Skip to content

4v1 Rondo Dribbling Defender

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.


Start with a simple square have one player position themselves on one side of the square. 

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 defender starts in the middle of the square and has a ball. 

The defender must try and block or intercept the passes while they dribble their ball around, this is done so as to make it easier for the players making the passes to have initial success.  Also by doing this the defender is getting some valuable practice with dribbling and changes of direction, they will also have to get their head up to see where the ball is and where they need to dribble to block a pass.



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.
  • The next progression of this activity is to stop requiring the defender to have to dribble their ball whilst blocking and intercepting passes.
  • 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

  • Try to pass the ball to the most open player who is furthest from the defender.
  • If one of your team mates is open try and get them the ball quickly before the defender gets in the way
  • Receive the ball across your body with the back when receiving the ball from an angle.
  • 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.

Coaching Questions

Q. Who should you pass to?

A. The player who is farthest away from the defender or the player who the defender is not in the way of.

Q. When should you pass the ball?

A. As soon as you can see one of your team mates is not being blocked by the dribbling defender pass the ball to them, don’t wait, just do it!

Q. If the defender is in your way what should you do?

A. Don’t pass the ball. Move the ball or dribble the ball so you can make a pass.


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.