Jacoby Mitchell can say he is the only student athlete at WCU to play two sports, football and baseball, but it’s not all fun and games.
Currently in the middle of his baseball season and the start of football spring training, Mitchell is forced to split time between baseball and football season. The 6’1, 200 pound sophomore, who is majoring in Sports Management at Western Carolina, plays Wide Receiver for the football team and Right Field for the baseball team.
As soon as the football season ends, Mitchell jumps right into baseball season.
“When I committed to play football for WCU the coach promised me I could play baseball too,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t able to play last year but this year I tried out after football and made the team.”
Mitchell says making the transition from football to baseball is “a mind thing”, meaning that football and baseball requires two different mindsets.
“For baseball it’s all about mechanics, the approach, keeping your mind in the game. For football it’s a lot of tempo, fast-pace, and hard hitting,” Mitchell said. “When football season ends, I try and slow my mind and body down a little bit for baseball.”
Mitchell also believes baseball helps with football in improving his hand-eye coordination. Even during the baseball season, Mitchell continues to lift for football, currently every Tuesday and Thursday. Though the workout routine differs for football and baseball, he feels the football workouts provide him with the best result.
“I still have to keep up my weight though for football,” Mitchell said. “And I do a lot of core and cardio to keep me in shape.”
Mitchell’s diet remains the same for both sports, except that he takes protein shakes after lifting for football.
Juggling both football training and baseball is a “difficult process” according to Mitchell.
“The hardest thing is keeping up with the playbook,” Mitchell said. “We are changing up our scheme for football so I’ve been a little behind the playbook and learning all the plays. I try to study it in my free time, but it’s still a little tough.”
Mitchell’s commitment to two sports puts his academic life into a lot of “late nights”.
“I take some study halls, so that helps a lot,” Mitchell said. “But even so I am still up late keeping up with my classes. My day starts at 6 a.m. and ends around 8 p.m., then I hit the books.”
Mitchell has yet to have any serious injuries and says that coaches worrying about injuries “is not a problem at all.”
“The coaches know me, they know my body,” Mitchell said. “Plus, anytime I’m working out or training there are always trainers around.”
By NCAA rules, double athletes are required two weeks of “rest” in the summer.
“The SoCon tournament starts in May and the regional’s go into June. If we don’t make it as far as we would like to in baseball, then I’ll be home for a little bit, but I’ll be back here in July for football.”
Being a double athlete is not all fun and games according to Mitchell.
“If you want to be a two-sport athlete, make sure that’s what you want to do,” Mitchell said. “Get your mind right, it’s a big sacrifice.”