The Importance of a "Walk On" Attitude For Sports Careers - Work in Sports Podcast

Attitude matters! In this episode, we're explaining the attributes of a "Walk On" attitude - listen in!

Hi, everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for and this is the Work in Sports podcast…

Quick March Madness bracket update ---- I still stink at brackets.

Now back to the show.

I’ve been thinking a lot about attitude lately and its role in our collective definition of success.

My daughter just had this 6th-grade field trip to the Pocono’s for a stayover at the Poconos Environmental Education Center… the entire 6th grade and I was one of the chaperones. For those of you without kids, 11-12 years old is a really interesting age. They are starting to develop independence, feeling out their own confidence levels, how they fit in the bigger picture, where their true interests and passions lie, and they aren’t as complacent as they once were – they will challenge you.

At this age, you can observe so much, especially when they are all together away from home and under outnumbered supervision. It’s like a petri dish of Group Dynamics.  You see the factions, the separation of types, the mean kids, the attitudes, the kids who are lost and still finding their people.

You see the formation and foundation of attitude.

Attitude matters a ton in life. It forms your perspective and approach to all things in your life.   

Even at a young age, you can see the kids who have developed with an attitude of entitlement. They should get things because they want things.

You can see kids who are gracious, community-focused, natural teambuilders.

You can see others who believe they are leaders because they yell the loudest or tell someone else their idea is stupid and take over the dialogue.

There are others who work really hard and are curious, embrace others and are welcoming.

These are all attitudes. They aren’t cast in stone, these aren’t permanent features of their personality…but they are forming a solid foundation and start to define who this person will be.

We all carry that attitude with us every day and in every interaction we have. What do we emit? What is the vibe we give people when we meet them, what is the energy we radiate as we walk through life?

Negative, entitled, grumpy attitudes are easy to identify in people and do not speak well to their future.

But there are other more subtle attitudes that can be just a negative to someone career arch: those who make assumptions, are self-defeating, always compare themselves to others, who linger in the past, feel like a victim, blame others,  and are paralyzed by a fear of failure – these aren’t the mean kids, but they will struggle with attitude through life, just in a different way.

This all fits into our question this week from Amanda in Brooklyn:

“Hi Brian, love the podcast, you have some incredible guests but I really feel myself draw to the Monday episodes where you get real and raw. Thank you so much for what you do!

My question is pretty simple, I’ve had two internships and it’s been an incredible experience for me, in my next internship I want to make sure that I make it an incredible experience for them, and they hopefully want to hire me. Anything you advise to help me stand out for the right reasons?”

Amanda, I love the way you put this. It sounds like your first two internships helped you gain experience and likely find some direction for your sports career – that is incredible. And for you to have the perspective that your next one, you need to earn the respect of the employers and focus on impressing them and providing value… is really great.

I’ve talked in the past about building your skills and relationships and following up and who to connect with on an internship… so let’s go a different direction. I want to go deeper into the idea of attitude.

College athletes really impress me.

A vast majority of them have no prospects of playing professional sports for money. They don’t play for that reason, they play because they love the game, the team, the competition, the status on campus and let’s be honest, the scholarship money.

So let’s go one level deeper. The walk on.

Here is a person who has all of the same attributes as the above college athlete, but have no form of athletic financial aid. They are doing this for an even deeper love of the game…and the outside chance they may earn a spot on the team.

That is purity of attitude if you ask me. And that’s what I want to talk about today – having a walk on attitude.

Amanda – your goal in your next internship, and for everyone out there listening, you should keep this in your head as you walk through life: have a walk on attitude.

So what is it? What is a walk on attitude. Well, let’s start with a story:


Listen in to the Work in Sports podcast episode 169 to learn what it means to have a Walk on Attitude!


Amanda – bring a walk-on attitude to everything you do, especially your internships…and you’ll see the fruits of your labor.

Thanks for listening everyone, please remember to share this podcast with others, give us a positive review and subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.

We also have a couple more ways for you to learn and network – we have a private facebook group search for the Work in Sports podcast on facebook answer a few questions and gain access to this incredible group of people networking and sharing their career advice.

And We have Facebook LIVE sessions on Thursday nights at 7:30 pm eastern from the Work in Sports Facebook page – not the same as the private group, this is our public Work in Sports page. These sessions are led by me, and are question and answer based, so bring your career focused questions!

And finally… on Wednesday we have another great podcast, this one features Lauren Sisler, SEC Nation reporter… we talk a ton about coming up I the broadcast media and launching a career… but even more important we talk about Lauren’s journey through tragedy… and I’ll tell you I’ll never be the same after this conversation. I know you will like it, so make sure you tune in.

Alright, everyone… back to work.

By Brian Clapp | April 01, 2019
Sign In or Register to access all articles and insider tips for help in your job search.

Search for Sports Jobs