4v0 / 4v1 Rondo

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U8 to U17+
  • Time: 15 minutes

This basic introductory rondo is a great place to start. As a warm up it gets your players moving and working on their first touch, communication, movement off the ball and passing skills. It can be adapted depending on age / ability, but you can introduce it as young as U7/U8 and still be using it at U18 as the start to a session.

The key benefit to this, as well as the coaching points mentioned above, is lots and lots of touches, so the muscle memory of your players is being worked and improved. Eventually they will stop thinking about whether or not they're receiving the ball "across their body" onto their opposite foot and they will just be doing it without thought.

  • 8 x 8 yard square with a cone on each corner
  • One player on each side (not on the cones, but between them)
  • Optional (if players comfortable with pressure) defender in the middle of the square
  • Coach with several footballs to the side

Basic Rules:

  • The edge players (attackers, white in the above picture) keep possession.
  • Attackers must stay on their "edge"
  • Players can only pass to a player to either side of them (not to the opposite player across the square).
  • If you have a defender (pink, above), they try to win the ball by intercepting it (cannot tackle the players direct).
  • If ball goes off, coach passes a new one in quickly so play can continue.
  • Play for 90 seconds then switch the defender OR have the defender holding a bib rather than wearing it and as soon as a mistake is made they throw the bib down and switch with the player who made the mistake.
  • Keep score of number of passes correctly completed. Can add competitive element (complete X passes to score a point, most consecutive passes in 90 seconds etc.) either within the group or between different groups running the same rondo.
  • If the ball goes off, a player doesn't receive across their body or if they take more than 2 touches, number of consecutive passes is reset to zero. Be strict on this! If you aren't, the players will fall into sloppy habits.

5 Key Coaching Points:
  • Players to receive the ball on their opposite foot (letting the ball run across their body to their back foot).
  • Passing player to pass to the correct foot of the receiving player
  • As a player receives the ball, can the two players either side support them by moving to the corners nearest them to provide 2 passing options.
  • Communication (tell the player on the ball what to do with it)
  • 2 touch (one to control the ball, one to play the pass)

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • Receiving the ball onto the back foot.
  • Passing to the correct foot of the receiving player.
  • Weight of pass
  • First touch
  • Speed of play (one touch then pass quickly)
  • Movement off the ball
  • Communication (tell the player on the ball what to do with it)
  • Decision making - which player to pass to (decide BEFORE the ball has arrived with you)
  • Adapt to coach constantly sending a new ball in (be "on your toes")
  • Speed of play
  • Body shape
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!