Success switching to left-handed after injury?

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Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby KRooster » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:33 pm

Has anyone heard of people successfully switching from RHBH to LHBH due to injury?

That's primarily what I want to know, but if anyone has extensive experience with disc golf injuries and wants to read further, here is my situation. Several years ago I was playing several times a week (RHBH). I played about 7 hours over two days one weekend, and developed a sharp pain in the front of my right shoulder, occurring during the hit. Maybe I wasn't following through enough, maybe just overdid it, maybe it was related to the very minor weightlifting injury I had a couple weeks prior, dunno. Over the last few years I've had a MRI, seen about three orthopedic specialists, a rheumatologist, had two cortisone injections, and been in physical therapy about 4 times (each time for several months, plus several months of continuing at-home therapy). Even tried a chiropractor for over 6 months despite skepticism.

All the doctors can tell me is it's probably bicep tendinitis, and there is no apparent structural damage that would suggest surgery is an option, but the physical therapists seem puzzled by the persistence of the injury. Both physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs help a lot, and several times I have been able to get back into doing light upper-body exercises. However, pushing motions are always impossible; things like push-ups (even just wall push-ups) exacerbate the problem tremendously even if otherwise everything appears fine. Just practicing the driving motion seems like it still causes a problem, because of that I haven't really tried disc golfing since the injury.

Anyway, I miss disc golf a lot, and a couple friends have started getting into it which makes me want to join them. Makes me tempted to start playing again, but throwing lefty. But I spent almost 20 years perfecting my frisbee throws, with three of those years focused exclusively (and intensely) on disc golf. Was excited that I finally started playing in tournaments before the injury. I might need some motivation to hear it's possible to deal with the frustration of starting all over again.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby luma » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:47 am

I know a couple of guys that can play with both hands pretty well. One of them also did the switch due to a temporary injury. Now he throws with whatever hand neccessary on a hole. So it is definately makeable. I have tried a couple of throws with my left hand and i felt like a three-year old. It depends on your coordinational skills I would guess.

If I were you I would definately give it a try, maybe you will not quite reach the level of play you had with your strong hand, but it might still be a lot of fun if you start right now with your friends, so you can get better together with them as they also develop a better game.

I honestly have no clue about any medical stuff, but I have had a very positive experience with doing stretching. I was playing this winter (there is also a short threa din the injury section) and I had a tournament weekend where I played 40+ holes three days in a row in pretty cold condition. Apparently I wasn't warming up correctly so that increased the effect of strain on my muscles. Anyway, when I got home I had a really really sore elbow and went to the doctor right away, so it wouldn't get worse. He showed me some stretching exercises that I should do regularly and since then I haven't had any problems with my shoulder. However a couple weeks later I had a sore wrist and shoulder due to playing too much (or with a wrong form) disc & ball golf.Went to the doctor again and he showed me some excercises for my shoulder and gave me a bandage for my wrist. Again since then, no problems.
I would think you have already tried that, but I just wanted to share it in case it might help :)

In every case I hope you get on well with playing and hopefully someday your right shoulder will do what it's supposed to again.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby zeike524 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:29 am

I was out for three months with wrist surgery and had the itch so i went out and played lefty. The putting was the most frustrating part but i just got a small bag with understable discs. By the end of the three months i was starting to out drive friends and actually have decent scores. Now i will use the left hand in certain sittuations when a right handed shot is just more dificult. Only thing you have to be able to do is have no expectations for a few rounds until you get the hang of it. It actually came fairly easy to me and i would assume most that try because you have an understanding of how this should work if you have been playing for a bit. Its not like the first day you stepped on a pad and tried to throw right handed. You can see and feel what you are doing and work on it.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby JR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:52 am

