Coaching and Teaching
My coaching experience includes over 15 years of teaching gymnastics and fitness. From 2008 to 2012, I worked as a gymnastics coach at the Levski Gymnastics Club in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. During my professional teaching practice, which was part of my studies for a bachelor's degree at the Bulgarian National Sports Academy, I also taught physical education lessons to students between the ages of 14 and 18 at the 91st German Language High School "Prof . Konstantin Galabov" in Sofia. From 2013 to 2020, I worked as a gymnastics coach at the Elite Gymnastics Academy in North London (UK), where I taught children from pre-school to 16 years of age. From January 2015 to July 2018 I also worked as a gymnastics coach at St Edmund's Primary School in North London. In addition, I volunteered as a PE teaching assistant at this school for those 3 and a half years, and some of the students participated in the control group for my PhD research. The students who attended my gymnastics classes won 3rd place in the school gymnastics festival for the London Borough of Enfield, which was their best ranking at that time. Overall, I have coached hundreds of children of both genders and of different ages and abilities, many of whom participated in gymnastics competitions and won certificates and medals from club, regional and national competitions in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. I provided personal training in gymnastics and fitness for private clients in London, as well as gymnastics coaching services to some schools and clubs from 2013 to 2022 as part of my self-employed business called STK SPORT. After many years of practical and academic experience in the field of gymnastics, in 2022 I founded the Chelsea Gymnastics Academy (which is now the successor to STK SPORT) in Kensington and Chelsea, London, where we offer group classes and personal lessons.
DIRECTOR / GYMNASTICS COACH
Chelsea Gymnastics Academy Ltd, London, United Kingdom (2022 - present)
GYMNASTICS COACH / PERSONAL TRAINER
STK SPORT, London, United Kingdom (2013 - 2022)
St Edmund's Primary School, London, United Kingdom (2015 - 2018)
Elite Gymnastics Academy CIC, London, United Kingdom (2013 - 2020)
Levski-Spartak 08 Gymnastics Club, Sofia, Bulgaria (2008 - 2012)
From STK SPORT to Chelsea Gymnastics Academy
STK are my initials (coming from my full name Stefan Todorov Kolimechkov) and the idea to use them as a personal brand dates back from the creation of my first personal website in Bulgaria in 2008. In 2013 I moved to live in the UK and registered as self-employed under the business name STK SPORT, hence the creation of this website. In 2022 I founded the Chelsea Gymnastics Academy in west London and it is now the successor to STK SPORT.
Under the business name STK SPORT I taught gymnastics and fitness to personal clients in London (both children and adults) as well as group gymnastics classes to some schools and clubs from 2013 to 2022. During these 10 years, I had the opportunity to coach a large number of children and adults and provide them with appropriate advice from my pedagogical and sports experience including precise methodical instructions for improving their physical abilities and fitness. My clients included people of all levels (beginner to advanced). In the following video you can follow interesting moments of my personal training with one of my clients at East London Gymnastics Centre in 2015.
Video from my Personal Gymnastics Coaching archive at the East London Gymnastics Centre with gymnast Matthew K. from Australia in 2015
Over the years, my clients gradually increased, and in January 2021, STK SPORT became my main and only job. Most of my clients were from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea or nearby areas, so in 2022 I focused mainly on working with people living in this neighborhood. I started offering personal training sessions in gymnastics and fintess for children and adults at The Kensington Studio. Many parents of the children I coached asked me to consider opening group gymnastics classes for their kids, thus the idea of opening a club in Kensington and Chelsea was born, where children can attend high quality gymnastics classes in very small groups so that special attention can be paid to each child individually. And so, I chose the name Chelsea Gymnastics Academy, which became the successor of my previous business STK SPORT.
On the 20th of June 2022, I officially incorporated Chelsea Gymnastics Academy Ltd. From this point on, all my coaching servises (as well as my sports software sales) gradually went under the name of Chelsea Gymnastics Academy, with my previous registered business as self-employed STK SPORT closing at the end of 2022. Today STK SPORT remains my personal brand and the name of this website. In August 2022, Chelsea Gymnastics became a member of the Kensington Society (an important society that works to preserve the architecture of buildings and parks in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea). In September 2022, Chelsea Gymnastics became a club member of British Gymnastics (the UK Government body for the sport of gymnastics), and I opened our first 2 group gymnastics classes at St Philip's Church in Kensington W8. I appointed a Welfare Officer and a club secretary. In December 2022, I organised our first performance in front of the parents of the children attending the group classes. Also as Director of Chelsea Gymnastics, in December 2022 I signed an important partnership with CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity in the UK). In March 2023, I organised an Easter performance at Chelsea Gymnastics, and in June 2023 we celebrated 1 year of Chelsea Gymnastics Academy at a special annual performance at St Philip's Church. In September 2023 I appointed 2 coaches to contribute to the group activities of our club at St Philip's Church. In December 2023, we prepared a Christmas performance during which our gymnasts performed gymnastics in front of their parents at St Philip's Church. I also took part by demonstrating various strength exercises on the gymnastics mini bars. Chelsea Gymnastics Academy is the end product of my practical and academic experience of more than 20 years in the field of gymnastics.
