"Orthopedic Surgeons and Shoulder Injuries: Can the Rotator Cuff be Saved with Corrective Exercise and Improved Tennis Technique?"

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons report;

In 2003, approximately 13.7 million people went to the doctor’s office for a shoulder problem, including 3.7 million visits for shoulder and upper arm sprains and strains.

Shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities such washing walls, hanging curtains, and gardening.”

How about performing an over head serve like this?

So add poor technique to the list of potential causes of injury. In the rare case that someone has ideal posture, muscular balance, great neuromuscular control but they are learning how to serve overhead, or are just bad at it, injury may result as well.

I was talking to a client of mine who is a certified High Performance Coach through the United States Tennis Association, excellent tennis pro and all around good guy, Tim Smith, about the shoulder complex and how it relates to tennis. In his years of experience as a player, coach with the New England Academy of Tennis and Director of the Junior Program at Longwood Country Club in Brookline, MA Tim has seen plenty! The topic that day was internal rotation of the shoulder, or lack of it, and how that impacts the follow through on the overhead serve. Just like I have talked about before, this can cause unwanted movement of the scapulae leading to impingement in the glenohumeral joint amongst other maladies. of course I brought up Maria Sharapova, who I have written about a few times and Tim mentioned seeing that same compensation in many players. We then reviewed some soft tissue techniques and stretches that are critical for tennis players to do on a regular basis to keep the shoulder healthy.

Soft tissue work like this;

or this…

Stretches such as the sleeper stretch…

Or if you have access to a SHARQ…

There are many people that need help with corrective exercise and refining their tennis game. We want to get to them before they get hurt! An ounce of prevention…

Tim is doing some great stuff with video work comparing his players execution to that or pros, much like I do with the overhead and single leg squat. I enjoy my conversations with him and look to improving our ability to help our clients and athletes move better, play better and play longer!

Currently editing my DVD “Secrets and Staples of Training the tennis Shoulder”! Looks great so far! Over two and a half hours of content! Hope to have it ready by April first!

Thanks for reading!

Eric Beard
Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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