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Partners Defending Rondo


Field Setup Set up a playing area in a shape that suits your preference—a rectangle, square, or circle. Ensure the size is appropriate for the age and physical ability of your players, with flexibility to adjust if the activity seems too difficult or too easy for the defenders.

Teams Group players into pairs. To start, one pair is assigned as the defenders inside the playing grid. The remaining players disperse around the perimeter of the grid, each with their respective partners.

Activity Players on the perimeter work to keep possession by passing the ball around, attempting to evade the two central defenders. If a defender intercepts or blocks the ball, the defensive pair rotates out, and the pair responsible for the turnover steps in to defend.

Coaching Principles

The main focus for the two defenders is the application of pressing and covering defense. The nearest defender to the ball must apply pressure to the ball carrier while the second defender remains close to provide cover, avoiding any large gaps that can be exploited by the attackers.

Coaching Points

The nearest defender to the ball should initiate the pressure, aiming to limit the ball carrier’s options and force a mistake.

The pressing defender should approach the ball carrier in such a way as to cut off one direction of play, channeling the ball into a predictable path.

The second defender, positioned around 3 yards behind the first, needs to anticipate the direction of the next pass and position themselves accordingly, ready to intercept or continue the pressure if the ball is played.

Variations & Progressions

Alter the size of the playing grid to increase or decrease the difficulty. A smaller area will make it more challenging for the attackers, while a larger area will test the defenders’ ability to cover ground.