Barca Academy/KNVB/Aus NC Rondos ( Piggy In The Middle)

Barca Academy/KNVB/Aus NC Rondos ( Piggy In The Middle)

Decentric 2
Decentric 2
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About 10 years ago about 30 coaches on here were sent exercises via email. I'll add some of the few good things I learned prior to the FA NC/KNVB/Clarefontaine era in Aus football as well, analysing the why and which skills develop.

This is a whole team rondo, or Piggy In The Middle game which can include parents.

I've  done it  from the age of 7 upwards - including senior women's NPL. There are videos of senior Barcelona players doing it a lot in training.

Imagine a grid 20 metres by 20 metres.

Ball Possession Objective - to keep the ball off the Piggy in the middle.

Ball Possession Objective - the Piggy has to try and conquer the ball.



There should also be cones between corners A and C, as well as B and D.

It doesn't matter whether there are 9 players to 20. This works. It is one of the few times I don't prescribe shape.

* Initially have one player in the middle with a bib on - the Piggy. After a while, forget s/he  wearing the bib, just get players to hold onto it, because turnovers increase often. It can be 1 v 8  with 9 players, 1 v 10 with 11 players, 1 v 11 with 12 players and so on. Put your best players as starting Piggy. They will chase a lot.

* It should be easy for the players in Ball Possession to keep the ball off the Piggy in BPO. Then increase the Piggy to 2 players in BPO.  The turnovers will occur more frequently, and players will change to the Piggy in BPO more frequently. 

* Then throw in another ball to have 2 balls in circulation. So there are 2 balls and 2 Piggies. If  I don't get questions as to why? It is to increase the touches per minute and increase intensity for the  big team in BPO. Decisions have to made very fast, which simulates match conditions. When I was a player decades ago, even at NPL level, or underage state level, we did none of this. When I've done it as an adult coach with the players, I never had to think so quickly in my playing career over a sustained period like 20 mins!

* If you have 3 Piggies against 11, 12, 14, 15 players, one can throw a third ball into the grid. It becomes chaotic, but kids love this game, particularly if adults play.
I always have the rules:
1. Adults can't tackle kids - only jockey.
2. Adults can only take 1-2 touches.

Why do this?

Coaching points from KNVB and Football Aus NC.

1. Kids have to run into space and open a passing lane to support  the ball carrier for the big team in Ball Possession.  This is  of paramount importance. It is important that kids realise they must not remain in a static position when close enough to receive from  the ball carrier.

Also, encourage  kids to point to where they want the ball played by the ball carrier, or gesticulate with arms open arms towards the ball carrier. Encourage children to move away  from the ball carrier creating space, and call their name to receive the ball.   In addition, the ball carrier has to make decisions quickly, or they will become the Piggy.( Game sense or Insight) plus ( Communication).

2. There is a lot of receiving the ball in limited time and space - develops First Touch.

3. Players pass the ball to other players - develops passing in Striking The Ball. Also, this is a good opportunity to pass with the outside of the foot which works in in tighter spaces and over shorter distances. As one passes with the outside of the foot, the body position automatically feints in the other direction, which wrong foots the marker/Piggy in BPO. Moreover, it necessitates developing both Right and Left foot passing, because the body shape is very difficult to  play on one's preferred foot all the time.

4. Running With The Ball - when one has free space one Runs With The ball to get away from the Piggy.

5. 1v1 defensive skills - tackling , closing down space and jockeying for the Piggy in Ball Possession Opposition.

6. 1v1 attacking skills- players in the big team in possession will sometimes need to try and beat the Piggy by dribbling around them.

7. Faster handling speed is developed - by the big team in Ball Possession being forced to receive and pass the ball on quickly by the Piggy/Piggies.

8. It becomes very busy, with a lot of communication, laughing and shouting to players on the ball to pass others. Usually, players are so busy particulalry when  on  there are 2-3 balls, they have few moments  not to be engaged.

Only issues I've had, other coaches have had.

1.  A mate coaching NPL seniors had players who thought rondos were boring. In Barca videos with Puyol, Iniesta, Messi, Xavi et al doing this in training, then the NPL players have a problem!

2. The boredom comment occurred  with an 14 boys rep squad I coached, until I brought new players in much hungrier for a permanent  squad position - and who wanted to win places from current permanent squad members. The entitlement of players used to being selected in elite programs abated!

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