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  1. #1
    Regular Member StefanDO's Avatar
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    Default Head-light vs. head-heavy rackets and shoulder pain

    Hi!

    So far I've always read that in case you experience shoulder pain, you should change to a more head-light racket (in case you've been using a head-heavy racket). Over the past few weeks, however, I experienced kind of the contrary: I bought a Yonex Nanoray 700FX (head-light), because I'm mainly playing doubles, so I wanted a racket which I can maneuvre fast and easily. Regarding power of smashes and clears, I did not experience them to be weaker (contrary to what I read before). But over the weeks, shoulder pain developed (at that time I thought it was due to more attacks as opposed to my playing style some time ago). When the strings of the 700FX were gone, I had to change to my former (less head-light) racket (Carlton Powerblade Graphite). Within a week, the shoulder pain went away almost completely. Then I started playing with the newly strung 700FX again - and the shoulder pain returned. Yesterday it was so bad that I felt I could hardly clear or smash anymore, so I changed to the Powerblade during the game. I immediately achieved better clears and smashes. Note that both rackets are strung at the same tension (22 lbs) with the same strings (BG66 Ultimax).

    My fazit: Clears and smashes *are* less powerful with head-light rackets, but one may not be aware that one puts more power into clears and smashes, which is more demanding for the shoulder. Once your shoulder is sore and your shots lack power, it may be the right treatment to temporarily use a less head-light racket - at least that's what I'll do for the next weeks or even months. After that, I may choose head-light rackets only for doubles in which the opponents have good attacks (so that a racket which supports speed rather than power is the better choice).

    What do you think about this? I was quite surprised that a less head-light racket helped me to reduce shoulder pain, as some stated head-heavy rackets should be avoided then (or is this only the case for pain of upper / lower arm but not shoulder?). Or do you think it's because the Powerblade Graphite's stiffness is flex, whereas it's medium for the Nanoray 700FX?

  2. #2
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    I do have experience like you. Now , I used a head-heavy raquet (Balance Point 29,4 cm) , because I think when I use the head-light , I must applied more swing power to do clear shot or smash shot which make my shoulder hurt. After I change to head-heavy type, i don't have to swing my arm so fast to make a good clear shot and that makes my shoulder better.

    But, using head-heavy type of raquet require a good wrist power. It takes a while to get used to a head-heavy raquet, but once you get used to it , and have a good wrist power... your shot will be powerful without using so much power of your shoulder swing.

    That is my opinion base from my own exp.

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    It's not just the head heavy vs head light racket. The racket stiffness also contributes.

    The Arc8DX (even balance/extra stiff) gave me shoulder pains but the MX60 (head heavy/medium flex) doesn't.

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    Heeh, you've stumbled into a grey area in which I call sword in the stone! Forget everything you've read and just use something that works for you. In my case, I used to use the Carlton Superlites and could generate lots of power through a fast swing speed. That caused my shoulder to become injured and I switched to head heavier rackets and they just felt more natural and had more power with a slower swing speed at the cost of overall speed. I haven't gotten an injury since and my power has increased even more along with my defense.

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    I find the biggest influence of shoulder pain is not the balance but the stiffness, weight and string tension of the racquet. My problem started when I started to use very stiff racquets at high tension (30lb) but eased as I used less stiff racquets. I also found that changing from 2U to 3U helped.

    In terms of balance, I've stopped using headheavy racquets and at the same time tried to minimise the amount of work my shoulder has to do. In other words, I've adapted my stroke to rely more on wrist/elbow etc to play a smash for instance and so I've gone for even balance racquets as there is less head-mass to accelerate. I think this is why people find that head light racquets give them more problems. Head light racquets obviously would swing faster, so if you do not adapt your stroke it may cause more injury. It's a bit like free swinging your arm, if there is no resistance, your shoulder will need to be strong to keep your arm stable. If it is not strong enough, you could risk injury. On the other hand, head heavy racquets would be better for the shoulder if you're prepared to sacrifice swing speed (power), but for short sharp strokes such as in doubles you may not be able to, so your shoulder would have to do more work to accelerate the extra mass. In my view, even balance is best for my shoulder problem.

    Contrary to what someone said above, I've found the AS 8DX to be quite good on the shoulder, despite being quite stiff - not as stiff as MP100. I've reduced my normal tension of about 30lb to 27lb now and found that that also helped.

    However I've noticed one thing that helps in reducing pain is to fully stretch and warm up the shoulder muscles before play, and then cover it up and keep it warm between games. I'm looking to get a neoprene shoulder strap to help keep the shoulder warm, has anyone tried them?

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    Regular Member extremenanopowe's Avatar
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    I think it is more of a dynamics of how you swing your shoulders. Elbow pain yes, probably due to 'too stiff' rackets.

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    Before I start playing, I always do a fully stretch and warm up. It will help to reduce the pain. It really help ro reduce the pain

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