The Rondos

The rondos, in my opinion, are a great game to use as a part of the football warm-up. It’s a passing practice where players in a circle try to achieve as many passes as possible without being intercepted by the defenders in the center of the circle. There should be a big overload (4v1, 5v1, 6v2, 7v2, and so on) to allow a great number of correct passes.

In the most basic rondos, the players won’t move much. They’ll stand, wait for the pass and run as little as possible, keeping the shape of the circle most of the time. I like to allow only 1 touch, aiming to improving quick scanning and decision-making, but depending on the objective it can vary.

Rules that I like to use:
– After a certain number of passes, the player(s) in the center will have to steal the ball twice and so on.
– In case there are 2 or 3 defenders, a through ball worths more “points”
– Ball in between the legs: repeat (players love it)
– 1 Touch

Coaching Points:
– Body Position is vital: try to keep the body facing the circle at all times
– Scanning: Always scanning for options, when off-ball
– Decide in advance where the pass is going

Advantages:
– It helps the development of very important attributes such as speed of thought, quality of pass and scanning
– It can be tweaked in many ways to change objectives and\or increase difficulty (number of players, number of defenders, area size, number of touches, tasks after every touch, and so on)
– It has relatively low intensity, but requires great concentration, making it ideal for warm-ups
– It fits the playing style that I consider the best. Possession-based teams need the attributes developed by rondos.
– Usually the players love it, provided you can instill a competitiveness to it

Disadvantages:
– If not well-driven, it can become boring. It’s highly dependend on the coach’s ability to motivate.
– One might argue that it doesn’t exactly simulate a football game, but not all-activities will, and it doesn’t mean it won’t develop football skills. In any case, in some variations a goal can be added so after a number of passes there can be a shot.

Here’s one example of Rondos at Guardiola’s Bayern Munich’s session:

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