Welcome to the first real blog post and we're starting off with a bit of a strange one, but one you should definitely become familiar, the rondo. The rondo or more commonly known as piggy in the middle, is arguably the single best exercise for any player, including goalkeepers.
Fundamentally it is based around idea of maximizing a team's effectiveness when in possession of the ball teaching from the perspective not only your's but the opposition's as well. It should be noted though that this exercise builds on the principles of 'overloading' areas of the pitch with your team's players so as to create superior numbers and an outlet advantage. Additionally you can see why football is a game of fitness and why the fitter team will ALWAYS win. We will cover the 'overloading' concept at a later date either in a blog post or if you take up the offer at one of our training sessions.
It can be executed with almost any number of players (min. 4) where a larger group outnumbers a smaller group e.g. 3v1, 4v1, 5v2, 6v2 and so on. Shared between the roles; the piggies in the middle and the players on the outside, it calls upon nearly every skill a player has.
Firstly, make a shape, circle, square, oval, rectangle, it doesn't matter as you can always change the size and shape to change the intensity of the exercise. Although as a starting distance we recommend 10 meters between outside players as that is a very common passing distance. Then designate your piggies, ideally someone who needs to get fitter because you can genuinely run players into the ground with this one exercise.
Players are most familiar with the outside role so we will explain that first but the role of the piggies (pressers) is arguably the more important of the two.
While on the outside players will need to call upon their ability to pass accurately, control the ball with one touch, feel comfortable under pressure and make decisions looking to stretch the pressers and split them (see picture below). These are exactly the qualities every coach looks to improve when working with players outside of shooting. Furthermore, it should be noted a lot of movement should be happening on the outside of the shape if the pressers which will be explained next.
The role of the pressers, if a team can master and execute this it significantly will improve their odds of winning any match. While in the middle the players must push their physical and mental limits executing quick sprints, turns and looking to narrow angles which cause the players in possession to hesitate and fail a pass leaving the pressers to recover the ball. Particularly the idea of narrowing angles is of utmost importance, this is most emphasized when practicing a rondo with two pressers. By using the first presser to close off one side of options he can force the outside player to either attempt a miracle by making the difficult pass or making the easy one where there is space. The second presser must recognise the angles that have been closed off by the first presser and then look to further close down angles without getting split. This should lead to the pressers being able to effectively suffocate the players in possession and force someone into making a mistake.
For a more comprehensive understanding of why the rondo should be the crux of training sessions and player development come along to one of our sessions and find out. We will happily explain and demonstrate the more technical aspects of body positioning, correct movement and recognising cues and triggers. If this interests you our contact details can be found on the 'Contact Us' page.
Coach at Casual to Pro
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