Life Skills Curriculum


Welcome to the First Serve Life Skills Curriculum™. You and the NJTL Chapter are about to embark on an exciting journey—not only introducing young people to the game of tennis but helping them learn specific skills and valuable life lessons that will enable them to succeed in other areas of their lives. This curriculum contains the material, the structure, and many ideas on how to deliver the program. However, it is important to remember First Serve Life Skills Coaches are the key ingredient to a successful program.

Coaches make these materials come to life for First Serve participants. Their commitment and willingness to embrace curriculum concepts, confidence and familiarity with the activities, and ability to adapt the program to a specific location are all important to the program’s success. First Serve coaches also serve as role models for the skills and values presented in the curriculum.

This Instructor Guide will serve as a resource manual for delivery of the curriculum. The introduction includes sections on curriculum design, overall program structure, national and local training, pacing and timing of lessons, and various other aspects of logistics and planning.

NJTL Mission and First Serve Life Skills Curriculum Design

The USTA/National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network is a nation-wide group of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, and Sheridan Snyder, this growing network of tennis providers share similar values, ideals, and goals by:

reaching out to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play tennis instilling in youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence giving all kids (regardless of income, race, gender) the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a life time of enjoyment from the sport. Given this mission, the First Serve Life Skills Curriculum™ incorporates several important features of effective youth development programs. These include an emphasis on the whole child, focus on developmental assets, mastery learning, and the importance of instructor preparation and training. These are briefly described below.

The Whole Child

The lessons and activities in this curriculum emphasize the development of the whole child—within their environment—to help them grow physically, mentally, and socially. The curriculum is intended to be youth-centered (rather than teacher- or program-centered) and paced to suit the needs of participants. The curriculum is modular and flexible, so it can be adapted to individual sites that have a variety of settings, facilities, age groups, and available staff.