One of my favourite coaches growing up was Coach Seth Appert of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers. He had a quote he would always say. Preferably it was to our forwards, but this one stuck with me because it has more than one meaning.
He always said, “Backcheck to prevent danger, not because you’re in danger.” Backcheck to prevent, not because you’re in. And I apply that to more than just on the ice.
See, on the ice, if you only backcheck when it’s too late, when the other team is already on the offence, when there’s an odd-man rush going the other way and you’re at the disadvantage, then you’re already behind and you’re trying to catch up.
But if you are in good defensive positioning and you’re backchecking before you have to, then it will keep you from having to backcheck. It means that you’re in control, it means that you’re on the D-side of the puck. It means that you have the advantage.
And that’s the same thing that happens in life. That’s the same thing that happens in every other aspect. Are you the type of person that waits until you have a heart attack or health problems, or any type of disaster before you kick things into gear? Or do you kick things into gear so you don’t have to go through those things? Are you the type of person who reacts to the situation or are you the type of person who anticipates?
See, that’s what staying ahead, that’s what being the best is all about. It’s not about doing what you should have done; it’s about doing it beforehand. It’s about studying earlier than the night before the test. It’s about doing the workouts over the summer, the first couple of weeks in the summer, not waiting until the last three weeks and going into crunch time.
It’s being disciplined. It’s prioritizing your family. It’s prioritizing what’s important around you. And I think this applies to so much. So much.
So, what I want to encourage you today is, don’t backcheck because you’re in danger. Don’t do things because you’re already in a bad situation, but if you’re in that bad situation obviously you have to get out of it, so you have to do the right things to get out.
But make it a habit that you do what’s right, and you do the right things so you don’t have to be put in the corner, so you don’t have to have your back against the wall, scratching and fighting for life.
Put yourself in a position where you’re at an advantage, where you’re ahead of the competition, where you control your future and you’re not reacting to the things that happen to you.