Sam Schmidt had some friends on the Seymour High School boys tennis team, so at the beginning of his sophomore year he decided to try out for the team.
It didn’t take him long to work his way into the starting lineup.
He started at No. 2 double his sophomore year and moved up to No. 1 doubles his junior year. This fall he split time between the two doubles positions.
“I had different partners all three years but this year I played mostly with Andrew Levine,” Schmidt said. “I prefer doubles over singles. Having a partner takes the pressure off of me and it’s kind of more teamwork.
“In doubles, positioning is the name of the game, so if I’m going to switch sides and go to the right side of the court I’ll yell at Andrew that I’m going to the other side of the court so we’re covering everywhere so communication is really important.”
During matches, Schmidt stayed on the attack.
“I preferred to play up at the net,” Schmidt said. “I’m more aggressive and I get more opportunities to end the point. You had to keep your racquet up by your face and you really don’t have much time to move.”
Schmidt said serving was an important part of the game.
“First serves are important because if you miss that first one, your second one is probably going to be a little bit slower, and you’re going to be more careful with it,” he said. “The returner is going to have more opportunity to have a good shot and end the point right there.
“My coach really stressed at doubles to get the first serve in a lot. He made us work on that. I served kind of stop spin, kind of sideways. Mine curved a lot.
Schmidt preferred playing at home.
“The home matches were awesome. We got new courts and it was really fun to play with some of my friends, and some of my friends just came and watched so that was fun.”
Schmidt said he enjoys the strategy it takes to win a match.
“I really like how the sport is set up, and I like the tennis community,” he said. “I like how everybody reacts. It’s a friendly game sometimes.”
He said his highlight was helping the Owls win sectionals the past two seasons.
Schmidt will be on the baseball team again in the spring and said you have to have confidence to succeed in all sports.
“Especially in tennis, the mental part will get harder because it’s a lot more focused on one person, so if you mess up you know you messed up and you kind of get mad about it so it’s a little more difficult to keep yourself up,” Schmidt said. “In doubles, you always have to be talking to your partner and keep him up and not let him get mad at himself for missing a shot.
“I guess baseball is a little bit easier because there is not as much opportunity for you typically to mess something up. You can strike out or something like that, but in tennis if you miss a shot you know exactly what you did and know you should have gotten it over the net and gotten it in.”
Schmidt has played baseball for a long time.
“In baseball, I was 4-years old when I started and I’ve been playing every year since then,” Schmidt said. “ I played catcher freshman and sophomore year and last year I started playing more outfield. I think I’ll be in the outfield this year.”
He said last year he played the corner positions more than he did in center.
“I enjoy the defensive part,” Schmidt said. “I feel like its more communication-based and it takes working as a team to see how we’ll get the next out.
“Batting is always exciting. Early in the count, if he throws it in the strike zone I’m probably going to be swinging, try not to fall behind in the count. If it gets to a 3-0 count I can be more picky there.”
Schmidt enjoys the home baseball games. “We’ve been getting bigger crowds. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I expect this team to have a winning season.”
The senior has enjoyed attending SHS.
“I have lots of people I know in every class,” Schmidt said. “The attention I get from the teachers is really helpful. It’s going to be a very memorable experience.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Schmidt file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Sam Schmidt
High school: Seymour
Parents: Kim Schmidt, Jay Schmidt
Siblings: Sierra, Laurin, Lorelei, Abby, Joe
Sports: tennis 3 years, baseball 4 years
Athletic highlights: tennis sectional champions 2017, ’18
Organizations: band, choir, National Honor Society, Latin Club
Plans after high school: attend Hanover College, study mathematics
Favorite food: pizza
Favorite TV show: The Middle
Favorite musicians: Panic! at the Disco
Favorite movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou?