4v2+1 Rondo

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U9 to U17+
  • Time: 15 minutes

This rondo involves 7 players and is a progression on from the 4v0 / 4v1 rondo. A central attacking player is added and we now have 2 defenders in the middle trying to win the ball back. The setup mimics plenty of combinations you might find on the pitch during a game (two wingers, a centre mid, a striker and a number 10 or a back 3, a CDM and a CAM for example), so you can reference position when showing your players and help them understand how their movement and passing options might relate to a game situation and their positions.

  • 14 x 10 yard square with a cone on each corner
  • One "attacking" player on each side (not on the cones, but between them) (white, below)
  • Another attacking player in the middle.
  • 2 "defenders" in the middle (pink, below)
  • Coach with several footballs to the side

Basic Rules:

  • The 4 edge players and the one central player (attackers, white in the above picture) keep possession.
  • Edge attackers must stay on their "edge". Central attacker can roam wherever he / she wants.
  • Two defenders try to win the ball back by intercepting it or tackling the central player. Encourage them not to tackle the edge players, but instead to try and block off the passing options and intercept.
  • If defenders win the ball, they can either give it back or combine with 3 passes to score a point before a new ball is fired in.
  • If ball goes off, coach passes a new one in quickly so play can continue.
  • Play for 120 seconds then switch the defenders.
  • 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.
Key Coaching Points / Challenges:

For edge attackers:

  • Can you play quickly in one or two touches?
  • Can you split the defenders with a pass between them to your opposite edge player or to the central player?
  • Can you support an adjascent edge player by moving to the corner nearest to them when they have the ball?

For central attacker:

  • Can you always be on the move, looking for the space in between the defenders or behind / in front of them?
  • Can you play quickly, in one or two touches?
  • Can you use your strength to hold the defenders off if receiving the ball with a defender marking you?

For defenders:

  • Don't get split by a pass between the two of them.
  • If you win the ball, can you combine to complete 3 passes without the central player winning the ball back?
  • Can you work as a unit, one pressing the ball and the other cutting off the ball through the middle (make them play sideways and predictably)?

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
  • Defensive shape (one presses ball, one covers)
  • 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 thought - defender roles constantly changing for example between covering and pressing
  • Speed of play
  • Body shape
  • Strength to hold off defenders (central player)
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!