My contribution to St Edmund's Primary School
I worked at St. Edmund’s Catholic Primary School as a gymnastics coach between 2015 and 2018. The school has a special atmosphere and unity inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus and the School's motto is ‘Love, Care, Share’. The school was built in 1912, and it is based in Edmonton, North London. The school teaches Physical Education, from Reception (The Fondation Stage) untill Year 6, to develop motor skills and fitness by following the National Curriculum.
I ran the school's gymnastics club, once a week, providing gymnastics coaching to children from Key Stage 1 (5-7 years of age) and Key Stage 2 (7-11 years of age) at the sports hall as part of their extra-curricular activities from January 2015 to July 2018. I also volunteered as a PE assistant at St Edmund's School for all these years, and it was a great opportunity for me to be mentored by the school's PE teacher, Mr. W. Silva, who pays attention to every detail in the teaching process. Futhermore, I conducted part of my PhD research at St Edmund's School. I conducted health-related physical fitness assessments, nutritional assessments, and physical activity assessments with students from the school. The children participated in those assessments as part of the control group in my PhD study. In the school, I was featured on the PE and sports board, twice in the school newsletter, and the Year 1 and Year 2 gymnastics school teams who were attending my classes won 3rd places at the Borough Gymnastics Festival, which was their best finish at that time.
During these 3 and a half years at St Edmund's School, I did my best to inspire more children to start doing gymnastics by demonstrating some of my best gymnastics skills, as well as underlining the importance of being active and eating well.
My contribution to the Elite Gymnastics Academy
From 2013 to 2020, I worked as a coach for this club. Elite Gymnastics was founded by Olga Berzing (elite rhythmic gymnast) in 2007 in North London. In 2015, Elite Gymnastics Club changed its name to Elite Gymnastics Academy CIC. The club operated from 3 locations in North London with the main base being the Edmonton Leisure Center in Edmonton. Elite Gymnastics Academy is a member of British Gymnastics and offers group classes in general gymnastics, artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics.
Elite Gymnastics Academy also holds a special place in my coaching career as it was my first job in the UK. In 2013, I started teaching boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 16 in general gymnastics, as well as a team of boys (ages 7 to 16) in artistic gymnastics. I was first hired as a self-employed person (STK SPORT), and after a few months I was already working on an employment contract as a gymnastics coach for the club. Over the next 8 years, my gymnasts at the Elite Gymnastics Academy won certificates, medals and trophies from club and regional gymnastics competitions in London.
Christmas Club Competition at the Elite Gymnastics Club in Edmonton, London, 2014.
In May 2014, I took gymnasts to an official gymnastics competition in the UK for the first time. My gymnasts won 2 gold and one bronze medal for Elite GA at the London Regional Gymnastics Championships. You can watch moments from this competition in the following video.
Video from the performance of Stefan's boys squad (Elite Gymnastics Academy) at the London Regional Championships in 2014
Over the years, we participated in various performances in schools and sports centers where my gymnasts and I performed gymnastics in front of different communities to promote gymnastics and the Elite Gymnastics Academy. Perhaps one of the highlights was our performance at the Edmonton Leisure Center during the club's 2014 club competition (watch the following video to see our performance).
Overall, as a gymnast, I represented the Elite Gymnastics Academy in 15 competitions, (4 internationals, 4 regionals, and 7 for masters athletes), ranked 14th at the International Men's London Open in 2013 and 2016, and won 3 gold medals at the London Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017, as well as multiple medals from gymnastics competitions for master athletes in England. As a coach, I contributed to the development of children involved in pre-school, general, and women's artistic gymnastics, and the gymnasts from my boy's squads won multiple medals at club and regional artistic gymnastics competitions. I also performed gymnastics together with my students from the Elite GA on multiple occasions in order to popularise the sport at schools and sports centers. Perhaps, the top achievements in our gymnastics competitions were made by Blake (Vault Champion in London at the NDP Artistic Gymnastics Club Grades in 2014) and Fergus (Floor Champion in London at the NDP Artistic Gymnastics Club Grades in 2014, and Floor and Vault Champion in London at the 2017 London Artistic Gymnastics Championships).
