World renowned rugby coach leading St Paul’s

World renowned rugby coach leading St Paul’s Paul Hodder

10 July 2021

After seven years as St Paul’s Collegiate School’s high-performance coach, Paul Hodder has now accepted the position of Director of Rugby.

St Paul’s offer students the opportunity to excel in their chosen sport through the school’s high-performance sports programme. The programme aims to lift the performance of individual athletes and top sports teams by building the physical, mental, emotional and team unity characteristics.

Students are provided with one-on-one and group training sessions to help them reach their age-group potential and increase the overall performance of the school’s ‘first’ teams.

Paul Hodder works with the school’s top sports teams and identifies juniors in the school who have the potential to become a member of one of the school’s top sporting teams, then introduces them to the routines of professional athletes.

“It doesn’t matter what a young athlete’s goal is, I want to help them achieve it. It could be as simple as wanting to kick a ball through the goalposts from out in front. For me it’s about spending time to give each individual a clear plan,” says Paul.

Balancing the roles of technical advisor of high-performance sport, head coach of the Colts Cricket team and assistant coach of the first XV rugby team, Paul, affectionately known as Hodds, brings an elite level of sporting and coaching experience to St Paul’s.

Having represented New Zealand in both rugby and cricket for several years while attending school, he decided to pursue rugby as his chosen sport. He went on to represent Waikato NPC before travelling to the UK to play premier club rugby for 10 years.

When he returned to New Zealand in 2001, he worked as a rugby development officer for Waikato Rugby for five years before being appointed their high-performance manager. This led to a four-year professional coaching stint in Japan before returning to New Zealand.

Paul is also Head Coach of the Chiefs U20 Development team and is a coaching developer at the University of Waikato. Here he mentors a small team of coaches and feeds these learnings back into the coaches and sports department here at St Paul’s.

“Having top tier coaches attracts students to our school but it also keeps students playing the game for longer. I am constantly encouraging our coaches to upskill and develop wherever possible – so we maintain having the best coaches in the country.”

Although Paul does not define success as winning, he is proud to have contributed to the wins on St Paul’s sports scoreboards over the past seven years.

“The key thing for me is not about winning, it’s about improving the players every time I have contact with them. My focus and passion is developing players and giving them the tools they need to reach their potential – whatever that means for that particular individual,” says Paul.