For club players and coaches, rondos are nothing new under the sun. For those who are new to coaching, playing or parenting rondos is something you want to know. In short, I would say it’s basically a fancy way of playing ‘monkey in the middle’. The best teams in the world do ‘rondos’ every week. It’s a great way to build your passing skills so that you can pass the ball accurately under pressure. Learn below 5 reasons rondos will help you apply the skill on game day and ways you can use them in training.
You become good at what you practice
There’s an old saying ‘practice makes perfect’. Nowadays you hear people say ‘practice makes progress’. Either way, the more you do something the better you get.
Passing and first touch are two of the most important things in futbol. Dealing with these skill while under pressure makes it even harder. Pressure involves your feelings. When players feel nervous they don’t perform as well. This is why putting players in game like situations is important for development.
Rondos allow coaches to keep the players moving. Once the defense wins the ball or kicks it out, coach has a pile of balls to restart and keep training active.
Rondos help build confidence in players passing game
I remember the first time I went from college to the pros. I was in Florida with Kansas City in the MLS. The hardest part to get used to was the speed of play. Simple 1 touch passing. The thing is simple doesn’t mean easy for most players. It might look easy, but if it were there would be more than 1% of college players going pro.
Once a player is put in the right environment they start to progress and build confidence, skill and knowledge. Rondos are great for not only helping your own skill, but also learning how to play with your teammates. You learn which players are more creative and which ones play the obvious pass.
Increases your vision off the ball
Since rondos are often times in a small space, there is not much running going on. This gives the players time to use their vision. What you need to be looking for is the balance. Where are the defenders and where are your teammates… Some players might look where there teammates are, but others could be looking for the defenders are. If you see 3-4 defenders in one area, it’s probably best to pass the ball somewhere else. The best players are looking for both.
Rondos can teach defensive strategy
Defense wins games, or at least that’s what they say right. To be a good defensive team, of course you have to have good defenders physically. Communication is also a vital piece to the puzzle when defending. Rondos allow the defenders to tell eachother when to step and which direction.
The defender who is furthest from the ball should be the one talking most. This is the one who should be directing the other to step left or right. After being put in these situations enough, it becomes second nature and you read each moment, knowing when and where to step or cover. Once players learn to do this, you’re one big step ahead of your competition.
Learning that the smallest movements off the ball help
Depending on the numbers you’re using, players learn that moving 1-2 yards helps in a BIG way.
Notice the next time you watch a professional game how none of the players are standing still. When in possession, you’ll see a few players running fast, 40% jogging and the other 40% are walking. The reason players are walking is because they are already in a good position, but continue to move in better positions as the ball moves.
Different ways to use rondos in training
Whether it’s a 10v2, 7v3, 5v2, 3v1 or something like a 4v2+1 or 4v4+3, which ends up 7v4 as the +3 are always on offense. Depending on the level of players you can have a 25×25, 20×10, 15×10 yard space. It all depends on the players skill or the number of players. If the players currently have lower skill level, put them in a larger grid. A grid with more space will allow the players with the ball to have more success. You want your players to gain confidence with the ball, passing and receiving. This will translate into the game.
Pro teams usually do rondos in the first part of training and on game day. Here’s a video of German club Dortmund doing a full warm up before the match.
Practice plans for soccer/football
In training, get them warmed up, do rondos and then get a small sided game of possession or scrimmage. There needs to be a progression where the players end up playing in the most game like setting.
- Warm up and technical training or rondos
- Tactical teaching, set pieces, crossing and finishing
- Small sided games or scrimmage