April 25, 2018

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
I've been seeing a physical therapist three times/week, 90 minutes/visit, for two months, where I go through rigorous massage and shoulder stretching routines. I also do a 20-minute stretching routine twice a day.

Yesterday I saw the doctor again for an update. He put me through a number of tests. The good news was that my shoulder flexibility has gone from 50% normal to 70%. The bad news is that the shoulder hurts just as much as before - no improvement there. I can play with the pain - it's not that bad - but I'd just be injuring the shoulder further.

I'd already been diagnosed with a frayed rotator cuff, tendonitis, and bursitis in the shoulder, and with an extreme lack of shoulder flexibility due to muscle stiffness. Yesterday the doctor gave me a final diagnosis - Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. If I were to quit table tennis completely and only do normal things with the shoulder, it would gradually go away in 1-3 years - but that's not really an option, is it? So here are my real options.

OPTION ONE: I continue the stretching routines, and the shoulder will most likely return to near normal - but it would take many months, and could take a year, and it may never get well enough to play serious table tennis again.

OPTION TWO: Surgery. Tomorrow morning I'm meeting with a shoulder surgeon to go over this option. But the doctor told me that if I go this route, the shoulder most likely will be back to normal about two months after the surgery. Based on what I know right now (but before meeting with the surgeon), this sounds like the best option. But I am a bit surprised at the two-month recovery period from surgery to serious table tennis. He may have meant two months to "normal" activities. Table tennis isn't normal.

For now, I still can't do private coaching, though I'm doing a number of group sessions, and regularly feed multiball. But as noted in past blogs, if I feed backspin repetitively, it aggravates the shoulder. I've practiced left-handed backspin multiball, and can do a decent job of it, but probably not for high-level players. I can do easy hitting with beginners, but have to be careful not to reach for a ball - which is tricky since beginners hit the ball all over the table. I've actually hit with beginners a few times recently where I held my right arm in with my left, and any ball that I'd have to reach for I'd just let go. (It means a lot of footwork for me, getting to every ball without reaching!) But advanced players, while they have more control, hit faster, and one sudden bad move and I'd kill the shoulder. I have been doing demos in classes with other coaches, but I'm just blocking and doing easy stroking.

Tactics for Beating Weird Players
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

PingSkills Podcast
Here's the podcast (32:49), where they cover:

  • Joke of the Week
  • Competition
  • Win a PingSkills T-Shirt
  • On This Day: Jorgen Persson celebrates his birthday
  • Tournament Wrap: 2018 World Team Championships
  • Trill of the Week: Variation of speed with topspin
  • Practicing Backhand Chops
  • Difference Between Counterhit and Topspin
  • Rare Serve
  • Switching Sides
  • Video Translations

"Extra Events" – Building Excitement at a Small/Medium Club
Here's the article featuring Rhode Island Table Tennis, by Steve Hopkins.

World Team Championships History | China Claiming Record 20th Gold in 2016
Here's the video (55 sec).

Out of this World Table Tennis Rally between Xu Xin & Zhu Linfeng
Here's the video (65 sec).

Incredible Point Between Joo Saehyuk and Chuang Chih-Yuan
Here's the video (48 sec). Check out Chuang's footwork about halfway through, when he forehand loops from the extremely wide forehand, and follows with another forehand loop from the extreme backhand!

Meet the Chinese National Women's Team
Here's the video (7 sec)! I couldn't find a similar one for the Men's Team.

Addressing Needs, International Umpires Course Staged in Minsk
Here's the ITTF article.

What Is the Most Expensive Ping-Pong Paddle?
How about this $2712 one? (Also talks about expensive rubbers.) Here's another article on it.

Dog Watching Table Tennis
Here's the video (14 sec).

Donald the Penholder vs the Robot
Here's the cartoon! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) "O Pato Donald" is apparently the Spanish version of Donald Duck.

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