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In 2017, I took over the role of USA Wrestling-Kansas Director of Coaches Development. Part of my duties included teaching the USAW / NCEP Bronze Coaches Clinic, and during this time, I was introduced to the concept "Kaizen."

"Kaizen" is a Sino-Japanese word for improvement (change for the better). It is a philosophy that many business models have embraced, and it also fits perfectly with my spiritual and professional views. This concept entails activities that continuously improve our functions and roles in life. It involves a commitment to making positive changes that will propel us toward our goals. These are small changes over a period of time -- not that the alterations happen slowly, but that the small changes will have a huge impact. 

I've come to believe that there is no perfect end and that everything can be improved upon, whether it's athletics, academics, our professional duties, or our spirituality. It's the pursuit of improvement that brings us closer to God; it's our decision to continue through the obstacles and bumps in the road. 

In my series of devotionals, I end with a "Moment of Kaizen," as well as a related passage that goes along with the theme of each message. This "Moment of Kaizen" is simply a strategy for helping my fellow coaches in their pursuit for continuous improvement. 

My Inspiration

So, I decided to try to write a series of devotionals for coaches. My chief inspiration was an indescribable urge to share my faith, but several things have contributed along the way: 

I started out writing some entries that had been based on notes I made for my wrestling team in February 2021. As we entered each stage of the championship series -- Districts ("Weakness Leads to Strength"), Regionals ("Competitive Greatness"), Sub-State ("Your Defining Moment"), and State ("Relentless Execution") -- I began each tournament with a pep talk that had been inspired by a devotional from the FCA Coach's Bible. I decided to revise these notes and put them into a more refined format. 

I then revisited a couple longer Facebook posts that I'd written over the past season ("I Feel Like I'm Home" and "Iron Sharpens Iron -- Why Our Kids Need Sports"). These were entries that I felt were written from the heart and bore a strong message that I'd wanted to share. 

One morning, as I listened to my pastor preach during an outdoors Sunday service, I found my mind wandering as I flipped through the book of Proverbs. I took notes over some verses that spoke to me, scrawling them onto the back of an old bulletin. I ended up ordering a leather-bound journal later that day, which I'd end up using for my notes as I allowed my mind to be inspired by the pastor's words. 

On a Sunday in May 2021, I found myself inspired to write my first devotional entry -- a message inspired by Tim Tebow and a page I'd found by googling "Bible verses for athletes." That was the beginning. 

I'd formed a vision for my devotionals -- a biblical passage, followed by an anecdote or two from my 20+ year coaching career, and an exploration of how the Bible can help coaches at all levels better serve God. I conclude each entry with a "Moment of Kaizen" and a related passage from the Bible for further consideration. 

In the spirit of "continuous improvement" and being studious, I also began researching what it meant to undertake such a task as writing a series of devotionals. Jerry Jenkins advises writers to bring the following to the table with such an endeavor:

  • A pure heart
  • A focused mind
  • A burning desire

I try my best to maintain a pure heart, but like all men and women, I am an imperfect creation of God. My faults, mistakes, and sins do not define me; it is the pursuit of improving myself to be the best Christian I can be. I try my best to be focused, but with all the demands of my time (family, career, coaching two high school sports, and more), I often find myself distracted. Yet, I strive to return home to where my focus needs to be. I try my best to fuel my passions, and I feel that this is my trump card. Coaching is a passion of mine -- not because of a desire to win championships, trophies, medals, and honors, but because of a desire to impact the young athletes under my supervision. 

It is a calling that I have embraced and cannot ignore. 

Please enjoy reading my posts, and as always, I look forward to hearing from you with any ideas, questions, or suggestions. 

--Coach Bovaird

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May 16, 2021: "Be Kind, Tenderhearted, and Forgiving" (Ephesians 4:31-32)

May 23, 2021: "Discipline in Planning" (Hebrews 12:11-13)

May 30, 2021: "Joy from Mourning" (Psalm 30:11-12)

June 6, 2021: "Responding to Judgment" (James 3:1-2)

June 13, 2021: "Winning the Race" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

June 20, 2021: "The Power of Words" (Proverbs 18:21)

June 27, 2021: "Being Resilient" (Matthew 8:26)

July 4, 2021: "Stepping Up" (Isaiah 6:8)

July 11, 2021: "An Emotional Journey" (Colossians 3:23)

July 18, 2021: "Expectations" (Philippians 2:5)

July 25, 2021: "No 'I' in Team" (1 Corinthians 12:17-20)

August 1, 2021: "Be True to Yourself" (Proverbs 4:23)

August 8, 2021: "Pain is Temporary" (Psalm 147:3-5)

August 15, 2021: "The Power of Seclusion" (Mark 1:35-37)

August 22, 2021: "Servant Leadership" (Mark 9:35)

August 29, 2021: "Embrace the Pack" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

September 5, 2021: "New Beginnings" (Genesis 1:1)

September 12, 2021: "Turn the Page" (Job 17:9)

September 19, 2021: "Strength and Courage" (Deuteronomy 31:6)

September 26, 2021: "Diligence is a Virtue" (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

October 3, 2021: "Excellence is Never an Accident" (Luke 17:6)

October 10, 2021: "Humility" (Proverbs 27:2)

October 17, 2021: "It's a Psychological Thing" (1 Samuel 17:45)

October 24, 2021: "Success Defined" (Jeremiah 17:7)

October 31, 2021: "Winning the Spiritual Battle" (Romans 7:15)

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