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
You may have heard or seen lots of information about the activity Rondo and wondered what it was all about. A Rondo is fantastic for lots of things – warm ups, pre-season, technique practice and even tactical play. It makes for a great session that works on every aspect of a player’s game: technique, tactics, physical and psychological – they are a great way for players to work on technique and catch up with each other to bond their team commitment.
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.
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.