Itoi told a reporter that he tried to skip practices often when he was a student. In college, he tried to skip practices to play Pachinko by saying he was going to get physical therapy. He spent the most amount of time practicing when he converted over from pitcher to position player in 2006.
When Itoi was in elementary school, he enjoyed soccer. He wanted to become a soccer player up until the time his father forced him to join a baseball team when he was in middle school.
Source: Tokyo Sports 4/12/2017