Field Setup: Designate a square playing area suitable for a small group. This is the central zone in which the defender will operate. Mark out clear boundaries for this square. Assign each of the four players to one side of the square where they are allowed to move laterally along their assigned side but not enter the square. 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.
Teams: Form groups of five players, with four players working as a team to keep possession and one player acting as a defender. The defender is restricted to the square, while the four players are limited to their designated side.
Activity: The four players on the outside attempt to maintain possession by passing the ball around and across the square, avoiding the central defender. The defender’s goal is to intercept or block a pass. If the defender succeeds, the player who made the last pass becomes the new defender. The primary objective is for players to receive the ball with an open body stance and using the foot furthest from the incoming ball.
The drill focuses on players receiving the ball across their body using the far foot. This technique is crucial as it prepares players to take their next action—whether a pass, dribble, or shot—more efficiently. Receiving across the body also positions the player to have a wider field of vision, allowing them to see more of the field and make better decisions.
Players are encouraged to maintain an open body position throughout the drill. This means they should be positioned to face the center of the square, allowing them to constantly survey the entire play area. An open stance is vital for spatial awareness, enabling players to receive the ball in a way that they can immediately transition into attack or protect the ball from the defender.
Instruct players on the importance of receiving the ball with the foot farthest from the ball, which naturally opens their hips to the field, allowing for a broader range of subsequent actions. This technique also helps in protecting the ball and preparing for the next play more efficiently.
Emphasize the need for players to keep an open body position at all times. They should orient their bodies to face the center of the square, which enables them to see as much of the field as possible, including the defender’s position and the movement of their teammates.
Teach players to constantly adjust their positioning to create optimal angles for receiving passes. Encourage them to move toward the corners of their side of the square rather than staying central. This opens up passing lanes and makes it more difficult for the defender to predict and intercept passes.
Coach players to move the ball quickly to unsettle the defender and exploit open spaces, particularly by passing away from the defender’s direction. They should be adept at judging the defender’s position and momentum, using this awareness to guide the ball to areas the defender has left exposed. This skill requires players to not only be quick but also precise, ensuring they maintain possession while dictating the pace of the game.
Variations & Progressions
Make the rondo a little bigger to make it easier for the players on the outsode of the rondo or make it much smaller to make it more difficult for them
Ask players to play a one touch pass whenever they can, this will force them to have to think ahead, be ready and have good body position so they can play the ball where they want to