Professional coach and researcher
Stefan is passionate about sports, entrepreneurship and technology. He believes in dual careers for athletes and coaches, and part of his research has been in this direction.
He started playing badminton in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo. At 13, he got his first national medal, later on becoming a national champion in doubles and mix (U19) and 2nd in singles (U19) and 2nd in doubles at man's level. He has been a Balkan champion in singles, doubles (with Vladimir Metodiev) and mixed doubles (with Petya Nedelcheva).
He started enjoying coaching at a young age, having his first group of younger children at the time he was 16. He soon discovered that his passion for coaching was much stronger than his passion for personal badminton success as a player. He had the opportunity to start the first professional club in Bulgaria, achieving national team championships and many more international titles (preliminary in Europe).
During his journey at the time, he met a lot of great international coaches (including Kenneth Larsen (DEN), Bjarne Nielsen (DEN), Andy Wood (ENG) and more), which helped his decision to move to Denmark for a taking the highest international level at the time (DBF3, DIF, EBU1). At the same time, he started coaching in smaller clubs (Saeby (DEN)) as well as VBK junior club, where he met coaches such as Morten Bjergen (DEN), Thomas Engholm (DEN) and more. Morten was at the time working on the development of the Miniton system together with Kasper Soerensen (DEN).
Stefan graduated with the highest Danish coaching degree in Badminton DBF3 coaching education with Kenneth Larsen (DEN) and Claus Poulsen (DEN). When Claus went to became a national coach for the senior double squat in Denmark, Stefan was offered to substitute him in some of the lectures in the Aalbors Sportshojskole (DEN), which at the time was the only professional badminton school in Denmark and Europe.
His coaching journey continued in Hojberg (Aarhus areas, DEN), where he started an international badminton development academy with some local and international talents. Further, he became a sporting director at the ESG Badminton Club (at the time, the 5th biggest club in Denmark), where he pushed the different senior teams to a new level.
Due to his personal growth and journey, he was invited to become the head coach for the Junior National Centre in Hamburg, Germany. At the time, he was responsible for Yvon Lee, Bjarne Geiss, Stine Kuespert, Emma Moszcyznski, and Matthias Kicklitz. In addition, he became responsible for the U15 national selection as part of the national coaching team.
Growing further, he took the challenge to develop the national centre in Kaiserslautern (Germany), which had lost national certification and recognition at the time. It took two years to build it back, attracting talent with him and making a coaching team capable of handling the challenge further. As the local, national federation (BVRP) needed a systemised development plan, he introduced the initial concept of miniton and brought Morten Bjergen to support the development. This is where the Miniton Plus and Teknika Plus were born as concepts. The names were kept to recognise the acknowledgement and work of Morten Bjergen (who later passed away).
He understood that making a systemised, well-planned effort in development pays off in the longer term. In 2016, he started looking to where he can make the research to justify the already created Long-term athletes development programme.
This journey took him to Loughborough, UK, where he is currently a PhD researcher focusing on justifying the already created framework for athlete development and topping it up with a framework for long-term development for coaches and organisations.
His paper on "A holistic approach to badminton development: unveiling the path to sustainable and independent organisations" has been approved for poster presentation during the BWF conference in August 2023 (Copenhagen, Denmark).