The man generally credited with Rondo Soccer and with being the world’s top soccer coach at the present time is the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, and current Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola. Of course, at every point in the history of the game there has been one coach who is considered, by those objective enough to offer an unbiased opinion, to be the top dog.
We can consider the wingless wonders of Sir Alf Ramsey’s World Cup Winning England side – the idea of playing without wingers did, of course, lead to midfield dominance and hence victory. More recently, Arsene Wenger introduced stretching and dietary considerations which enabled his teams to perform at a higher level; Sir Alex Ferguson took motivation to an unimagined level; Jose Mourinho brought about organization which made his teams, across Europe, very tough to break down.
Rondo Soccer Master – Guardiola
Pep Guardiola’s contribution to our understanding of soccer is perhaps summed up by the Rondo. This is a way of playing; from youth soccer through to first team; from practice to delivery on the pitch, which increases player skills in a semi match situation.
As a result of the Rondo touch, passing, movement, communication and reading of the game (plus interception skills) all improve. The results can be best seen in Guardiola’s teams, which have been universally successful during his decade as a coach.
Fundamentally, a rondo is a drill in which numbers are heavily weighted in favour of one team over another. Our application of rondos within our own team coaching structures might not turn our Sunday league side into Barcelona, but we will see improvements in our players technique, their tactics, their physical condition and their psychological state. Rondos will help our players to develop knowledge of each other’s game and improve bonds between them.
What is a Rondo in Soccer?
Rondo Soccer Definition
The great innovation about the rondo soccer drill is that it is a drill which allows some competition to make the activity realistic, but not so much that skills and techniques are restricted in their development. At the same time, the players on the ‘opposing’ side are constantly outnumbered, which helps them to develop the interception skills crucial to transition, the most important part of the modern game.
Rondo Training Sessions are about keeping possession, and teams that have most possession are the ones that are most likely to win. Admittedly, teams of lesser technical ability have sought ways of overcoming passion football – nowadays teams with less than 45% of the ball in the game win around 35% of their matches. But still, the rule is that more possession leads, over the course of the season, to more points. Effective use of rondo soccer variation in training will help to guarantee that possession.
In our next blog, we will look at the practical application of rondo soccer drills in training; here we look at some of the theory behind their use.
Intensity of Rondo Soccer Drills and Variations
Rondo Soccer Drills are fast action drills, ones in which both the ball and the players move with speed and purpose. Perhaps as important as the physical intensity, which of course has the added benefit of promoting fitness, is the psychological benefit. Rondo Training sessions require fast and intense thinking, as players seek to make the best decisions, and get themselves into the correct angles for passing, receiving and intercepting the ball.
A rondo soccer drill also creates the opportunity for players to practise thinking ahead, thus allowing more team mates to ‘see the picture’. And, because rondos are about players working in close proximity, the likelihood that the picture is commonly shared increases.
The Benefits of Rondos in Youth Soccer
Actually, the huge benefit here is as applicable to adult football – Saturday morning in the park right the way up to top level professional play – as it is to youth footballers. Because, rondo drills are fun. They develop team spirit. There is the collective satisfaction of, say, completing twenty successful passes. Players clap and encourage each other – they enjoy their game. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. Definitely for younger players, but also for older ones.
Strength in Adversity
As well as the players in possession, there are the players seeking to regain it. The strength in adversity developed during a practice where victory is highly unlikely (a 2 v 6 drill for example). This is transferable to the match situation. For example, when a bounce, a piece of luck or a poor refereeing decision goes against a player. They are then more able to cope with this without it impacting on their overall game.
We will end with this vital aspect of the rondos in soccer, because concentration in soccer is so crucial. Turning off for just a moment can cost a goal, cost a victory, cause a defeat. Because Rondos are intense and fast paced, players develop the ability to concentrate more fully and for longer periods.
Check out the former English Premier League champions undertaking a short rondo:
To learn more about specific rondo drills, check out our blog post on rondo soccer drills here.
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