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Table Tennis Break

How Important is it to take a table tennis break?

I read an article about Michael Phelps and to my amazement, he spoke about how he became the greatest swimmer of all time but overworking. He decided to do what others wouldn’t do and that meant training 7 days a week for 5 years without a break. No rest days meant he would gain 52 extra training days per year as an advantage over his competitions. Michael explained that most of us have the same tools but what sets us apart is two things

1) How we train

2) Time – The hours we spent working towards our development

Michael Phelps Swimming Legend
Best Swimmer of all Time

Should We Work Harder or Smarter?

The honest answer in my humble opinion, you must have both attributes to become special in any field. I know we find some people become very good at something with seemingly little work, it comes naturally to them. Look carefully and you’ll notice these people are often good or very good but rarely great! The so-called gifted people often miss one of the key ingredients required for greatness Work alongside Time. Yes, they have a gift but and can become great but due to lack of commitment, their true capability is not fulfilled due to poor effort. We are all unique and some of us possess, Hard Work Ethic but the direction is poor, hence the energy exerted is misdirected. Then you have people who are very Smart and they effortlessly grow and develop but they lack Work Ethic. This means they lack the energy required to push boundaries and grow beyond their current capabilities.

In conclusion, greatness cannot be achieved just by working smart, neither can it be done with sheer hard work. Greatness is achieved once only by combining both smart and hard work together. 

Time Spent Training

This is dependent upon your age, ability and sporting desires which is something you must know and figure out. I believe Michael Phelps did what was right for him, he had a gift and he wanted to become a supernova. For someone else spending 5 years without a break in their chosen field would most likely have a negative effect. This is because few have the grit required to push their mind and body with such force. So how did Michael make the most of his (seemingly) extreme training?

Firstly he didn’t just wake up one day and say ok I’m going to train for every day for 5 years. He had trained his body for over 10 years already in the field. His body and mind evolved and the demands put on his body had become accustomed to relentless work. Therefore he was able to increase his workload a little more from 6 days a week to 7. It’s like anything in life, if we choose with our minds our bodies will follow. In order for you to fully prosper, you must commit with a positive mindset. This means, stay focused, be specific, ignore the naysayers, have a good team around you and lastly know what your body and mind are capable of doing. There is no wrong or right when it comes to time spent on training there’s only what works best for you.

Table Tennis Clock
Table Tennis Time

Training does not guarantee results

Many of my players who train with me prosper both on and off the table. There is a big misconception, “I have trained super hard, therefore I deserve positive results”. Working hard towards the desired outcome will often find a way of delivering positive results but there’s no guarantee. Why you may ask? Simply because you are not in control of everything! Anthony Joshua lost his heavyweight title fight last Saturday (some will say he underestimated his opponent others will say something wasn’t right, the Ruiz style didn’t suit and so on. If you watched the fight you’ll notice one thing, Andy Ruiz, wanted to win. That desire enabled him to step outside of his normal capability and produce what many would call the impossible. The point is, you may be stronger, fitter, worked harder but sometimes life gives to someone else who may or may not deserve it. The only thing you can do is do your best and that will give you the satisfaction that you did everything in your power to succeed. If things don’t go the way you planned it, then it’s down to you to find out why and how it can be better next time.

Should we take a break?

A common theme I have noticed with many of my players, they take a break or stop training (just play occasional match play) and they go up a level. How is it possible? Well if you train your body physically you’ll see benefits and over years your body will adapt and evolve. If you stop a physical regime your brain and body will naturally reflect and look at other means towards gaining positive results. Pay attention though, if you take a break for too long your muscles will slow down and your response rate will deteriorate. This will gradually be lower your playing level and training must be resumed otherwise your level will never upscale again.

Table tennis break
Holiday from or with table tennis?

Taking a break from table tennis

There are arguments for and against having a break but for me personally, I believe a break from your normal regiment is a necessity. Taking a break from anything gives your mind and body the healing power required to rejuvenate and effectively re-fuel. You can allow, all your learnings to sink in and your mind to put the puzzle together. The best thing about taking a break from table tennis. You can enjoy other pleasures in life and then come back with a clear joyful mindset.

Remember a break is solely up to you, ask yourself; Do I require a break? How long should it be? When should I take a break and why? 

The key is to take time out of your normal routine which would allow you to see and understand what is required for your future developments.