Project Apollo

Shiplake College – Schoolboy Rugby

Looking to build on previous work with character coaching, Team Architecture Ltd sought to integrate a theme alongside some of this earlier work. In this instance, the aspects of character coaching addressed were:

Mental Health

Emotional Wellbeing

Reflecting on Gender Dynamics through Sport


But some say: ‘Why the moon? Why choose this as our goal?’ – JFK at Rice University in 1962

The theme used to combine the group’s technical, tactical, psychological, physical and social aims was the Apollo 11 mission where mankind first set foot on another celestial body.


At the start of the rugby season, Team Architecture Ltd undertook a series of detailed questionnaires and informal interviews with the group. These helped to ascertain some goals and background that could fuel connections with the coaching staff. The responses showed up some patterns that would prove invaluable in responding to the needs and wants of the squad.

Utilising the key date of JFK’s historic speech whereby he sets his sights on the moon, Project Apollo was launched by sharing some reflections on what the questionnaires revealed. A common thread throughout the responses was the focus on outcomes and short term goals. The group was therefore challenged to think and ‘dream bigger’ with more detailed and loftier aims finally settled upon. A useful breakdown of long, medium and short term goals along with a model that focused on character was also explained and shared.

First Man

The values of selflessness, teamwork and quiet-leadership was reinforced through the story of Michael Collins whose role on Apollo 11 was to support Aldrin and Armstrong from his orbit of the moon while they made giant leaps in history in front of the eyes of the world. The question: “Who is our Michael Collins?” became a crucial question for the team to ask when they replicated the values he represented.

A more thorough description of this work – in a series of posts – can be found here

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