In practice


Case study: Gymnasts

The coordinator of an accredited dual career delivery site in the UK uses the tool Value Cards in a group setting, with 8 gymnasts aged 16-17.


The coordinator has printed 8 sets of My Dual Career Values – The Cards (pptx), giving each athlete a set. Starting with the topic “Sport Practice”, each athlete sorts their cards into 3 piles: (1) “Most important to me”; (2) “Somewhat important to me”; (3) “Least important to me”.

Each athlete then refers to their “Most important to me” pile and picks their Top 3 cards that they feel are most important to them in their sporting practice right now. Each athlete is then given the My Dual Career Values (pdf) worksheet, where they write these 3 values under the “Sport Practice” heading.

For each of these three values, the coordinator asks every athlete to describe what their values “look like”. Athletes then rate their values in relation to how much they are currently acting according to each one. Following completion of the steps above, the coordinator then asks each athlete to outline what actions they can take to move closer to each of the top 3 values.

The coordinator then leads the same process for the topics “Sport competition” and “Education”.

An example from one gymnast is as follows:

Sport practice

Top Value 1: Discipline

  • Looks Like: Working really hard everyday to achieve my goals, even when nobody is watching. Staying focused during training sessions, meeting all points within my training plan, and taking time to listen to my coach’s feedback.
  • Current Score: 6
  • Value Action: Focus on my own training during practice, setting goals for each part of my training session and not getting distracted by my teammates.

Top Value 2: Courage

  • Looks Like: Being brave when attempting skills by trusting my coach to let me do skills I am capable of. Always committing to doing a skill even though I might be afraid of it initially.
  • Current Score: 7
  • Value Action: Making a commitment to have a positive mindset before I try difficult skills, giving me confidence to complete the skills successfully.

Top Value 3: Progress

  • Looks Like: Focusing on the small details everyday in training that are helping me work towards my bigger goals.
  • Current Score: 7
  • Value Action: Work with my coach to set short, medium, and long term goals, making sure I focus on the small details as much as I focus on my major goals in gymnastics.

Sport competition

Top Value 1: Progress

  • Looks Like: Focusing on the progress I have made in my sport, as opposed to putting too much emphasis on the results. Placing value on my own performances and scores, without comparing myself to my competitors.
  • Current Score: 5
  • Value Action: Speak to my coach about my goals for each competition, with a focus on progress and not on my results. Sit down with my coach after the competition to reflect on the extent to which I met these goals.

Top Value 2: Enjoyment

  • Looks Like: Having fun whilst competing, making memories with my teammates.
  • Current Score: 8
  • Value Action: Take time whilst at a competition to have fun, for example, planning a post competition activity with my teammates to celebrate our performances.

Top Value 3: Calm

  • Looks Like: Competing in a composed way, not letting the nerves get the better of me. Focusing on deep breathing and staying in the moment.
  • Current Score: 5
  • Value Action: Speak to my coach to help me with relaxation and breathing techniques to use during competitions.


Top Value 1: Learning

  • Looks Like: Taking in all the information provided by my teachers in lessons. Listening to the information being provided and working hard to highlight my learning through my assessments and exams.
  • Current Score: 8
  • Value Action: Ask my teachers for more regular feedback on the work I submit, making sure my learning is aligned to what I need to know for all my different subjects.

Top Value 2: Organised

  • Looks Like: Having all my notes nicely stored together in one place, as well as having a clear understanding of my daily schedules, e.g., what I need to do and where I need to be. Making sure I’m on top of everything I need to do.
  • Current Score: 9
  • Value Action: Take more time at the beginning of the week to outline my weekly plan, including my lessons, coursework deadlines, tutor meetings, and how I will manage this alongside my training commitments.

Top Value 3: Effort

  • Looks Like: Trying really hard in all lessons and when working on my assignments. Putting in the time required to successfully complete my studies.
  • Current Score: 7
  • Value Action: Switch my phone off during lessons and when completing homework to stop me getting distracted, allowing me to focus more effort on my education.