Finlay Watson’s journey to becoming the best under 17 squash player in the state started with improving his backhand.
“My backhand game was very weak so we focused on improving that,” he said.
“It was a bit of a struggle at the start, but eventually it clicked.”
Fin received the Squash SA award for Most Improved Under 17 Squash Player in South Australia at a recent tournament in Adelaide.
His love for squash grew from ‘having hits’ with his father and now coach, Jim Watson, at home.
Fin’s interest at squash from a young age prompted him to get involved with a state development squad which helped him improve his game.
As part of the development squad, he was given certain squash exercises to do every day. Those contributed to his dramatic improvement and allow him to maintain his skill on the court.
Fin recalls ‘losing to everyone’ in his first squash tournament, but now he usually either wins or finishes in second place at most events he participates in.
Mr Watson said Fin is ‘easy to coach’ because he listens and is self-driven.
“That’s one of the things you can’t really coach into someone,” he said.
The squash prodigy has also received some support from Squash SA state coach James Rogers.
Mr Rogers gives Fin new training exercises every time he travels to Adelaide. Fin then takes those exercises and puts them into practice in Whyalla.
Mr Watson said has been happy to see Fin’s improvement in the past few years.
Currently Fin is ranked 32 in the country for the under 17 age group. He hopes to be chosen for the South Australian squash team which will compete in the Australian Junior Championships in September.
“We have lots of work to do before then, more training,” Mr Watson said.
Fortunately, the recently-upgraded Whyalla Squash Club will always be available for Fin as he continues to improve his game.
“The club supports our juniors by not charging them for training sessions. They can come and train for free with a coach here any time,” Mr Watson said.
Fin will represent Samaritan College at the South Australian High School Squash Championships next month, taking on other students from around the state.