When I am planning my coaching sessions or thinking about warm ups before a match I always start by planning in a Rondo. It is a great way to get players ready for training or for a match – and they never complain about doing it because they love it. MORE
Rondos are fantastic for lots of things – warm ups, pre-season, technique practice and even tactical play. They make for a great session that works on every aspect of a player’s game: technique, tactics, physical and psychological – and are a great way for players to bond and develop a team spirit.
The Rondo is vital to the training systems of some of the world’s top academies like Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Barcelona, and its success for creating good team play has become increasingly popular for grassroots coaches to implement, partly due to its simplicity.
But don’t look at the youtube videos of Barcelona pinging the ball around and expect your players to do the same – it takes great practice so use them as often as you can and see your players improve over time.
Technical ability is key as is the ability to communicate, compete and anticipate the movement of the ball in attack and defence. The demands the Rondo places on players are match realistic.
Rondos are all about the importance of individual responsibility in possession soccer – they are not about the most skilful player who can do step overs at will, they develop the basics of soccer.
How to use Rondos
Rondos are games where one group of players has the ball with overload advantage (3v1, 4v2, 5v2, 6v3) over another group of players. The basic objective of the group in overload advantage is to keep possession of the ball while the objective of the group in numerical inferiority is to win the ball back.
Rondos are usually set up in a grid of varying size, which can be anything from 8×8 yards to a half pitch depending on the skill level of the players or the aspect of play you want to work on.
In a Rondo, there are key passes like a 1st line pass, a 2nd line pass, and a 3rd line pass.
The most common Rondo seen in Pep Guardiola’s training sessions with Manchester City is in a 10x10m square in an 8 v 2 “Piggy in the Middle” game dynamic.
Usually it is played with one touch passing, but that can be changed depending on the parameters. The size of the square as well as the amount of players on each team are variable.
The goal is usually to reach 20 or 30 passes in a row without an interception. Once that is achieved the players all tease and applaud towards the players in the middle. If you watch any of the training videos uploaded by Pep’s former club Bayern Munich on YouTube you can hear players like Thomas Muller counting each pass out loud.
They are based on a technical practice but they can also be set up to work on many tactical and positional aspects of play.
Size of area
The size of the grids are relevant to the individual practices. Teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich want to be playing passes 10 yards and less, and when all the players are this distance apart, they can press the ball intensely should they lose possession.
It was the first matches of the season in youth leagues up and down the country in the UK this week and it has been interesting to see the different reactions from the coaches I know. Most have been excited but some have been back to the “same old thing” with players turning up late and not being ready to play a match. MORE
This is a great session to warm up your players through a high intensity possession-based skills practice, with players developing the technical aspects of their game that can be used in high-pressure match scenarios. MORE
When players are getting back into the game after a summer break it is challenges to the brain that is essential along with the physical needs of individual players. MORE
If you want to improve your team’s defensive performance, use this activity to teach players when to press and when to hold, so they can control play even if they don’t have possession. MORE
The techniques worked on by Rondo are passing, receiving and control. There is also the tactical element of where the defender is and where a player needs to pass the ball MORE
This is a simple 5v2 keep away game made harder by having a triangle in the middle which the two defenders must protect or stay in the middle longer MORE
Midfielders who are looking to get the ball to an attacker need to create space to thread passes through, while target men need to learn to receive and control the ball. MORE
Rondos are vital to the training systems of some of the world’s top academies like Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Barcelona, and the success of Rondos for creating good team play has become increasingly popular for grassroots coaches to implement, partly due to their simplicity. MORE
Rondos are fantastic for training, for warm ups, for pre-season and to get players in the mood for working hard. They are directly related to the principles of play and link into systems of play – so 2v1 3v2 – and that works into practicing formations at all age groups. MORE
This uses all the elements of pre-season training: passing, communication, movement, control, and with the progression comes a tactical challenge. Players need to concentrate and react quickly, so it helps with general fitness too. MORE
Attackers must make use of space and make the right decisions to create goals. It’s good for 1v1 and 2v1 situations to give attackers match-like practice. MORE
Rondos are games where one group of players has the ball with overload advantage (3v1, 4v2, 5v2, 6v3) over another group of players. The basic objective of the group in overload advantage is to keep possession of the ball while the objective of the group in numerical inferiority is to win the ball back. MORE
This Rondo is all about scoring before your opponents and knocking them out. It is a fast game with constantly changing teams, and it gets attackers to sniff out opportunities and capitalise on them. MORE
Use this Rondo session to improve the passing technique of your players so they can set up strikers with solid goalscoring opportunities close to goal – and also gets them to work hard in the build up play when attacking and defending. MORE
Rondos are the ideal way to warm-up young players, covering all aspects of outfield play, ticking the boxes for technical, tactical, creative and, importantly, social/fun MORE
In rondos there are three different types of passes that are key to the sessions and key to the style of play rondos encourage. MORE
Creative play in and around the final third needs players to see opportunities to get the ball through to attackers behind the defence. This session helps develop their passing vision MORE
Players will develop their tactical support play as well as good technique to keep the ball from opponents helping to develop a team’s style MORE
The key rondos passes can be used in tactical play during matches to play between the lines with the key play splitting lines of defence to create goalscoring runs MORE
Straight from the Fulham Academy training ground, this warm-up will help develop your team's ability to use both feet and to pass accurately. MORE