Dealing with “Squash Shoulder”

First of all, there is not such a thing as “squash shoulder” although the field of sport medicine does have swimmer’s shoulder, tennis shoulder and pitcher’s shoulder.  Most chronic (versus an acute injury like a collision) sport shoulder pain comes from overhead throwing actions which we only do occasionally in squash – although the squash forehand is basically just a side-arm throwing action which does approximate a tennis slice serving action when volleying high balls on the forehand side (or even some serving actions).  Most squash players with shoulder pain have had previous injury in other sports or perhaps are overloading the shoulder by suddenly increasing the volume of play, perhaps in conjunction with freestyle swimming cross-training or progressing too quickly with the bench and military press in the weight room (activities not that useful for squash anyway).

The above links can be a useful guide for coaches of those squash players experiencing shoulder pain, but as always Exos offers very useful information and exercises for the shoulder area with their concept of Prehabilitation.

Here are two current handouts for a) rotator cuff (use while shoulder is stiff/painful) Rehab_Shoulder_5; and b) shoulder exercise routine labelled “Thrower’s Ten” for strengthening once pain is absent Throwers-Ten.

I was chatting yesterday with my Exercise & Sport Studies Department colleague Dr. Jim Johnson, who is himself just recovering from two shoulder surgeries.  Jim and a few other Smith College peers have just published a great, practical book which is an excellent resource for squash coaches:  Applied Sports Medicine for Coaches. I have had persistent shoulder pain myself, mostly after playing tennis, despite conscientious Core Performance training on the area.  Jim recommended I get an x-ray to rule out bone spurs.  Seeing a medical doctor is great advice for anyone whose shoulder pain continues despite rest, stretching and strengthening.

Tim Bacon, M.A., CSCS is the world’s leading expert on racquet sport science and coaching development having taught all areas of sport science as both a Lecturer at Smith College and as a Coach Developer for the Coaching Association of Canada while actively coaching (Squash Canada Level 4 Coach) and sport psychology consulting (25+ World Champions).  He currently runs his consulting practice out of Northampton, MA and maintains his active coaching as the Assistant Squash Coach at Wesleyan University during the CSA squash season (Nov. 1 – Mar. 1).


2 Responses to Dealing with “Squash Shoulder”

  1. Long Wang says:

    Good advice eh?
    I’m wondering if you might put in a link for the thrower’s 10? Have you seen that–a nice set of exercises for the overhand athlete.

  2. Tim Bacon says:

    Here is a good video link to Jim’s “Thrower’s 10” : – there is a PDFD you can download as well. Thanks Jim!

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