Chris Sailer’s future is up in the air -- literally.
Throughout his career as a nationally renowned collegiate field
goal and place kicker, Sailer’s success has been measured not only by
how far he can kick a football, but how long he can keep it in the
“Kicking is like any other skill in football, or in sports,” the
Burbank resident said. “The more you put into it, the better you’re
going to get. It’s not just something you pick up and you’re going to
be very good at if you don’t practice and put the time needed into
Sailer, 26, has parlayed his dedication to kicking -- along with a
lot of hard work -- into a successful career as a high school,
college and professional football player. Along the way, he studied
the art of kicking and absorbed information about what it takes to
excel in the specialized skill.
“When he played for us at [Sherman Oaks] Notre Dame, Chris really
didn’t have a lot of instruction. He just kind of taught himself and
improved on his own,” Notre Dame High Coach Kevin Rooney said. “Even
when he went to UCLA, he did a lot on his own.
“He just learned what he had to do to be successful and through a
lot of practice, he went out and did it.”
Armed -- or in this case, legged -- with that information, Sailer
came up with the idea of providing specialized, personal punting and
kicking instruction to athletes who want to improve their skills. So
he established Chris Sailer Kicking.
“I do deal with a lot of young high school athletes who are trying
to get better and hopefully play in college,” Sailer said. “But I
also get athletes who just want to improve their punting and
Along with clinics and camps, Sailer also provides one-on-one
“What [Sailer] does with players is just incredible,” Rooney said.
“He has the talent, the patience and the knowledge to help players
and make them better.
“He works with our kickers and I’ve seen a marked improvement
after they have worked with Chris.”
Sailer said although the situation is improving, many high school
coaches don’t know much about kicking and punting, and don’t have the
skills necessary to teach it.
“It is really specialized, and some coaches have just never really
devoted the time it takes to learn what is needed to teach kicking
and punting,” he said.
“I have been a kicker for a long time, and I’ve seen what it takes
to be successful. It is definitely something that I love to teach,
and something that I want to help other athletes with.”
Although teaching young punters and kickers is one of Sailer’s
passions, he still hasn’t lost the desire to compete in football at a
high level. Playing for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football
League, Sailer was sidelined last year after having offseason groin
“I am still with he Rattlers,” said Sailer, who has played three
seasons in the AFL. “It is a great organization and I am looking
forward to getting back with them.
“I have had the injury from when I was playing with UCLA, and I
never got it taken care of.”
Before he worked his way to UCLA, Sailer was a outstanding athlete
at Notre Dame.
During his senior season in 1994, he helped lead the Knights to a
CIF Southern Section Division III championship.
Sailer set a national record by converting 22 field goals -- in 29
attempts. Seven of the field goals were 50 yards or longer, including
three of 58, 57 and 54. He also converted all 39 of his point-after
attempts and averaged 44.1 yards per kick as a punter.
Along with being honored as the 1994 Division III Co-Player of the
Year, Sailer was also All-State and a high school All-American.
“Chris was one of the main reasons why we won the CIF championship
that year,” Rooney said.
“People don’t realize what a great advantage, and what it means,
field-position wise, when you have someone like Chris as a kicker. We
knew that if we got past midfield, we would have a chance to score
because we had Chris. He was great to have.”
At UCLA, he was a two-time consensus All-American as both a
place-kicker and a punter, as well as an Academic All-American. He
still holds the Bruins’ record for the longest field goal in school
history -- a 56-yard effort.
Sailer signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999, but didn’t make the squad.
With kicking camps and player instruction still close to his
heart, Sailer might have to scale back his teaching if he achieves
his plans for the future.
“I really want to get back and play in the NFL. That’s my goal,”
In the meantime, Sailer will continue to help young athletes, and
get a great deal of satisfaction watching his pupils succeed.