At the end of 2020, I took the decision to leave my part-time role at the Elite Gymnastics Academy in order to concentrate on my passions in life (involvement in scientific research in the UK, and building up my personal training consultancy business). Thank you to Olga Berzing, the manager of the Elite GA, for the opportunities she provided me at her club, to learn and grow as a gymnastics coach.
My contribution to the Levski Gymnastics Club
I worked as a gymnastics coach at the Levski Gymnastic Club from 2008 until 2012. Levski Gymnastics Club is one of the biggest clubs for the sport of gymnastics in Bulgaria. Levski GC is also a member and part of Levski Sports Club, which is the oldest sports organisation in the country. The club has had many great gymnasts, one of whom was the Olympic champion on Pommel horse in Seul 1988 - Lyubomir Geraskov.
Levski GC will always have a special place in my coaching and sports career. At the end of 2002, I joined the club as a member and started practising gymnastics myself. In 2007 I started working as an assistant coach at the club. In 2008, due to management problems, the club started from scratch and it needed new coaches, so I was hired as a gymnastics coach. The sports director of the newly formed "Levski Spartak" 08, Sofia Gymnastics Club was Mrs. Stanka Pavlova (Honorary Coach of Bulgaria) and the president was Mr. Nikola Prodanov (who was also the President of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation). They gave me the opportunity to have my own groups of children to teach, and to develop as a coach. Thus, my official coaching career started here with my first job.
In 2009, I took children to the Bulgarian National Gymnastics Championships for the first time, and in the following years many of my gymnasts won certificates and medals from club, regional, national and international competitions in gymnastics. In 2010, I created the first website (unfortunately no longer available) dedicated to gymnastics training for children in Bulgaria. The main goals were to popularise gymnastics as a sport, to introduce more children of both sexes to artistic gymnastics, as well as to provide up-to-date information to all parents and their children who enrolled their kids with me at the Levski Gymnastics Center from 2008 to 2012.
At the National Championships in Bulgaria in 2011.
During these 5 years, my gymnasts and I participated in many sports events and gymnastics competitions all over Bulgaria. In addition, I had the pleasure of organising two big annual events in front of the children's parents, which aimed to promote physical activity and healthy living among children. During my stay at Levski GC, I also completed a Bachelor's degree in Sports with a professional qualification in artistic gymnastics coaching at the National Sports Academy "Vasil Levski" in Sofia, Bulgaria. The training at the University helped me to give high-quality instructions and use theoretical principles and methods in the field of sports training. During these years I gained coaching experience in parallel with the theoretical courses as a university student.
Perhaps one of the most important contributions was my scientific study entitled 'Assessment of the diet of pre-school and primary school children engaged in artistic gymnastics', which had a positive impact on how and what those children eat. I also believe that the results and the subsequent presentations that I gave to the children and their parents who participated in this study made them think about the importance of physical activity, such as gymnastics.
In the next video you can watch one of my best gymnasts, David, performing his gymnastics routine on Parallel bars at the 2012 Bulgarian Gymnastics Championships. David won the silver medal in this National competition, and became the Parallel Bars Vice-Champion of Bulgaria at the age of 7. This was a huge success as he competed with more than 100 other gymnasts from the best gymnastics clubs in Bulgaria at the age category between 7 and 10 years.
This is my gymnast (David, 7) on Parallel Bars.
It is difficult to describe in a few paragraphs the achievements we made together with these children and their parents for our beloved Levski GC. But as you probably know, everything has a beginning and an end, and so came my last coaching event at Levski GC, the club where I grew up and the club where I coached gymnastics. This event was very special for me, but also for many of the gymnasts and parents. For the second year in a row, I organised a gymnastics performance where parents had the chance to see their children perform gymnastics for fun, without the stress of competitionas, as well as an opportunity to learn about the results of my research (as part of my Master's dissertation) on physical development and nutrition in young gymnasts. This was my last coaching event as I was about to move to work and live in the United Kingdom (which was a long lasting goal and dream). Watch the following video to learn more about this unforgettable event.
In December 2012, in my last year at the Levski GC, Mr Prodanov (president of Levski GC & ex-president of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation) and Mrs Stanka Pavlova (Honorary National Coach & Sports Director of Levski GC) gave me a special award for outstanding contribution to the club and the local community. They wished me good luck in the UK, and told me to ring the bell from time to time (the bell on the award they gave me - a Bulgarian horseshoe with a bell for luck) and to remember where I grew up, which is the respected gymnastics club Levski. So to this day I keep this award because I consider to be one of the most important awards I have ever received. Thank you to everyone who was part of these unforgettable years. I had a fantastic time in this club, coaching gymnastics while at the same time studying for my Bachelor's and Masters degrees at the National Sports Academy in Bulgaria.
My award for outstanding contribution to the club, 21 December 2012.