I tore my labrum in 2004, but not the way you might think. Not ripping a cross-court kill. Not laying out for a difficult dig. All I did was reach for a bottle of water while I was reading a book. True story.
I tell you this to emphasize how easy it is to injure your shoulder and how important it is that you do regular exercises before practices and matches to keep your hitting shoulder healthy.
If you’re a young player, this applies to you, too. Teenage athletes can hurt their shoulders just as easily as weathered 35-year-olds who have taken a million swings.
I was 30 when I tore my labrum. The doctor gave me a choice of treatments: surgery or rehab. Surgery would have meant missing the entire 2004 season, so I went with rehab. It turned out to be the right move. I played the entire season without a problem. I even won a tournament.
Four years later, when I teamed with Phil Dalhausser to win an Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, my shoulder was stronger than ever – and I still hadn’t had surgery. I kept it healthy doing the warmup routine you see here that strengthens the muscles and improves flexibility using basic exercise bands.
If you take a few minutes before practices and matches to do these exercises, you’ll increase your chances of having a healthy shoulder throughout the season. It’s well worth your time. Shoulders are valuable commodities for volleyball players and they need to be cared for properly.
EXERCISES 1 and 2
- Put the band under your right foot, hold it with your fingers facing the ground and pull up in a semi-circle motion until your arm is straight over your head. Do 10 reps.
- Repeat the same exercise with your left hand.
- Do the same exercise on both sides again, but this time hold the band as if you were doing a bicep curl.
- Put the band under your left foot and pull up so you finish with your arm extended above your right shoulder. Once you’ve done 10 reps with your right arm, do 10 more with your left.
- Hold the band behind your back with your left hand and pull it from behind your head with your right hand. Follow through with a down-the-line hitting motion. Once you’ve done 10 reps with your right arm, do 10 more with your left.
- Do the same as Exercise 4, but this time follow through with a cross-body motion. Do 10 reps with your right arm, then switch to your left.
Todd Rogers won 80 pro beach tournaments in his playing career, including a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Phil Dalhausser. A three-time Olympian and former second-team All American setter at UC Santa Barbara, Todd is currently the head beach coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.