This year marks Pauli Taumoepeau’s third season at the helm of the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club Shute Shield team.
While, Taumoepeau had never dreamed of becoming a coach, once he got his first taste at the end of his playing career he wanted to make sure that he was at the top of his game.
For him, that meant embarking on a journey of continual improvement, and when Taumoepeau heard that NSW was delivering the Emerging Talent Coach Program in 2019, he was quick to apply.
“I’d heard that it was a theory heavy course, but it was actually quite the opposite,” Taumoepeau said.
“It wasn’t all just ‘sit down and get your book out’, we did so much practice out on the field and had plenty of opportunities to learn from each other as well.”
“I really took a lot out of Daryl Gibson’s presentation about coaching philosophy. I was getting caught up comparing my Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 11.
“Daryl just put it simply that it’s a slow slog, and it’s okay to make mistakes - in fact that’s even how you get better.
“Getting those insights and learning from someone like Daryl, encouraged me to try new things and understand that mistakes are just part of the journey,” Taumoepeau said.
Taumoepeau’s coaching journey began when he decided to call time on his playing career and it took off from there.
“When I’d made the decision to retire, I let one of the Board members know and he planted the coaching seed for me,” Taumoepeau said.
“It’s a funny story really, I didn’t actually want to be a coach until I became one.
“At the time Easts were in the process of evolving their rugby program at the time and they made a decision that I was going to be part of that.”
Taumoepeau started in the role of Director of Colts, before being appointed the Head Coach and Director of Coaching at the start of the 2018 season.
“Whether it’s been with the Colts, or the Shute Shield boys, I’ve really enjoyed being part of their playing journeys,” Taumoepeau said.
“From when they’re first recruited, to working with them through the Easts program and then even seeing some of them receive their first professional contracts - it’s been really special.”
With Taumoepeau’s cohort drawing to the close of their 12 month Level 3 course, NSW Rugby is calling for the next group of coaches to get involved, with applications now open for the next Emerging Talent Coach Program.
Taumoepeau encouraged anyone who might be considering applying to get involved.
“Dive into it head first - it’s a really good cours. If you dive into it from day one, not only are you getting qualified but you will have an amazing opportunity to learn from everyone in the room - both the educators and your fellow colleagues,” Taumoepeau said.
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