HAVE FUN WITH RONDO
Rondos form the basis of FC Barcelona’s youth program. Often they use the simple form in which if the passer is responsible for losing possession of the ball he must exchange places with a defender in the middle.
The exercise is seemingly simple but has a lot of benefits and actually can become a staple in training for soccer teams of all ages.
Every coach should work on this exercise because the creativity and accuracy that can be achieved with passing is truly remarkable.
I personally have it done in the activation phase of training sessions by always inserting a condition that if the players in the outer circle reach a certain number of passes the defenders (the players in the middle) do some bending.
But if the defenders steal the ball or interrupt the pass before the circle reaches that number, every player in the circle has to perform the same number of push-ups indicated before.
It is an exercise that leads to refining the techniques of receiving and passing the ball under pressure brought by an active opponent.
So the goal is for players in the circle to pass the ball and keep it away from the defender(s) for as long as possible.
Many possible variations
However, several variations can be included such as having the boys in the outer circle hold geometric figures useful for game developments (triangle, square, rhombus, etc…) so as to develop particular tactical goals as well.
All these variables can be adjusted according to the number of players involved, skill level, age, physical fitness, etc.,
Rounds also encourage a key aspect of youth soccer and that is creativity. The pressure exerted by defenders forces players to think with their feet and find innovative ways to pass the ball.
Use both feet and various parts of the foot to make passes or receptions, use feints before passes, manipulate defenders with body position or look (no look) before executing passes, etc.
This creative type is essential for players of all ages and skill levels. If the rondo becomes too basic for the players in the circle you can add additional defenders, reduce the number of offensive players and/or reduce the diameters of the playing area, etc.
Most importantly, the rondo exercise always turns out to be fun especially because the kids adapt quickly without much explanation and the coaches do not have to meddle in the exercise leaving the kids free to self-regulate.
Some fun variations with varying objectives:
The red team must make at least 5 passes in a 4-on-2 rondo before they can go to attack the goal in the other half of the field.
The two outside teams must keep possession of the ball by passing the ball through the center strip defended by the other team. if either outside team misses it takes the place of the team in the center lane.
More articles on rondo
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