shoulder. Regardless, I'm sure you have talked to a doctor about your shoulder, so what options did he give you?
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Before you quit tennis due to shoulder pain, try this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKz View Post
It is obviously an interesting proposition to switch serving handedness, but as you pointed out it really won't allow you to progress as much. I would certainly be worried about the time it takes to swap back to being right handed especially when the return is being played quite fast on you.

Of course if you practised hard enough, you could take such a lefty serve into a real weapon at least some day. However, typically since you would only be using your left hand to serve, I don't think the progression to make it viable is worth it.

Have you tried various techniques to help ease the pain on your right shoulder? As in take adequate time away from the game, get plenty of rest and do drills and weight lifting reps for your shoulder. Regardless, I'm sure you have talked to a doctor about your shoulder, so what options did he give you?
Got an MRI 18 months ago.

Torn labrum.

Surgeon says try physical therapy first, because surgery is expensive ($12k out of my pocket) and painful (1 year until you return to tennis).

So I stopped tennis and did the therapy.

I can do everything at work and home that I need to with my right arm.

And I can play tennis.

But I can't serve with my right arm.

So serving with my left makes tennis possible.

And yes, people do lob me. I can hit 5-10 overheads a match right handed without pain.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Before you quit tennis due to shoulder pain, try this.

Hey,

I actually hit my ground strokes lefty, but serve righty. I'm naturally left handed but for whatever reason I can only serve with my right hand. The funny thing is that I actually have a lot of pain in my right elbow whenever I play in tournaments. I might try this to see if I can add a lefty serve with my game. It could really throw opponents off and could save me a lot of pain.
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