4v4v4+2 Rondo

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

This is a great rondo for a large number of players and for practising a quick transition between being in and out of possession. The setup can be adapted slightly if you have less / more players. Change the size of teams, number of neutral players or size of area. If you have an odd number of players in a team then instead of having the team providing the "bounce" players locked in the corners, one or more of them can operate on an edge as a mobile bounce player. This practice can easily become 3v3v3+1 or 5v5v5+2 or so on.

  • 22 x 14 yard rectangle with a triangle of cones in each corner (size of area to change depending on age / ability of players).
  • 3 x teams of 4 players in different coloured bibs (whites vs pinks vs yellows below) plus two neutral players in a fourth colour of bib.
  • In the middle of the rectangle we play 4v4 (whites vs yellow) plus the two neutral players (blue, below), who play for the team in possession, creating a 6v4 in the middle.
  • The other team of 4 players (pinks) position themselves in the corners, so each corner has a player in. They also play for the team in possession.
  • Coach with several footballs to the side

Basic Rules:

  • The two teams of 4 in the middle try to keep possession for as long as possible.
  • The two neutral players plays for the team in possession.
  • The 4 corner players also play for the team in possession, so we have a 10v4 in essence.
  • Corner players must stay in their corners, which are safe zones where they cannot be directly tackled. Central players can move around the rectangle and can be tackled.
  • Corner players can pass to each other and to neutral players (adapt if it becomes too easy for one team to keep possession).
  • 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 the team in the corners with one of the teams in the middle.
  • Count total number of consecutive successful passes - the team with the most in 2 minutes are the winners. Reset to zero if the ball goes out or possession is lost.
Progressions / Variations:
  • Change corner players to be edge players who can move up and down a particular side.
  • Scoring can either be total consecutive passes or a point for a certain number of successful consecutive passes (i.e 8 passes = 1 point).
  • Allow / disallow passes directly between the 4 corner players.
  • Limit number of touches for the players.
  • With odd numbers, adapt the number of neutral players or team sizes. E.g - 10 players, play 3v3v3+1 with 2 corners and one edge for the team sitting out to occupy. 11 players, 3v3v3+2 and so on...
  • Allow a goalkeeper to catch the ball / roll it back to a teammate.

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • "Passing empathy" - direction and weight of pass
  • First touch - direction, cushioning, onto back foot
  • Spacing of players (don't bunch up in possession)
  • Speed of play (play in one or two touch with pace)
  • Movement off the ball / finding a space to receive a pass.
  • Choice of pass (long between corner players, short, bounce pass / layoff etc.)
  • Defensive shape, organisation and energy (one presses ball, others cover and block passing options)
  • Transition from in possession to out of possession (and vice versa) - quick, "switch on" to the change of role. Can we go from width and depth in possession to being compact out of possession.
  • Communication (tell the player on the ball what to do with it)
  • Thinking ahead and 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 / overall role constantly changing between in / out of possession / neutral players adapting to new teammates constantly
  • Mental intensity - really concentrate and engage in the practice.
  • Awareness of where the players around you are ("checking your mirrors" by having a glance over your shoulder)
  • Speed of play
  • Body shape when receiving a pass
  • Strength to hold off defenders
  • Work hard - you get a rest when your team is in the corners. The rest of the time we want to see intensity (physical and mental intensity).
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!