Rondos - An Introduction

A rondo is a possession game where one group of players has the ball while in numerical superiority over another group of players. The basic objective of  the players with the ball is to keep possession of it while the objective of the players chasing the ball is to win the ball back as quick as possible (credit

A rondo is played in a restricted space, so the players have to make quick decisions with regard to their next pass whilst under pressure from defenders. How much pressure can be manipulated by the coach by changing numbers, space and rules depending on your players' age and ability.

Why Rondos?

Some of the key things rondos give your players or allow them to work on are:

  • Lots of touches
  • Movement off the ball
  • Awareness
  • Speed of play
  • Communication
  • Passing
  • First touch / receiving
  • Decision making
  • Defensive positioning
  • Teamwork
  • Transition between in / out of possession

Check out the section on the game relevance of rondos to see how the situations rondos put your players in might translate into a match.

Key Coaching Points / Challenges

For the players with the ball:

  • Can you try to receive the ball across your body onto your opposite foot?
  • Can you move into a space to support the player with the ball and be a passing option?
  • Passing accuracy / weight
  • Communication between players (tell the player with the ball what to do with it)
  • Speed of play... can you play quickly? (dependent on age / ability)

For the "defenders":

  • Can you use your body shape and positioning to make the player pass it where you want them to?
  • Speed of movement to close down the options
  • When to try and win the ball (if the opponent takes a poor touch for example) and when to stand off and not dive in.
  • With more than one defender, communication and decision making on who presses the ball and who covers (don't get split!)

Make It Fun

Repetition of these exercises is key to having your players improve, but repetition of something can get dull.

An element of competition can be added if required to make it more fun, either between the players in one rondo or two groups of players doing the same rondo at the same time. Some ideas...

  • Have 2 groups running at the same time. The most completed passes in a row in 3 minutes wins. Reset to zero if the ball goes out or the defender(s) win it. Winning team wins that round. Best of 3 rounds.
  • Every time a mistake is made or the defender wins the ball, have the defender switch with the player who made the mistake.
  • I used to tell the players that if they completed a certain number of passes either I or one of the other coaches would have to do a number of press ups. They loved racking up the points and then watching me struggle to manage 50 press ups at the end! I stopped that when they got so good I was in danger of having to do hundreds of press ups each session.
  • Give the defender(s) challenges to keep it fun. When I run a rondo with 2 defenders they are given the challenge never to get "split" (ie have a ball played between them). It gets them thinking about their positioning too.