I wish to thank my colleagues from the National Coaching Development Commission of the Czechoslovak Tennis Association, and Dr. Jaroslav Bouvek, all of whom advised me and contributed their vast experiences for the book.
I hope the book will help recreational as well as competitive players, tennis coaches, and teachers achieve their goals more easily and in a shorter period of time.
Tennis has left behind forever its previous status as an elitist and exclusive sport; in recent years participants have increased substantially in numbers and the general level of performance has improved remarkably. It now has a prominent place in the Czechoslovak physical education system. Eight hundred eighty eight tennis clubs, sixty thousand registered players, and at least twice as many recreational players in Czechoslovakia prove that the sport fulfills the task of recruiting youth for physical education and that it is now indeed a game played by everyone. The successes of our players in the world's highest team competitions, in the Davis Cup, Federation Cup, Galea Cup, and A. Soisbault Trophy, as well as the individual successes of our top players, rank Czechoslovakia among the tennis superpowers.
Czechoslovak tennis has a long tradition. Competitive and recreational players attain high levels of performance; our many volunteer coaches, including parents, have adequate theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Since 1967, tennis players have had a unified training system, which means that children in rural areas use the same progressive training methods as those in clubs in the largest cities. With the growing popularity of tennis, officials need not worry about how o involve youth; the problem is rather how to find time for them to play on overcrowded courts. Talented players were previously looked after by individual local clubs; now training centres and special centres for top youth sports performance have taken over. It was from Czechoslovakia that paddle tennis spread throughout Europe. That sport is excellent preparation for tennis, since it requires only modest equipment and space.
In its competitive as well as its recreational form, tennis is a lifetime sport. It satisfies the needs of the contemporary individual in all respects and can be played by everyone from school years to advanced age. It is one of the most suitable recreational sports, since only one partner is needed and it is possible to play outdoors almost daily from spring to late autumn. Tennis influences the development of physical and mental qualities. The playing areas are separated by a net so physical confrontation is eliminated and injuries are rather rare. The tradition of Czechoslovak tennis, its current position in Europe and the world, as well as its value for individual physical recreation and excellent use of free time all compel us to concern ourselves systematically with its further expansion, as well as with improving player skills.
Demands for satisfactory international representation increase all the time. According to UNESCO data, the number of tennis players worldwide has exceeded sixty million, and the game is at the top in rate of growth and the range of international contacts over the past twenty years. The growth is reflected in the steady increase in the number of equally skilled top players and in the pitiless computer selection system, which means that only the best players get into the main international individual competitions. Given that our players' ability to practice is limited by our long winter season and a still small number of outdoor courts, we must increase the quality and effectiveness of the training process as much as possible. This publication is based on the principles of the Czechoslovak unified tennis training system and allowances have been made for the future trends of tennis development in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere. We hope that it will contribute to this goal.