October 28, 2013

Shoulder Soreness Advice and College Volleyball Recruiting


We have been reading your blog and your book for 2 plus years now.  Thank you for the service you provide to families of volleyball athletes.

My daughter is just starting her Junior year of HS volleyball.  She played club all the way through AAUs.  She took the month of July off to rest until 2 a days started in August.

Now it is the end of August and we are dealing with shoulder soreness.  She is a 6'3" MB/RS who has multiple D1 schools actively recruiting her.

The soreness became evident during AAUs but we thought the rest would do the trick.  We have her icing after practice and matches now.  We have gotten advice on some shoulder exercise using bands.

From what coaches tell us, her form/mechanics are not bad.  But perhaps that needs further evaluation too.


Is more rest required?  Should periodic rest like taking off certain days from hitting be enough?

When should we see a physician to be sure we are not dealing with an injury versus soreness?

If a college knows she is having these issues will this scare them away?

Will she always be one of the ones with ice on her shoulder or will she be able to get away from that with proper conditioning/strength training?

Thanks for your insight on this.  I want to do the right thing for her first and foremost.

Concerned VB Dad

Glad to hear www.collegevolleyballcoach.com and Inside College Volleyball has helped!  

To jump right into your questions:

1.  More rest won't really help.  If she took 4 weeks off (or mostly) off, then more rest won't fix any problems, just lesson the pain, which will return when she starts swinging again.  It is hard to know exactly, because I don't know the amount of swings she took so far in the early practice/matches.

2.  Periodic rest would help, and beyond that, hitting at 75% in practice is key; just enough force to work on technique, but not strain the shoulder.

3.  A orthopedic sports doctor will do an evaluation and if concerned will schedule an MRI - A MRI is the only way to know if something is torn inside the shoulder.  If your insurance will cover, getting a MRI at least will give you a yes/no on any damage to the shoulder.

4.  Shoulder issues can make a college coach hesitate - Just the nature of her position and the pressure of recruiting.  DI's are not keen on scholarshipping an athlete with injury history, and if they do, they are not hesitant to cut them after their freshman year if they still have issues.  

5.  Ice is good and ice will be her best friend in staying healthy when she gets to college!  I strongly suggest she get into a daily routine with the shoulder bands (thera-bands) because it is a huge help in building up shoulder stability/strength through the smaller muscles.  The routine only takes about 10 minutes max and almost every college team has their hitters on a routine as preventative.  

My instinct is that with being smart in practices, letting the shoulder rest a day or two week, icing always and then doing a daily shoulder band routine, she will start to see the soreness dissipate!  If it does not, then you have to go see an orthopedic surgeon to get an MRI to get clarity!

Good luck!

Coach Matt


  1. Thanks for this question and answer. Can you suggest any shoulder band routines for volleyball player shoulder maintenance? There are a lot of exercises and routines out there and you never know which ones could be harmful.


  2. The four that I always did (and do) are: elbow at side pulling band towards belly button, elbow at side pulling band away from belly button, standing on the band while arm straight down body then pull up to even with shoulder in front of body, same but pull up with even with shoulder with arm on side of body - I am sure there is more, but those simple four seemed to do the trick for me

  3. wrap the band around the netpole at shoulder height and pull towards the shoulder with the palm facing away from the body


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