Paxton Lin doesn’t mind following in the footsteps of his older brother, Nestor. In fact, that’s pretty much how he guides his life, and his results on the badminton court show he’s up for the challenge.
Paxton, 13, first picked up a badminton racquet after Nestor, 15, started playing, just as he’d followed his brother’s lead into figure skating then dropped it because, he said, “there were too many girls.”
Both Lin’s have been BC provincial badminton champions and both have been recognized by Badminton BC as the best junior male athletes in the province. They have both reached the senior elite team at the Shuttlesport Badminton Academy in Port Coquitlam where they train under performance director Al Mawani.
In fact, about the only honour Nestor has achieved that hasn’t been duplicated by Paxton is a place on the Coquitlam Sports Wall of Fame. At least not yet.
A recent victory by the younger Lin at the 2017 VLTBC Junior Open in Vancouver suggests it might be an idea for the engravers to get ready to chisel his name into the wall as well.
Paxton, who’s also a top student at Citadel middle school, said his game has evolved since he first started playing when he was six. Unsure of his ability, he was then a more defensive player, relying on his lightning reaction to the initiatives of his opponents.
But a change in the rules of the sport that potentially awards a point on every exchange of the shuttlecock, rather than waiting for a player to retain service before they can score a point, forced him to be more aggressive.
“You can’t really afford to make a mistake,” Paxton said, adding that change in strategy has also boosted his confidence on the court.
“You have to look tough, or else your opponents will gain confidence from your weakness.”
The results have followed, including bronze medals in the BC Junior Provincial U15 boy’s doubles and in the U15 boys’ doubles in the BC Junior Elite Series. He’s ranked eighth in the province in U15 singles.
Paxton said the more he plays, the better he gets.
“You have to stay focused,” he said. “You have to manage your nerves.”
One way he accomplishes that, he said, is by imagining the cheers for his opponents are actually for him. And if he finds himself down in a match, he sets a goal to just accumulate as many points as possible. Sometimes he rides that goal all the way to a comeback victory.
But those strategies don’t have much of an effect when he gets a chance to play his brother, Paxton said. “He knows me too well.”
That’s fine with him, though, Paxton said. “My brother is my inspiration. I like following his lead.”