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Irish Guard Pat Connaughton Balances The Workload of a Two-Sport Athlete

Mar 1, 2013, 8:56 AM EDT

Connaughton dribbles upcourt in Notre Dame's game against Cincinnati. (Photo by Joe Raymond/AP) Connaughton dribbles upcourt in Notre Dame's game against Cincinnati. (Photo by Joe Raymond/AP)

Snow may still be falling in South Bend, but as we head into March, thoughts of the not-too-far-off green grass and sunshine have started to pick up steam. For many, the coming of spring serves as a reminder that baseball season is right around the corner. One person who can certainly appreciate the excitement of this time of year is Notre Dame sophomore, and two-sport athlete, Pat Connaughton.

Connaughton, a guard for the Fighting Irish men’s basketball team, also pitches on the Irish baseball squad. And while anticipation for baseball season continues to build, right now Connaughton’s focus is on the efforts of the basketball team as he and his teammates continue to head towards the madness of March.

With all the hard work and dedication that go into being a varsity athlete at Notre Dame, it is hard to imagine how one is able to manage playing two sports. For most Notre Dame students, free time comes at a premium, and this is certainly the case for Connaughton. Balancing a rigorous schedule of schoolwork along with being a two-sport athlete is no easy task.

“It is all about time management,” Connaughton says. “You are not going to have very much free time in your days with school and two sports.”

It appears as if Connaughton has already become a master of time management in his time at Notre Dame. Before the basketball season officially starts he will often practice twice a day, once with each sport. Once basketball season gets underway, it becomes more of a matter of finding spare time to get a throwing session in.

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Connaughton on the mound during the 2012 season.
(Photo by Matt Cashore)

“Really, it is just a matter of making sure nothing interferes with the basketball side of things,” he says. “It is usually not too hard to find some free time here and there to make sure I’m keeping my arm in good shape.”

Basketball and baseball are certainly two very different sports, and each requires a particular set of skills. But for Connaughton, the divide between the two is not as large as one may think. He recognizes that lessons learned in one sport can sometimes be directly applied to the other.

“If I am not hitting my shots, I can rely on my baseball mentality to get me through a slump,” Connaughton explains. “Baseball is always recognized as a very mental game, but in basketball the mental side of the game is still very important.”

Connaughton also notes that basketball is a great way for him to keep himself in peak physical condition year round. The same athletic explosiveness that he shows on the court can later be found in his performance on the mound.

Even as the weather begins to heat up, hopefully Pat Connaughton’s return to the baseball diamond will be slightly delayed by the Irish basketball team playing deep into March. With the amount of time and energy poured into his body of work, success should come as no surprise to the Irish sophomore, whether it be on the hardwood or on the pitcher’s mound.

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