4v4+1 Rondo

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U9 to U17+
  • Time: 20 minutes

This possession game involves 9 players and is a great warm up activity. Some may argue it's not technically a "rondo", as the team sizes are equal, but because you have a neutral player, there is always an overload for the team in possession. Because 4 players get to rest in the corners at any one time (they are still involved, but just don't have to move much), you can ask your players for 2 or 3 minutes of real intensity before they switch out and get a rest.

  • 14 x 14 yard square with a triangle of cones in each corner (size to change depending on age / ability of players).
  • 2 x teams of 4 players in different coloured bibs (whites vs pinks below) plus one neutral player in a third colour of bib.
  • In the middle of the square we play 2v2 plus the neutral player
  • The other 2 players from each team position themselves in diagonally opposite corners to each other, so each corner has a player in.
  • Coach with several footballs to the side

Basic Rules:

  • Each team of 4 tries to keep possession for as long as possible.
  • Neutral player plays for the team in possession.
  • Corner players must stay in their corners, which are safe zones where they cannot be directly tackled. Central players can move around the square and can be tackled.
  • If the opposition win possession back, they become the possession team and the other team become the defensive team.
  • If the ball goes out, the coach sends a new one in, giving possession to whichever team didn't make the mistake and play starts again.
  • Play for a set time (2 minutes) and then switch each team's 2 corner players with their central teammates.
Progressions / Variations:
  • Corner players must play in one touch.
  • Alter the number of passes required to score a point.
  • Allow / disallow passes directly between the 2 corner players.
  • Limit number of touches for central players.

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 - direction, cushioning
  • Speed of play (play in one or two touch with pace)
  • Movement off the ball / finding a space to receive a pass.
  • Defensive shape (one presses ball, one covers - don't get split!!!)
  • Choice of pass (long between corner players, short, bounce pass / layoff etc.)
  • Using the neutral player should always create an overload in possession if movement and communication is good.
  • 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 when receiving a pass
  • Strength to hold off defenders
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!