Skip to content

4v1+1 To Rondo

Coaching Principles

The main coaching objective of this activity is for the players to learn how and where to give support to the player on the ball. You want to focus on coaching the players off the ball to get into positions where the player on the ball can pass to them. Focus on when and where to move and the angle of support to make the pass easier.


The four players on the outside of the square aim to maintain possession of the ball. The lone defender tries to intercept the ball. The +1 player assists the team in possession, effectively creating a 5v1 scenario.

The players on the outside (and the +1 player) aim to complete a certain number of passes (e.g., 5 consecutive passes) while avoiding the defender. If the defender intercepts the ball or forces it out of play, they swap roles with the player who lost possession. The neutral player always supports the team in possession, adding an element of numerical superiority.

Size of your playing area 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. You will want to make your square bigger than you would for just a 4v1 rondo so that there is more room for the 1v1 in the middle. You want to encourage the 1v1 and the players on the perimeter combining with the player in the middle.

Variations & Progressions

Add a rule that the players on the outside of the rondo must make a pass into the player in the middle at least every third pass. We want the player in the middle to be involved in the activity and looking to get open and receive the ball.

Add a rule where the players on the outside of the rondo can not pass to each other they must find a pass into the player in the middle and they can then pass the ball out.  The player in the middle can only pass back to the player that passed them the ball once before they have to pass to a new player on the outside of the rondo

Coaching Points

Movement and Positioning: Teach players to constantly adjust their positions relative to the ball, their teammates, and the defender. Encourage dynamic movement off the ball to create passing angles and options. Players should learn to recognize when to stay wide to stretch the defense and when to come closer to support the player with the ball. This constant adjustment of positioning is crucial for maintaining possession and creating space.

Speed of Play and Transition: Emphasize the importance of quick decision-making and rapid execution. Players should learn to anticipate the play and think one or two steps ahead. This includes quick transitions between offense and defense when the ball is lost or won. The ability to switch quickly from defending to attacking (and vice versa) is critical in real-game scenarios, and the Rondo exercise is an excellent way to develop this skill.

The Neutral: The key tactical coaching point for the +1 or neutral player in a 4v1+1 Rondo is to emphasize spatial awareness and intelligent positioning. This player should consistently find pockets of space where they can receive the ball with minimal pressure, facilitating fluid play. They need to position themselves strategically to offer clear passing options.

Passing Accuracy and Weight: Stress the need for precise and well-weighted passes. Players should aim to deliver the ball directly to their teammate’s feet with enough pace to evade the defender, but not so much that it becomes difficult to control. This includes teaching players to recognize when to use a firm pass versus a softer touch, based on the distance and the positioning of the teammates and the defender.

Body Orientation and Awareness: Coach players to be constantly aware of their surroundings. This includes checking their shoulder before receiving the ball to gain awareness of the defender’s position, the position of teammates, and available space. Their body should be oriented in such a way that allows them to see as much of the field as possible, facilitating quicker and smarter decision-making. This positioning also helps in receiving the ball in a stance that is ready to pass, dribble, or shield effectively.