March 29, 2013
Matt Winkeljohn, Sting Daily –
It began as little more than a conversation starter, a topic shared among brothers not of blood but a rather specific sort, and now former Georgia Tech kickers Scott Sisson and Scott Blair share more than a passion for kicking footballs.
They’re partners in teaching others to boot ’em.
The early fruits of their labor can be found at www.fieldgoalkicker.com, and there is more to what they’re doing than can be seen on their web site.
Sisson (1989-’92) and Blair (’07-’10), the No. 3- and No. 4-ranked scoring kickers in Tech history, hold clinics, take on clients for one-on-one instruction, and they’ve assembled a large inventory of teaching videos that can be accessed by subscription.
At first, one might say they don’t need to do this; they’re doing well otherwise.
Sisson spent years in the mortgage business before spinning off a few years ago to run Sisson Media Corporation. His company provides internet services for small to medium businesses with emphasis on web site design and development, graphic & logo design, e-mail promotion, search engine optimization, domain name transfers and more.
Blair works as a financial advisor in a premier wealth management group at Morgan Stanley.
Then again, maybe they do need this.
Kickers can be a peculiar lot, and many maintain an urge to remain connected with their inner booter after their competitive days have ended. Blair, in fact, participated in Tech’s recent pro day in front of NFL scouts.
“That’s right on,” Blair said. “We kind of get to re-live it through the kids now. Its fun to get out with the younger guys . . . to get back out there and get on the field. I did pro day because I missed kicking so much.”
Here, Sisson laughed and said, “Don’t count him out completely.”
Blair’s father, Jeff, actually started this. In the summer of 2010, before his son’s senior season at Tech, he contacted Sisson.
“He said something to the effect of, ‘I can’t believe you guys have never met,’ ” Sisson said. “We all agreed to get together and have lunch. I thought it would be interesting if my father came along as well, and we could all swap tales.”
At that lunch and in subsequent conversations, they kicked around Sisson’s ideas for mentoring young kickers. Blair also remembers this from that first meeting: “The big advice [Sisson] gave me – no offense, Matt – was not to read media during the season. I had been a culprit of worrying about what people thought of me.”
The idea germinated for a while before the Scotts agreed last spring to press forward.
“[Blair] said if you ever decide to do that, let me help. Once he validated that it sounded like a decent idea, I was like, let’s give it a shot,” Sisson said. “We’ll start outlining, taking a kid from A-Z. We’re 20 years apart, let’s see what’s changed. A kid could learn a lot from two guys with that age spread who’ve kicked for the same school.
“You just cannot with private lessons get into 30 years of experience, but when you build a website and break it down to how granular can we get? That’s different.”
For beginners, they gathered last summer to shoot video. First time out, they wore down a camcorder battery, two iPhone batteries and an iPad battery. Since then . . .
“We have something like 85 videos that we have filmed over six months,” Sisson said. “For example, in one we were talking about how to find [set up] your steps. We’re not re-inventing the wheel; you can find some of this in various places on the internet. But we’ve taken it and organized it, and its the same voices saying it.”
The Scotts do not agree on everything, although that is not to say they disagree on anything. They share some differences in philosophy and leave room for pupils to craft their own nuances along the way.
“I would say fundamentals in every kicker, you have to have them,” Blair said. “But everybody is going to have a little twist on it. Same thing with a golf swing, or shooting free throws . . . different approaches.
“Together, I think we emphasized that those fundamentals need to be strong. We have those similar traits, and then go with what’s comfortable to you.”
So, the Scotts are off and, er, booting. They’ve refined their teaching and videography techniques along the way, and their kicking project has in some ways turned into a sociological observation opportunity as well.
“It’s interesting how different some fathers’ and kids’ goals are,” Sisson said. “You might have a kid who is trying to make his eighth grade team, and a father saying, ‘How can we get my son to a point where he can at least compete?’
“And you have some kids who aspire to kick in college. We have had a sixth grader; I didn’t even start kicking until I was in the eighth grade. There are physical limitations. There’s no first grader who is going to kick an extra point . . . It’s a little different than any other sport.”