My coordination sucks so i have not really tried to mirro my right arm movements with the left because that arm does not do what the brain tells it. I don't think i have thrown beyond 150' lefty. I have been out often and for months on end due to tendon surgery in the right arm and tendons take a minimum of 6 months to heal properly. you might feel ok after 3 months and then you're fucked because it might feel fine throwing underpowered until the next day you get swelling and are back to square one. So by all means go out and play catch, freestyle whatever lefty first at low power to get the coordination going lefty and from there disc golfing switch should not be as frustrating. The reason why i took a half year off to heal the arm was i had to work wise and seeing how 3 month breaks were not enough for years on end and we have a long long winter so i was not that tempted to go out and wade in the snow back when i was much more out of shape. I've gotten fitter since and have played in the winter too. Except last winter for much thanks to recovering from another surgery in another place.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby Mark Ellis » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:01 pm

This is before my time so I am only repeating what I heard.

Back in the day Tom Monroe of Alabama was one of the best players in the world. Evidently he hurt his dominant right arm and everybody thought his career was on hold, or perhaps over. He trained with his opposite arm and showed up the next year and was top 10 at Worlds left handed.

It is a really good story. Maybe someone can confirm if it is actually true.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby wilt » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:02 pm

Yes, I did it. I started right handed but very quickly discovered that I had bursitis in my right elbow (or tendonitis or possibly a combination of both). It got to where I could not play a full round right handed. And recovery after it flared up bad was a couple of months. I would try to play again too soon usually and would re-injure it rather quickly. So I had the choice of not playing anymore or switch lefty. Starting out was fairly miserable, throwing 40-50 feet at a time, all over the place. I would say it took a few months too even get past 100 feet and going somewhat where I wanted. That was about 5-6 years ago now. I can now play a whole round lefty and play within a few strokes of playing right handed. I now only use my right hand for holes that really require it. It is possible and one thing that makes it a little easier is you already know how to throw right handed so it is just making your body do the same motions on the other side.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby KRooster » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:26 pm

Follow-up question: Does learning to throw with the off-hand interfere with the muscle memory of the dominant hand?

Reason I ask is I went out to play this weekend with the intention of trying to play RHBH and switching to LHBH if there was a problem. Wanted to give the right shoulder a final chance before switching to lefty. It actually went borderline ok... some irritation but I'm hoping it may be ok if I limit to playing once a week. Was actually surprised at how well I was able to drive after 3 years of not touching a disc, it was like I never took a break (putting suffered a lot though). However, I'm thinking of trying to learn LHBH so I can (1) play more than once a week, and (2) start building those skills for if playing RHBH becomes impossible. But as long as there is still hope of continuing to be able to play RHBH, I don't want to interfere with those skills.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby JR » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:26 pm

AFAIK there should be no problems to RH from LH throwing. Not throwing is a problem big time so if you get some lower powered safe for your health throws with the right hand are mixed in between the lefty shots you should be ok.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby JHern » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:54 pm

Jim Oates switched to left-handed while his right arm recovered from surgery...after a year he was shooting 950+ rounds...
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby Stringbean » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:40 pm

Do any of the current pros throw with both hands?

Is there anyone that can throw sidearm both right and left handed?

Are there any four-tool disc golfers?
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby JHern » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:43 pm

Stringbean wrote:Do any of the current pros throw with both hands?

Is there anyone that can throw sidearm both right and left handed?

Are there any four-tool disc golfers?


Yeah, many of the top pros can play all ways, they often have friendly side competitions playing with their off arms, only. And they play surprisingly well.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby zeike524 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:54 pm

Remember seeing a video with Climo in a skins game throw left hand back hand when all the other players were throwing big anys and he was CTP
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby PMantle » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:14 pm

I may be switching soon. Right shoulder is starting to really bother me.
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Re: Success switching to left-handed after injury?

Postby KRooster » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:59 pm

Well when I switch, probably starting this week, I'm implementing a new rule: no disc golf two days in a row. Seems like most of the chronic injuries I've developed in the past have occurred when I did the same type of exercise two days in a row too often.

Luckily, putting practice probably doesn't count...
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