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Shoulder pain depends on Racket ???

Discussion in 'Injuries' started by Rajaindra, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    Hi all,

    This is my first post as I just joined the community around 2 min ago :).
    Anyways, a bit of description about myself. I am 23 and being a huge sports enthusiast, I enjoy a lot of sports. Was a good tennis player and switched to Badminton around 6 months ago. I play (or used to play, before a hairline ankle fracture playing volleyball 3 months ago) around 5 days @3 hrs worth of badminton and usually swim or play volleyball too sometimes. I was lucky enough to pick up Badminton quickly and compete with decent players before my injury to my shoulder, two weeks before the fracture to my ankle.

    I was using a even-balanced racket (a Karakal Tour gel), and my game improved by leaps and bounds and in 4 months of play (and a bit of training of 2 sessions a week), I was going great guns. I thought that it was the perfect time to switch to a more serious racket. I asked a friend of mine who has been playing Badminton for ages to get me a good racket as I wanted to get on to serious training. He got me a NS 6000 strung at 24. I got in to it with gusto and it vaguely felt that the racket was not as powerful. But my skills at net shots and drives went up and I was happy. This was until the guts broke and I had it restrung at 25 with Bg-65, on the advice of another friend.

    Alas here my travails with the racket begin. Within three days, I pulled my shoulder trying to hit smashes (from possibly incorrect positions, as my badminton coach often berates me on my smash looking like a tennis serve i.e. hitting the smash just above your head). I couldn't lift my arm over my head. So I duly gave it some rest and ardently kept practicing footwork during the regular sessions till my eventual ankle fracture. I gave it a rest of two months (sometimes prematurely playing even though I was hobbling :) ). After two months I restarted badminton, but after two days of playing, I got back the shoulder pain. I find that I can no longer clear to the back court (with NS 6000), without using a great deal of force. Most of my smashes are being lifted, which made me realize that my smash is much slower now. I finally got fed up with the racket and went back to my old one. Lo and behold, the effortless clears and decent wrist smashes were back and I felt no pain in my shoulder during the entire session :eek:.

    So I am in this dilemma, that maybe the racket may not be good for my poor shoulder. Maybe 25 was too high a tension or NS 6000 being a head light racket (I found this out during my 'research' a.k.a going through badmintoncentral articles and videos :D).
    So does this mean that the racket is not good for my style of play??

    I am considering getting myself a VT 70 now. I am testing out the VT 70 and others (by borrowing from a friend ;)) tomorrow and hope I solve the eternal question of 'The ONE'.

    PS: I am 6 1', around 180 lbs, fit, lots of stamina. Style of play: Like smashing :D, learnt the basics, somewhere between the beginner-Average-good depending on the perspective I suppose ;).
     
  2. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Before you changed rackets, what string tension were you using? 25 lbs is quite high for an amateur player, especially given you've only been playing for 6 months.

    Too-high string tension can easily cause shoulder injuries.

    Most likely, your old racket is at a much lower tension (probably 20 lbs or less). This tension is more appropriate for you, and that's probably why your old racket gives more power and less pain.
     
  3. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    Yes. The older racket was strung at 24 with BG 65. So it must be down to 21-22 by now.

    Btw, I asked one of my good friends who is a very good player (he was training for Chinese nationals) to use NS 6000 and even he wasn't able to get to the back court consistently in a game (which he usually does with his AT900T). I will remember the lesson of the ills of stringing the tension too high.

    But nevertheless I have decided to change the racket (as I have now a deep mistrust on NS 6000 :(). Will try out many rackets today and hopefully find a good one.
     
  4. Andy05

    Andy05 Regular Member

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    Wow, you are a good first time poster! Outlined the injury properly, racquets used and tensions.
    Unfortunately I can't think of a reason.
    Unless, sometimes when I swap to my 4th reserve racquet, I try to play too hard to compensate for the racquet not being the same feel and repulsion as my others. Consequently after a session my shoulder feels sore. Sometimes trying for the extra power reduces your power, you don't hit as cleanly and some of your muscle work against each other.
    Have you played with the NS6000 just in an easy social game where a 70% smash could easily beat your opponents, or their smashes pose no problem so you don't need to clear as far?
     
  5. coachgary

    coachgary Regular Member

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    It's not just string tension. A bigger factor in this case is the stiffness of the shaft. The Tour Gel is much more flexible and forgiving for those who are improving. The stiffer the racket the more MusclePower you need to get it working.
     
