Basketball Team
March 27, 2017

Project Activity: March Madness Bracketology (Of Values)

It’s March Madness which means brackets have been formed (and busted) everywhere.
by Jenny Corke

Mental Edge

Working at the Institute on her project, “The Mental Edge: Phillips Academy’s Mental Skills Training Program,” Tang Fellow Lani Silversides, mathematics instructor and head girls varsity basketball coach, is helping students and athletes alike to control their minds efficiently and consistently. Here she describes activities that teammates can work on together during March Madness—both to have fun together and to define a set of values that can help unify them and help them work more effectively toward the ultimate goal.

by Lani Sliversides

It’s March Madness which means brackets have been formed (and busted) everywhere. This seemed like a good time to share another type of bracket you and your team can make—a values bracket!

Whether we are talking about an athletic team or team within a company, we are likely talking about a group of people with common goals or outcomes they desire. Focus, dedication, perseverance, togetherness, commitment, kindness, achievement, happiness, discipline, hard work, trust, passion, determination, communication, compassion, and respect are just some examples from a list of values that I would hope for from just about any team of which I am a member. That said, that list is quite long and how do team players even keep track of all that is expected of them?

Knowing what we value most in our work and other commitments makes it easier to respond to opportunities and conflicts with honesty integrity.

Within a sports season there will likely be some ups and downs. In that game you lost at the last second, when the team is plagued with injuries, or when you lost the game you definitely should have won, having defined values to come back to can help you both deal with those challenges and also continue to hold yourself and your team to a certain accountability, no matter what the score and situation. Defining a set of values can help unify a team and work more effectively toward the ultimate goal.

So, here is how it works.


In person, as a team, complete the core values challenge bracket.  Though there may be some people who push for one to “win” over another, welcome this discussion and then, by the final four, everyone should feel good, committed, and on board with the core values chosen.


Once you have your final four, the team should then create their definition of each value.


Make copies of the four values and their definitions and distribute one to each team member to have in their lockers, at their desk, in their gym bag, or anywhere the information can be accessible. You can also turn the document into a poster.

If you would like to start from scratch, a blank bracket can be found here that you can print out and use.

Happy bracket challenge!

Categories: Fellows, Connected Learning, Mental Edge

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