Rondo - 4v2+2 Transitional Rondo

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U12 to U17+
  • Time: 20 minutes

This transitional rondo is a progression from the 4v2+1 rondo. A second rectangle marked out next to the first, with a target player at the far end, allows the entire rondo to switch to the second area either once a certain number of passes have been completed or just whenever the players feel the option for a longer pass into the target player is appropriate. The defenders in this exercise have to work really hard!

  • 14 x 20 yard rectangle (size of area to change depending on age / ability of players) with a centre line marked (it's basically two 14 x 10 rectangles next to each other)
  • 6 players in one colour (white, below) and 2 defenders in another colour (pink, below)
  • In one of the rectangles, we have a white player on each edge (4,11,7,10 below) and another in the middle (8), who can roam freely in that rectangle.
  • The two defenders (pink) start in the middle of the first rectangle.
  • The final attacker (9) stays on the far edge of the second rectangle.
  • Coach at the side with footballs.

Basic Rules:

  • Team in possession tries to keep the ball between the 4 edge players and central player in their rectangle (4,7,8,10,11 above). The target player (9) is not involved directly to start with, but needs to move to be an option for the moment play is switched.
  • If the team in possession complete a certain number of passes they score a point, the ball is passed to the target player (9) and the entire rondo then switches to the second rectangle, where the game continues.
  • In that scenario, everyone in the diagram above shifts over to the right hand rectangle, except number 4, who stays on that edge as the new target player and we repeat this, switching back and forth every time the players complete their target number of passes. See below for the transition broken down across 3 pictures.
  • If the opposition win the ball back, they score a point, pass the ball to the coach, who fires it back in and play restarts. Coach can decide to restart play from the other rectangle, which requires players to all transition over again.
  • If the ball goes out, coach sends a new one in immediately.
  • Rotate defenders every few minutes.
Progressions / Variations:
  • Allow play to switch whenever the players think the pass into the target players is "on". Requires hard work from the defenders and possibly suits having 3 defenders better.
  • Reduce / increase the number of passes required before the switch depending on how easy / hard the players are finding it.
  • Have the defenders complete 3 passes between themselves once they've won the ball back.
  • Complicated, but good for more advanced / older players, is the option to have the two defenders switch with the central attacker and target player if they win the ball, so in the diagram above, they would switch with 10 and 9, who would become the defenders and play moves to the other rectangle. This encourages the players to really think on their toes.

The Transition in Pictures:


Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • "Passing empathy" - direction, type and weight of pass.
  • First touch - direction, cushioning, onto back foot, the surface we use to control the ball (foot, chest, thigh etc.).
  • Speed of play (play in one or two touch with pace)
  • Movement off the ball / finding a space to receive a pass.
  • Defensive shape, organisation and energy (one presses ball, others cover and block passing options)
  • Communication (tell the player on the ball what to do with it and when to transition)
  • Thinking ahead and decision making - which player to pass to (decide BEFORE the ball has arrived with you).
  • Transition (players need to think ahead to execute the transition effectively).
  • Adapt to coach constantly sending a new ball in (be "on your toes")
  • Speed of thought - roles constantly changing as we transition.
  • Mental intensity - really concentrate and engage in the practice.
  • Speed of play
  • Body shape when receiving a pass
  • Strength to hold off opponents
  • Work rate (physical and mental intensity).
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!