I’m going to start a little series with the main topic, the use and coaching of Rondos in training sessions. The focus here are the main tactical topics to coach with rondos. The rondos I will present here are just examples of how I use them in my training sessions.
Typical Rondo in german amateur clubs
Normally in Germany Rondos are just a warm-up exercise in a lot of sessions. The players should get a feel for the ball and mainly enjoy the play. That is why most rondos for warm up missing on any intensity and the players don’t really get better.
The basic rondo exercise is a 3vs1/4vs2 in a small quadrat. Most of the time with a maximum of 1 to 2 touches. The players on the outside try to keep possession and get as much passes as possible. The players on the inside try to intercept the combinations an therefore getting out of the middle. Often the defensive players in the middle don’t even need to intercept the ball, in warm-up it is enough to get a touch on the ball.
How to use Rondos purposeful
First of all we should take a look on the field size of our rondo. The main problem for some coaches is that the field is either to big or to small. On the one hand, If the field is to big the defensive players have to run a lot and the offensive players hat to much space and time on to ball so they are never really under pressure. On the other hand, if the field is to small, the passing gets to hard and you will not see any real combinations, also it is not important how the players in the middle positioned themselves in order to cover as much space as possible, because of the lack of space it is really easy to pressure the players on the ball and mistakes in positioning do not get any importance.
Furthermore to teach good defensive spacing it is necessary that the players in the middle really intercept the ball for becoming a offensive player.
The number of touches refer to the objectives of coaching. If you want to train a good movement without the ball, the number of touches should be limited on 1 or 2. With two touches you can force players to a technical and tactical good first touch. With only one touch per person, the players without the ball have to move a lot and the player who gets the ball needs to know exactly where here wants to pass the ball. If your players lack on technical ability you shouldn’t start with only one touch, because they need to put their whole concentration on the technical part, therefore they will not be able to make the right choices, and the rondo lose his tactical challenges.
If you want the progress the 1v1 ability in tight spaces you can say that every player needs to touch the ball three times before playing to an other player.
Offensive principals in Rondos
As i mentioned before the rondo drill improve the technical abilities under pressure, but also the positioning according to the ball. The offensive players have to move correctly to be free an a passing option. In order to create a good combination play they have to form triangles. But there are more principals you can coach in a rondo.
One example would be, how to depositioning the defenders and open space for a pass. The players in position need to play short passes and try to get the defenders out of position. In the moment one defender makes to preassure too fast he opens up space to play a pass between the lines. The timing of when to pass and when to hold the ball is here very important and can be taught perfectly in a rondo at the beginning.
Defensive principals in Rondos
The rondo isn’t just a exercise for improving your short pass play, you can also teach some defensive principals within. If you play a 4v2 the defenders normally will not get any chances to intercept the ball if they just run and try to tackle the ball carrier, because of the numerical superiority of the outside players, the defenders respective the players in the middle need to play with their head. First of all the defender needs to close one passing lane to force the outside players to play in the direction the defender wants. For this he has to attack the ball carrier with a diagonally run. The second defender is responsible for cover the space behind the attacking defender. He needs to intercept the passes which split the to defenders. This means the two defenders constantly need to position themselves on a diagonally line to secure each other. Of course in the end the defenders should try to isolate the ball carrier. Because of the 3v1 or 4v2 superiority the defenders have to watch the attacking team carefully, force them to play passes the defenders want, and in the end the defenders need to wait for mistakes, for example a bad control o a lack of movement by the outside players without the ball, to create pressure and intercept the ball.
Most importantly is that the defenders try to cover as much space as possible. Therefore they need to positioning themselves on a diagonally line. One defender tries to force the play in one direction and at the same time create pressure on the ball carrier, the other defenders needs to close the diagonally passing line for access at the other side. If they positioning themselves correctly and furthermore communicate clearly they can achieve a isolation of the ball carrier in the 4v2.
Set-up basic 3v1/4v2
The movements of the three outside player in the 3v1 rondo are pretty simple. Most important is that they always form a triangle and the passing line is always open. All in all this means, for supporting the ball carrier the players without the ball have to make horizontal runs therewith they can´t disappear in the cover shadow of the defender.
Normally the defender tries to make pressure on the ball carrier and simultaneously takes one passing option in the cover shadow, so the defender just needs to concentrate on one passing line which he can close easily if the passing angle is not correct. Usually the players don´t move to the right spot all the time, but for playing a short pass style you have to lose your markers and try to stay free, if not your team probably will lose the ball quickly.
This was my first article in englisch. I´m happy that you reat until the end. In the next weeks and months I will try to improve my language and writing style.
The next article will focus on some more complex principals and variations of rondos.
In this article I just want to quickly show you some principlas for using rondos and which principals you can teach the players in almost every age group. Most important create triangles and be free for a pass, and defensivly try to secure your team mate furthermore play defense with your head and try to force the offensive players passes you can intercept.