  6. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    My point smashes (using only my wrist) with my older racket sometimes seems more powerful than my full-blooded ones :eek:.

    I have tried using lesser power, but the result has been that the opposition returns my smash easily either with a drive/clear to back court.
     
  7. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    "It's not just string tension. A bigger factor in this case is the stiffness of the shaft. The Tour Gel is much more flexible and forgiving for those who are improving. The stiffer the racket the more MusclePower you need to get it working."

    Umm I am still not sure of the gains and ills of using a flex racket. I was of the opinion that I was fairly strong as I used to go to a gym not long ago and easily shoulder press 40 lbs. Will be more careful from now on.
     
  8. justinpops

    justinpops Regular Member

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    I've got some pain in my shoulders ever since I started back on badminton. My first racquet was the MP-45. Strung at 25lb Bg66.
    Then got the VT70 and the pain is not there anymore but it is strung at 24lbs. Definitely the tension gives a problem. Then again, the VT70 is pretty forgiving and also decent flex on it. And since you have a little bit of smashing problems on maybe accuracy, VT70 is fantastic and can solve that problem as well. You will start to have steeper smashes and clears are not so taxing on your shoulders.
     
  9. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Coming from tennis, you've really really got to make sure you don't overuse your shoulder... as badminton uses mostly forearm and wrist. That is your main problem.

    Concentrate on whipping your forearm and racket, instead of powering thru with your shoulder. All muscles should be as relaxed as possible during the swing, until just before the strike, that's when you accelerate into the bird quickly, then relax immediately after.
     
  10. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    @visor: Sure will keep that in mind. My coach has me practice the wrist flick motion (for smash and point smash) daily. I hope it helps.

    @justinpops: I went back to my old racket (Karakal Tour gel) and for the second consecutive day, my smashes were steep (I use 6 1' to good effect :)) and powerful (as I won many points against good players). More importantly no pain in my shoulder ;). Yes I am planning to buy VT 70 but want to test it out and a couple of other rackets. But boy today was awesome :D.
     
  11. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    +1 for the first sentence.

    Being a big guy from tennis, there is always the temptation to use the muscular strength of a tennis swing.

    The other thing is that with different racquets and different strings, the contact point will change slightly. I'm guessing you lost a bit of speed on the smash and tried to compensate with it by putting more physical strength in the smash.

    Badminton is a funny game where being big and muscular doesn't necessarily translate into more power - hence the beauty of the game being a great equaliser of physical differences between players.

    Instead of thinking "use forearm and wrist", I would advise learning about pronation of the racquet head and using the fingers to generate the 'explosive' force in the overhead. If you incorporate this into your technique, I am sure the "forearm and wrist" are going to follow very naturally :)

    If your point smashes seem more powerful than the full blooded ones, this would point to inefficient body action restricting the full smashes. Possibly more body rotation during the shot would help.

    Would you say your point smashes are of very different power between the different racquets?

    What is the size of the badminton handle. Do you build it up to a very thick grip?
     
    #11 Cheung, Jan 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  12. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    "The other thing is that with different racquets and different strings, the contact point will change slightly. I'm guessing you lost a bit of speed on the smash and tried to compensate with it by putting more physical strength in the smash."

    I suspect what you said is true. I think that the higher tension and the racket being head light (it feels so light) has combined to make me try putting more pressure on my shoulder. I can agree with you that my smashes still arent 100% (atleast my coach says so), but in terms of using wrist I am getting there :).

    "If your point smashes seem more powerful than the full blooded ones, this would point to inefficient body action restricting the full smashes. Possibly more body rotation during the shot would help."

    Maybe I wasn't clear. My point smashes with my older racket (Karakal Tour gel) seemed better than the full blooded ones with the NS 6000.

    "What is the size of the badminton handle. Do you build it up to a very thick grip?"

    I generally dont put overgrips, and just have 1 grip over the manufacturers grip.
     
  13. cobalt

    cobalt Moderator

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    I honestly don't think the racquets are the issue, per se. Maybe the string tension, to an extent. But from what I've read so far, it probably points to improper technique. And when you have improper technique, the harder you try, the greater the chances of injuring yourself. I think you may want to stop playing competitive games for a while and just get back to training, rallying etc. and practising footwork and a relaxed grip.

    Another suggestion: don't try to go full out with "full blooded smashes" (I noticed you put a lot of emphasis on this,) instead try to achieve the flow of the stroke.
     
  14. Rajaindra

    Rajaindra Regular Member

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    @Cobalt: will keep that in mind :)
     

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