Originally Posted by larryace
.... Your snare does seem kind of low, that would contribute. The one pic with you in the blue T shirt, your stick is fairly parallel to the floor. That would be a good angle to strike the drum on, but clearly you have like 8" to go before the strike. Too much IMO. Try raising your snare drum so your stick hits it as parallel to the drumhead as possible.
I was playing a benefit a few years ago and had to use another drummer's set without adjusting anything. Ugh. The snare was about where your snare is in the pictures and I came away with my hand hurting after playing about 10 minutes. That was at a medium volume.
I'm guessing that you aren't using rim shots for back beats on a consistent basis. If you bring the snare up and try to practice rim shots, that will help level out the stick angle.
I use back beat rim shots quite a bit and rarely dent a head unless it's tuned very low. A rim shot will give you cut without having to tune the snare drum like a drum corp snare or slam hard. Not saying you shouldn't tune where you like it but if you try the rim shot approach you'll probably get more presence without slamming as hard. I do chew up my sticks in the middle to shoulder area but rarely break a tip. Like ever other year maybe and that's usually while doing some serious bashing where my technique slides a skosh. :P
Start out with Larry's suggestion and see what happens.