When Amanda Axsom began playing tennis at Brownstown Central Middle School, she competed in both singles and doubles matches.
However, once she entered high school she played only doubles, and she said she likes it that way.
On the court, Axsom prefers to have a teammate by her side.
“I like the teamwork you have and the encouragement you have with your partner,” she said.
Axsom, who is right-handed, prefers to play on the right side during points.
“My backhand is actually somewhat better than my forehand,” Axsom said. “If one of their players is (on the right) and one is (left) I try to hit down the middle of them.
“I think my quickness is a big part of it because they hit it away from me and I usually get to the ball.”
While tennis could be seen as an individual sport, Axsom enjoys the camaraderie of playing on a team.
“I really like the teamwork about tennis,” she said. “I just like the team feeling and how we get through our wins and losses.”
For Axsom, winning the first set is always key because it sets the tone for the rest of the match.
In the spring, weather can alter the way she hits her shots, she said.
“The wind is really hard to play against because you can think the ball is going somewhere and then it will go completely different with the wind,” Axsom said. “I think the crosswind is the worst. It takes it out instead of just back-and-forth.
“I like the warmer weather. I think it’s a lot easier to play without your sweat pants and sweatshirt on.”
Axsom has played a number of years with fellow seniors Brooke Hattabaugh and Heidi Martin.
“I’m glad I came out for tennis,” Axsom said. “I’m just glad I have the tennis family I have now with the other two seniors. We have good relationships.”
When she’s not playing matches, Axsom said, she focuses on improving her game during practice.
“Practice is really important because you get to challenge up and you improve your skills when you play against another person,” she said. “If you stay at the same level you never improve.”
Axsom said you can’t afford to get down mentally if you get behind early.
“Tennis is a really bad mental game,” she said. “If you don’t think you can hit the shot you won’t hit the shot. Having your partner there really helps each-other when you say, ‘you can do it,’ and you encourage you.
“Communication is important. If you can’t get it you say to your partner, ‘You’ve got it,’ and if you can get it you’ll holler for yourself. If partners don’t communicate it’s really hard to get through the match.”
In the fall and winter, Axsom cheered for the football and basketball teams for three years.
“I enjoyed going to all the basketball games and seeing how the team achieved all its wins and how they took their losses,” Axsom said. “I liked to see them celebrate.
“I liked the home games. We had some cheers to the music, so that was a lot better than just going to the away games.”
In her free time, Axsom cheered with Indiana All-Stars in Scottsburg this past season. She said there were 23 on her squad, and they cheered in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
Name: Amanda Axsom
Parents: Alan Axsom, Cristi Bannister
Sports: Tennis, four years; cheerleading, three years
Organizations: Booster Club, Braves Against Drunk Driving (B.A.D.D.), Yearbook.
Plans after school: Attend Anderson University
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite TV show: “The Voice”
Favorite music: Country
Favorite movie: “The Longest Yard”