Week of June 8



We're getting closer to being able to train.  Here's some great information regarding the use of Rondos.

Introduction: Small Sided Possession Games, Rondos, Position Games definitions

A small-sided game is a technical exercise performed in the form of a game. The coach, thinking about the goals of the exercise of the training session, shapes and conducts the game based on the number of the available players and of spaces. Small-sided games come from all those games where the number of players, the rules, and the playing spaces must be adapted to perform a match between two teams.

These kinds of exercises are useful to improve players’ technical skills and physical conditioning, as the level of effort for the players is very close to 11 v 11 games. Lastly, small-sided games help to motivate those players who isolate themselves and their game vision.

Generally, 4 v 4 and 7 v 7 require the same efforts of 11 v 11 games; 2 v 2 and 5 v 5 are even harder for the players. But, as we found out, there are some important key factors that are responsible for the high intensity performance of a player who is involved in a small-sided game:


Surely, the sizes of the pitches and the number of players are the key factors producing a high intensity small-sided game. This following table is the most common connection between these key factors:


Small-sided games are reduced versions of soccer games, if we consider it as a sequence of duels with a small number of players. They are limited-the players just work on possession or non-possession phases of play without specific tactical requirements and the transition phases are not coached properly, as they are only a succession of the moves with the ball and without the ball. Just the space concept seems to be a real key point in these exercises.

The tasks of the players need to be specified inside the game and patterns of play need to be created during the game to shape exchanges of positions and rotations of players that they should repeat on the field during the matches. This way, small sided games introduce the timing of play, the numerical advantage, and the outnumbered situations concepts.

There are two fundamental parameters in a soccer game: space and time. The space that the players are given in each situation of the game and the time that they have to fix the issue of the same situation, both from individual and team tactics point of view. The space and the time, while being in possession, and the recovery of the ball, while defending, need to be understood and exploited before the opponents.

During a soccer match there are a lot of “questions” a player must answer quickly (time) and they are related to the measures of the space of play; the ball, the teammates and the opponents give these answers. This relationship of space and time must be coached; they aren’t just using simple small-sided games.

Rondos are training games with the numerical advantage for the possession players or team and they are played inside small-sided spaces, usually squares, rectangular or circle shaped spaces.

The main objectives are to keep the ball first of all and then to keep it away from the defenders, playing possession combinations at a high rhythm and speed. The defenders work on pressure timing, closure of the passing lanes, individual duels in the middle of the space and on the recovery of the ball.

Rondos are not simple possession exercises, as the players are placed inside a pre-set space or along a line of the set-up and they don’t play all over. It’s all about how to keep the possession under pressure, to develop technique and how to put pressure to recover the ball, being outnumbered.

They are useful training methods to develop an advanced possession style of play, much more than simple small-sided games. To keep the possession safe means to play safe passes (forward, backward or sideways); the safest kinds are short passes. But even a short pass must have a purpose.

Here are the biggest differences between the possession small-sided games and the rondos: pass and keep the possession, press and recover the ball with a tactical purpose.

Which are the main types of passes?
” First Line Break/Pass: pass to the teammate next to you. The easiest pass to perform in a rondo as it doesn’t require a wide range of vision.
” Second Line Break/Pass: the pass will bypass the teammate next to you but it doesn’t split defenders. The second line pass requires a little larger passing vision; it’s more difficult than the first line pass.
” Third Line Split Pass: this is the pass that splits the defenders through the middle. It requires skill, creativity, vision and timing of play. In soccer the ultimate goal is to get the ball forward and score. Third line split passes help to develop this skill.

Which are the main types of recovery of the ball when the defenders are outnumbered?

Direct recovery:
” Ball recovery by interception of a pass (a)
” Ball recovery by tackle after a 1 v 1 duel (b)
Indirect recovery:
” Wrong pass due to the closure of the passing lanes (c)
” Wrong pass due to closure of goal or end line spaces (d)

Here’s a scheme of the different kinds of pass quality that can be found playing simple possession small-sided games and rondos:


From these schemes, it’s clear how rondos introduce the concept of space to be exploited and to be defended.

Anyway, as the numerical advantage is ensured for the players in possession, rondos can be developed in shooting exercises or sequences, as last level of a training progression and moreover in positional games, where the players have their usual role during the matches.

Here are the main differences between possession games and rondos:


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Our Facility is Minnie HaHa 13091 Gravois Rd, St. Louis, MO 63127
Minnie Haha is located in Sunset Hills, Missouri. This is a Sunset Hills park and recreation location. The location can hold up to 4 soccer fields. The St. Louis Steamers have a partnership with the Parks and Recreation Division to continuously upgrade and maintain the grass fields. Minnie Haha has a very nice walking path for parents, playgrounds for siblings, bathrooms and a concession stand.

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