Coaching Chat #2: Damien Inocencio – Olympic Gold for France to Head Coach for China

Ellie Kormis

Ellie Kormis

ALTIS Director of Education

Welcome to Coaching Chat, an ALTIS vodcast series where Education Director – Ellie Kormis – chats with coaches, coach educators, and teachers who coach – from High School coaches, to Pro coaches, to new coaches, to the seasoned warhorses of our profession.

SPecific discussion points:

In this 15-minute chat with Ellie Kormis, the former Coach to Olympic Champion and former WR holder – Renaud Lavillenie – discuss:

  • His ‘no limits’ strategy
  • The Olympic 2012 final, and winning gold
  • The importance of confidence, and providing opportunities to allow the athlete to build confidence
  • Using the experience of past competitions to inform future competition practice
  • The role of play and fun in training and competition, and what kids can teach us
  • Overcoming cultural and language challenges, as a French speaker working as National Coach for China’s Pole Vaulters
  • The importance of body language in communication, and building a common shared language with athletes
  • Adjusting methodology to maximize impact in a new cultural environment

Key Takeaways:

  • “When people take it like a job, they forget the energy of sport comes from playing – if you remove happiness, you can’t succeed.”
  • Have fun, play, be happy  – but still be strict on key coaching points” 
  • Sport is sport, it’s the same event – the details are different between elite to kids
  • “The athlete has to have confidence in their coach”
  • “Build a common shared language with athletes” 
  • Be prepared to adjust your methodology to maximize your impact in a new cultural environment
  • Be adaptable” 
  • Never stop learning
  • Never think you’re right and someone else is wrong – seek to understand why people come to the decision they do


If you want to connect with Damien and chat further, check out his social media accounts:



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