how do you play through pain?

this post is really a question.  for a while now i’ve been having shoulder pain, sometimes during play.  i was playing the other day and my shoulder was bothering me.  since my shoulder was kind of painful and tight, it was difficult to maintain a loose arm swing, a key component of my stroke.  subsequently, the power of my stroke was reduced to about 50%.  i had all these shots in my head, but when i get down to execute, i couldn’t make anything work.  i tried different techniques like slowing down my backswing then gently swing my arm forward again, lots of breathing, etc., but i couldn’t get my stroke back consistently.  so i was reduced to the rollercoaster cycle of hitting one really good shot then flubbing the next.  any meaningful chance of running out was wasted away by my inability to pocket balls consistently.

i completely accepted my performance mentally, knowing i wasn’t playing poorly, but my body was hitting its limits and i physically couldn’t execute the shots.  i picked the right shots to run out, i just couldn’t hit the shots correctly.  the good thing was that i stayed positive.  the inquisitive side of my brain then asked the question: are there techniques that will help you play through pain, aside from the obvious solution of painkillers?

i’m more interested with techniques that can help during the match.  preventative measures are great, but for this post i’d like to know techniques you can use on the spot.  any insights or tips are appreciated.

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4 comments on “how do you play through pain?

  1. First of all, I assume you are right handed, you play right handed, and thus your pain is in your right shoulder? If so, here are some thoughts…
    (1) If you think the pain is attributed to playing too much, consider taking some time off. (gasp!)
    (2) Stretching at night and before playing using some standard baseball stretches which work on the arm and shoulders. I did them in high school, so I know most of them…maybe you can find them on the internet.
    (3) Try shooting left handed for a change. Acquiring that ability will get you out of some uncomfortable situations.
    (4) Try shooting some shots with the bridge…even if you shouldn’t need the bridge. Again, the practice will be good for your game anyway.
    (5) Consider changing your style of play. If you normally favor draw shots for position or use lots of English, try hitting only natural shots…no English or draw allowed. This will make you focus on distance control and make you learn new routes…and also keep your brain so preoccupied that you may ignore the pain.
    (5) If all else fails, Motrin tends to work pretty well, especially if the issue is inflammation.

  2. I recently was having recurrent pain in my left shoulder (my bridge arm) while shooting. Based on feedback I received from a pro who happended to be around, I was holding my left arm too straight (elbow joint almost locked). I put more bend in my elbow and voila!, the shoulder pain went away. Have someone observe you when you shoot to see if you are doing something mechanically that is contributing to the pain. For example, is your shooting forearm hanging from your elbow in the vertical plane? Are you holding your shooting elbow too high above your body, thereby causing extra torque in the shoulder? When you shoot, do you drop your elbow during your follow through? When your opponent complains about the fact that you’re running too many balls, do you smack him upside the head with a right hook or a quick left-right combination? All of these could cause pain.

    • that’s it!! i totally forget that when people complain about my runouts, i bump them really hard with my right shoulder. after about 50 bumps in one hour of course i’d have pain.

      thank u michael. how could i’ve been so blind?

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