Characteristics and variations of the rondo

Many coaches, such as Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola, use rondos in the first part of their training sessions. Rondos vary from 3v1 in a triangle, 6v2 in a rectangle and 15v3 in the centre circle. What characterizes a rondo and what variations are possible?


A rondo is a type of training drill where one team tries to keep possession, where one or more defenders try to win the ball. 

Opposed to other drills, there’s a huge overload for the attacking team, there’s no direction and the pitch size is usually small. 

Typically, defenders start in the middle of a rondo with the players who try to keep possession on the outside. 

Drills such as 5v5 + 2 are best described as position games or possession games, because the defending team doesn’t have to deal with a big underload of players and players do not switch teams after possession is lost or won. 

There are many different variations to use in a rondo.

Scoring points

When completed a certain task so, the attackers earn a point or the defenders stay in the middle an extra time. This can be done by …

  • playing ten (or any other number) successful consecutive passes. 
  • keeping possession for fifteen seconds (or another period).
  • touching the ball at least once with every player.
  • passing the ball in between the defending players.

Additional tasks

After every pass, a player …

  • moves towards the position of the player he passed the ball to.
  • moves around a cone located outside of the rondo pitch.
  • must perform five sit-ups or three push-ups.


Players are not allowed to …

  • pass the ball to the player next to them.
  • pass the ball to the player they received it from.
  • take more than 1 or 2 touches.
  • pass the ball with their preferred foot.

Other variations

More options to vary in rondos are …

  • playing with two balls to develop better scanning.
  • Obliging players to hold each other’s hands (used as a fun game).
  • Play with a middle section with an attacker.

More variations

By clicking on the image below, you’ll find rondo variations from Bayern München, Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, Villarreal (2) and Everton. 

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