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4v1 Rondo

Set Up

Size of your square is key. For beginners you want to make the square large enough to give the players some time and space to have success, you want to be careful not to make the square too big that they players are struggling with making a long pass across the Rondo.
If you want to make the Rondo more challenging for your advanced players simply make it smaller, sometimes we will even go down to a few yards so the players really have to have better control and quicker ball movement.


Start with a simple small square each player positions themselves on one side of the square. You need to consider the size of your square in relation to the players ability and also what objective you want from the activity.

The four players on the sides of the square must keep the ball away from the one defender in the middle of the square. The four players on the sides of the square can move up and down their side of the square and should look to move to become open for their team mate who has the ball. 

The player that loses possession of the ball switches and becomes the defender.

The main problem you will face with your beginner players is there will be a lack of movement from the players on the sides of the square and they will be fairly static, this makes it easier for the defender and gives the player on the ball less options.



This is an introductory Rondo exercise which you can use for players of all abilities. There are not too many variations at this stage of the activity however you can use some of the following ideas to make this activity more varied.
  • Make playing grid much smaller to force quicker movement of the ball and more disguising of passes. 
  • Ask players to play one touch passes when they can and use two touches when necessary.
  • Add a time limit to make as many passes as possible, this can help speed up the movement of the ball in the Rondo
  • Give every player a turn as the defender see which player can intercept the ball in the fewest number of passes.

Coaching Points

Coaching Points

  • Receive the ball across your body with the back when receiving the ball from an angle.
  • Try to pass the ball to the most open player who is furthest from the defender.
  • Invite the pressure by holding the ball or playing a short pass and asking for the ball back.
  • Always be ready for the ball as you never know when you will receive it.
  • Disguise your passes to trick the defender.
  • Players without the ball should be moving up and down their side of the square to make themselves open for the player with the ball.
  • At the initial stage focus on getting the players to receive/control the ball with the back foot. Give them positive reinforcement every time they receive with the correct foot.

Coaching Questions

Q. Which way should you try and face?

A. Always face into the Rondo so you can see everything. You should face the player who is on the opposite side of the square to you even when you are receiving a pass from a player either side of you.

Q. Which foot should you receive the ball with?

A. If the ball is played to you from one of the players to either side of you we want to receive the ball with the foot that is furthest away from the player passing to you. This is what we call the “Back Foot or the Furthest Foot”



When you start to introduce the Rondo you will have players that do not have the technical ability to make accurate passes. Don’t fall into the trap of abandoning the Rondo because “They Can’t Do It” It’s not supposed to look like Barcelona use the Rondo as a teaching tool to develop players passing ability.

  • Adjust the size of your square, make it smaller so the passes are shorter.
  • Have balls ready to play in to get the exercise going again quickly
  • Encourage them. Set a goal can you make two passes? Great can you make 3 passes now?
  • Give them quick technical pointers on passing the ball.
  • Maybe get them to use the sole of the foot to control the ball.