Soccer drills are often designed to focus on either improving offensive or defensive skills. Rarely does a drill focus on improving both skills at once. That isn’t so with Rondo drills.
Learn more about this valuable soccer drill and see why players of all ages and skill levels love Rondos.
Table of Contents
What is the Rondo Drill
While Rondos are considered a drill as it is used to improve specific skills, the use of the word “drill” is a bit deceptive. Rondos are structured more like a game.
With Rondos, two teams are formed: an offensive team and a defensive team. However, unlike when you usually play a game where the teams are even, Rondos have uneven teams. One team during a Rondo drill will always have more players than the other team.
For example, the teams could be 1v2, 1v3, 2v4, and so forth.
The basic idea behind Rondos is to play keep away from the opposing team. The ball is passed around from player to player on the same team. If a member of the other team gets the ball, the player who lost control of the ball switches position with the player who got the ball.
Benefits of Rondo Drills in Soccer
Players of all ages and skill levels benefit from Rondo drills. Some of the benefits of this soccer drill include:
- Improving players speed of play – players need to quickly think and pass the ball during Rondos or they lose possession of the ball. This is an essential skill to have during a match as players can react quickly to situations that arise.
- Improve on-field cognitive abilities – Rondos force you to have to quickly change and adapt to new situations. On match day, this skill helps players stay focused on gameplay while teaching them how to quickly assess situations and determine how best to overcome the challenges they face.
- Improves players’ footwork – players learn how to control and move the ball when faced with oncoming pressure from an opponent
- Teaches players to play in tight spaces – Rondos recreate matchday pressure. Over time, Rondos help players learn how to confidently make game day decisions when time and space is limited.
- Improves offensive and defensive skills – since players are constantly switching out and changing teams, it can help players develop both their offensive and defensive skills
How to Do a Basic Rondo Soccer Drill
It is essential that you learn how to do the basic Rondo soccer drill. Once you have perfected the basic drill, you can customize the drill a number of different ways to make it more challenging.
To perform the basic Rondo soccer drill, do the following:
- Create a small area of play – the size will depend upon the skill level of the players. Larger areas of play are better for beginner players while smaller areas of play bring added challenges that are helpful to more advanced players.
- Area of play should be shaped like a rectangle with all sides being even – for example, 5×5 or 10×10
- Mark off the area of play – you can use cones or other objects to mark the corners of the play area
- Create teams – the simplest formation for the basic Rondo skill is having a team of 4 players who are tasked with possessing the ball and 1 defending player
- Place the offensive players on the edges of the field of play
- Place the defender in the middle of the area of play
- Start by giving possession of the ball to the possessing team
- Encourage the possessing team to kick and pass the ball to each other without crossing into the area of play
- Player inside the area of play, the defender, is tasked with trying to gain possession of the ball
- Encourage the defender inside the area of play to quickly switch positions and try to gain possession of the ball a number of different ways such as by blocking from a distance or challenging the passer by standing closer to them
- When defender gains possession of the ball, have them quickly switch positions with the player who last touched the ball and “lost” possession of it
- Play continues with players switching positions each time they gain or lose possession of the ball
Variations of the Rondo Soccer Drill
There are dozens of different ways you can change the basic Rondo soccer drill to make it more challenging. Some of the things you can change that will make it more challenging include:
- Changing the size of the area of play – smaller areas of play require players to make faster decisions while larger areas of play provide players with time to think about what to do with the ball
- Switch teams when a certain number of passes has been met – choose a number, for example 5, for the number of passes that the team will have to do. Once 5 passes are completed, members will have to quickly switch out teams. This is a great variation for when both sides have multiple players such as 3v5 or 2v4
- Keep score – similar to switching sides when a number of passes has been met, this variation keeps score. If the possessing team is able to successfully pass to each other a certain amount of time without the defenders gaining possession of the ball, they get a point. However, if the defenders gain possession of the ball before they reach that number they get a point.
- Limit the number of touches a player can have on the ball – require players to only touch the ball once or twice before having to pass it to another member of the team
Examples of Rondo Variations
Thinking of adding Rondos to your team’s practice? Consider trying these fun variations on the Rondo soccer drill.
Paired Rondo in a Circle
- Create two teams – an offensive team with even number of players and a defending team with two players
- Pair up the members of the offensive team – it is recommended you have the pairs wear something of the same color to define their team.
- Spread the offensive team out into a circle
- Require that paired players of the offensive team cannot stand next to each other
- Place the defenders in the middle of the circle and give them the task of trying to gain possession of the ball
- Offensive team players will be given the task of passing the ball back and forth to each other. With one rule: they cannot pass the ball to their paired player. They have to pass it to another player on the opposing team.
- Two options for continual play: give the offensive team a point if they can successfully complete a certain number of passes without the defenders gaining possession of the ball or have the defender who gains possession of the ball switch positions with the player who just lost the ball
Two Ball Rondo Soccer Drill
- Create a circle with all players spread out
- Choose one player to be in the middle and be the defender. The defender’s goal is to gain possession of the ball
- Players on the outside of the circle are the offensive team. They will use one ball to pass it to each other while the other ball will be thrown. Players will have to remain alert and paying attention as they are having to pass and throw the ball.
- Set a penalty for if the ball is dropped when being thrown. For example, running 1 lap around the circle or doing two push ups.
- Players switch out if the defender gains possession of the ball that is being passed
Spaced Out Grid Rondo Drill
- Create a grid of squares on the field. Make sure each square is equal size.
- Create two teams – offensive players and defensive players
- Place 1 offensive player in each grid
- Offensive players have to pass to each other without leaving their grid
- Defensive players (usually in groups of 3 or 4) will challenge the offensive players to try and gain possession of the ball
- If a defender gains possession of the ball, then the offensive player in that grid tries to win the ball back
Rondos are a fun soccer drill that teaches valuable skills that will help improve your game day performance. Start incorporating this soccer drill into your practices and you will discover that you are able to make quick decisions when faced with pressure from an opposing team.