Special Teams Unit Development (STUD) Training

Jun 6, 2019 | Kickoff Coverage, Kick Return, Special Teams, Punt, Punt Block / Punt Return


By Ryan Turnbull
Special Teams Coordinator/DFO/Defensive Backs Coach
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Twitter: @CoachBullRPI


rpifbThrough very detailed drill work, STUD/STUD 2.0 allows the special teams unit to work on multiple facets of pursuit/return based special teams drills simultaneously. Players must hone in mentally on the specific coaching points that are being relayed. In addition, coaches must provide detailed and thorough direction towards the specific coaching points that will be practiced. Both players and coaches must respect spacing on the field of other drills to ensure full efficiency of STUD/STUD 2.0.

The drills contained are meant to be detailed, specific, and work on three concepts at most at a time.  These drills are open to variation and discussion within a staff.  Other drills practicing the same or equally important concepts are encouraged to be considered through discussion.

Concept Details

The first 7 minutes of STUD will consist of the avoid and leverage drill, step and hold drill, snap catch and step drill, and kickoffs/kickoff returns (Diagram 1). The last 7 minutes will consist of speed in space, field goals and punt/punt returns (Diagram 2). At least one coach, if not two, will be assigned to work with each group and coaches are specific to the drill (i.e. o-line coach works with PAT/FG).


Avoid and Leverage Drill: The areas this drill will target are acceleration, athleticism in a short window, and leveraging the football during pursuit. Players must accelerate to the first obstacle then “rip and stack” through that obstacle. Next, they will accelerate to the second obstacle followed by a break down and leverage. The coach will break down the drill in parts as he sees fit (Diagram 3).