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Rondo Soccer Drills to Improve Your Team’s Passing Habits

We saw in our previous blog the enormous benefit to a team rondo soccer drills can bring.  This new form of training provides for situations that are directly transferable to the match situation, as can be seen by checking out the video clip below.

To recap briefly: a rondo is a fast paced, intensive drill.  It can be used for just about any aspect of soccer, from a safe but valuable warm up, through to the development of aerial dexterity and on to the sort of skillful short passing which leads to direct opportunities to score.

The key to a rondo is that it is a drill in which one side has an overload of players.  Thereby, the aim of the drill is usually successful – for example, keeping the ball to play out from a tight defensive situation, while those skills are developed in a realistic, competitive situation.  At the same time, team work is developed and players get to know each other’s game in more detail, and the ‘under-strength’ opponents develop mental resilience and teamwork in closing down as they try to battle against their stronger foes.

Soccer Passing – Team Play with Rondos in Soccer

What we are beginning to see through the use of rondos in training in the professional game is an increase in the number of team goals; that is what use of the rondo can bring to our U11 team, or Sunday mates side.  Have a look at this video clip.  In it, the English Premier League team Arsenal score a goal of sublime excellence against the strong and organized Leicester City.  The scorer is the fast paced striker Gabon Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, and the mercurial German midfielder Mesut Ozil demonstrates his astonishing touch and awareness, although it is the team play that makes the goal so special.  Wouldn’t we all like our teams to be able to put together plays like this?

To get our teams on the first steps to playing this kind of devastating soccer, here are five rondo drills we can use.

Rondo Soccer Training Drills

Rondo Soccer Training Drill 1 – Barcelona Basic – Piggy In the Middle

This rondo is an excellent warm up drill.  It helps muscles to get ready to perform in a low pressure but rapid playing environment.  It is a variant of the piggy in the middle game, and can be 3-1, 4-1 and so on.  The more able the players, the tighter the space.  The team in possession aim to keep the ball one and two touch passing, moving constantly to create space and angles.  The classic ‘triangle’ should always be maintained, with the player in the ball always having a choice of two passes (at least) to make.

rondo soccer drill

Rondo Soccer Training Drill 2 – Five v Two Passing with Rondos in Soccer

This drill improves tempo and team possession.  The passing is quick paced, and the aim is to keep the ball.  The defenders also learn to work together to close down space and anticipate the pass.  A 10 x 10m grid is required (this can be bigger for less experienced players).  The attacking team have a player on the outside of each edge of the grid, and their fifth player is in the middle.  The two defenders are also inside the grid.  The ball can be played between any two players in the attacking side.  Thus, players are constantly moving to create space, and developing their first touch to allow them to get their pass away before the opponents can cover that delivery.

Rondo Soccer Training Drill 3 – Transition with Rondos in Soccer

Here, an area around 40 yards x 35 yards is marked out – this is roughly the size of the pitch between the half way line and edge of the penalty area.  There are three teams of five; on our diagram these are the whites and blacks, who are in opposition, and the squares who are neutral and play for whichever team is in possession.  The ball must be passed quickly, and there is a ‘safe pass’ to the two centre backs or centre forward who are just outside the main playing area.  The defending side keep compact and try to anticipate the pass and intercept.  There is no tackling.

When possession is lost, the defending side quickly spread to create space for the pass whilst the team who have just lost the ball move rapidly into the defensive ‘tight’ shape.

rondo soccer drill

Rondo Soccer Training Drill 4 – Pressure Cooker

Here we have two even sides of between four to six players, and two ten yard or metre square grids.  Each side is in one grid.  Two players from the opposition can go into the other team’s grid and try to knock the ball out, or intercept a pass.  Once they succeed, possession changes to the other side.  The team with the ball attempt to complete as many passes as they can.  With less experienced players, the playing area can be made larger. This drill encourages a good first touch, and movement to create space for a pass in a tight area.

Rondo Soccer Training Drill 5 – Rondo Strike

This drill encourages strikers get in shots quickly and early.  There are two teams of three – a goalie and two attackers who are the only players who can score.  Then, two further neutral players are there to work with the team in possession as passers to create the shooting opportunities.  When not in possession, the strikers become defenders.  The drill is practiced with two goals – one on the half way line, and played within the width of the eighteen yard box.

Simply the goalkeeper rolls the ball out to a team mate; using the neutral players they attempt to get into a position to get a shot away.  They are not seeking the perfect goal, just to be in a position to shoot, which they then do.

rondo soccer drill

Note –  a ready supply of balls is needed for this drill!

Working on this rondo soccer training will improve our team’s speed, team work, soccer passing, confidence and reliability in possession and soccer awareness.  They will also help the defensive part of our game.  And, most importantly, they are great fun.



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