I'm going to talk about the importance of taking breaks today. This is not so much for social players but for regularly competing and training players. Breaking from table tennis is sometimes necessary to keep a fresh mind and also to avoid getting tired of playing.
The main purpose of a break is to come back with a renewed passion and hunger to develop and succeed. I have two examples.
Negativity: In 2011 after returning from the Australian Open and having acquired a shoulder injury and a broken carbon sheet (unknown to me for a while) I continued to soldier on, hoping to achieve even better results. The result was essentially catastrophic and I nosedived like there is no tomorrow. I began losing matches against players I would never even consider having difficulty with. I kept competing, tournaments weekend after weekend and the same results occurred. It was building a strong pattern of negativity over my game. After a month or so I had absolutely unseated my ranking position and was generally unhappy with myself for my performance.
I decided to take a break. There was no sense in continuing to get bad results or wonder what was going on in my game. I took some time away from table tennis, just a couple of weeks. Having such a passion for table tennis my withdrawal symptoms from being away from table tennis fed my desire to come back better and stronger. The result was that I returned back to training, we replaced my blade upon discovering it was broken and I returned to simple training to make my basics watertight. The string of results which followed were satisfactory and as a result my attitude returned and I moved forward.
Routine: When I worked in Christchurch as a Table Tennis Development Officer I spent all my time around table tennis. I worked at the stadium, out in schools and other venues. I did private and group coaching and also had my own training sessions in a group and with a coach/partners. My tournament results were great, but the Interclub League competition was starting to get the better of me. By the time we had to compete in that I was simply sick of being at the stadium and wanted to go home. That started the illness. After some time I just couldn't stand being so immersed in table tennis. I needed to get away from it. The end result was that I finished my contract and left Christchurch, vowing not to take on a similar role while I was still concentrating on my own training. Before that I had reduced my training to just once per week and I tried to spend the least possible time at the stadium.
So as you can see. Sometimes taking a break is important. Important to make you realise your goals and your passion. I can't stay away from table tennis for long, so when I take a break I always hit the ground running when I come back to it. Breaks of around 2 weeks are ideal, not too much but enough to refresh you.
Thanks for reading! :)