Inspiration From Soccer: Using Rondos In Hockey Practice

In the video above, Coach Alyssa Gagliardi discusses the benefits of getting creative and looking at other sports for inspiration. One activity that is beneficial for hockey players is soccer rondos.

What is a rondo? Rondos are essentially a game of keep-away or monkey in the middle and can be set up in a variety of ways to practice different situations.

In the article below, we dive into the following topics:

  1. Why Rondos Are Beneficial For Hockey
  2. Rondo Circle Passing Progression
  3. Rondo Circle Passing to 2 on 1
  4. History & Benefits of Rondos
  5. 7 Competitive Rondo Games
  6. Tips to Make Rondos Beneficial and Fun

1. Why Rondos Are Beneficial For Hockey

  • Requires players to keep their head up and be aware of surroundings
  • Helps players practice decision making and thinking quickly
  • Offensive players must find space and passing lanes
  • Defensive players must keep stick on the ice and take away space
  • Rondos help with power-play & penalty kill decisions
  • Coaches can gamify rondos to encourage players to get creative and have fun

2. Rondo Circle Passing Progression

The Rondo Circle Passing Progression is a great warm-up activity that can be set up around any circle. If you do not have the space to use circles, coaches can set up cones as a designated space.  View full details.

3. Rondo Circle Passing to 2 on 1

Rondo Circle Passing to 2 on 1 is a competitive rondo variation where players work together to pass the puck and play keep away from the two players in the middle. When the defenders steal the puck, it initiates a 2 on 1, where the 2 defenders go on the offense and the player that passed the intercepted puck becomes the defender on the 2 on 1. View full details.

4. History & Benefits of Rondos

Rondo History & Benefits: Watch the video above to learn the history of rondos, and why one of the greatest soccer teams of all time (FC Barcelona) uses rondos in every practice. Learning more about rondos will help coaches understand why this soccer activity is great to implement into hockey practices. 

5. 7 Competitive Rondo Games

Note: the audio level is low in the video above so you will need to turn your volume up to hear it clearly. 

7 Competitive Rondo Games: The video above shows 7 competitive rondo variations that can be implemented on the ice. Below we list the 7 rondo variations that are discussed and make notes on how it can translate to the ice rink. Please note that you can modify each rondo exercise with fewer or more players than what is shown in the video.

  1. Escape The Rondo (1:05 mark in video): when the defenders in the middle steal the puck from the offensive team, they must stickhandle outside of the circle or cone boundary to get a point. The offensive team tries to win the puck back before they skate outside the boundary. 
  2. Rondo Pressure Drill (1:48 mark in video): create two teams of 4, and two playing areas inside one larger area. The coach starts by giving the puck to one team of 4, which will initiate 2 defenders from the other team to attempt to take the puck away. When the 2 defenders steal the puck, they pass to their other teammates, that are in the other side, which starts another 4 on 2. This can be setup as a station or in a full zone on the ice. 
  3. Rondo to Attack (2:28 mark in video): a fun rondo variation that forces the offense to complete a certain number of passes in a row (let's say 5), and when they do, they are allowed to attack on goal.
  4. Two Teams Against One (2:50 mark in video): divide your players into 3 even teams. Then on the whistle, the two of the teams play keep away from the one team. Keep track of how many passes are made within 1 round (each round can be 30 - 60 seconds). Rotate through so all teams are defenders at least once. This can be done in one zone and is a great full team warm-up drill. Defensive teams should compete to make sure they are not the team that allowed the most amount of passes! 
  5. Spread Out Rondo (3:41 mark in video): a coach creates 6 squares inside one large grid. Each square has one offensive player while the 3 defenders try to take the puck away. The three defenders can go in any zone and the offensive players must stay in their designated square. If the 3 defenders steal the puck, they then go on offense and play 3 vs 1 against the 1 player who was in the square. This continues until the puck goes out of play, or the defender steals the puck back and passes it to one of their teammates. Coaches can make the squares out of cones or tires, which makes it another object players need to skate & pass around.
  6. 3 Team Possession Drill (4:22 mark in video): this can be set up in a full zone. A coach creates 3 zones and each zone has a team of 4 players. The defenders are in the center zone. The coach starts the game by giving the puck to one of the teams on the outside. Two players from the center zone will pressure the forwards to create a 4 vs 2. The team with 4 players is trying to complete 6 passes in a row before they can pass through the middle zone to the other team on the far side zone. If they are able to complete 6 passes and pass to the team in the far zone, they receive a point. The defenders are trying to steal the puck, and if they are able to do so, the team they stole the puck from will go into the center zone and become defenders. This drill will get very competitive!
  7. Find The Killer Pass (6:00 mark in video): create two teams, where the offense has more players than the defenders. Coaches also create a small box inside the playing area that the offensive players get a point for passing through. If the offensive team completes 5 passes in a row, they can go for the "Killer Pass" at any time and try to pass through the small box. If they are able to connect on a small pass through the middle, they receive a point. Coaches can make the small box in the middle out of tires or cones. 

6. Tips to Make Rondos Beneficial and Fun

Watch the highlight video below of FC Barcelona performing rondos at practice. FC Barcelona is one of the most popular sport teams in the wolrd. Watch how the players of FC Barcelona compete and cheers when great plays are made. They are at the pinnacle of sports, yet they make sure to still have fun and get creative with rondos. Under this video, we will give tips to make rondos beneficial and fun when adding them to your hockey practices.

Tips To Make Rondos Beneficial & Fun: As you can see from the video above, no matter what level, rondos can be extremely fun, competitive, and beneficial. They even help with team building. Below are some tips to make rondos beneficial & fun at hockey practice:

  1. Communicate with your teammates
  2. Cheer when a great pass or play is made
  3. Discourage losing the puck or having it go out of play
  4. Get an extra point (and celebrate) if a player passes the pucks between someone's legs (aka a nutmeg)
  5. Count out loud the number of passes that are completed (so you can compete for most passes in a row)
  6. Encourage creativity & deception: rondos are a great time for players to get creative and try things out that they have not done in a game


As you can see, coaches can learn a lot from other sports. Using soccer rondo drills in hockey practice is just one example. Rondos are great for all age levels and they are more fun when everyone is communicating and cheering when great plays are made.

Thank you to Coach Alyssa Gagliardi for sharing this information with the IHS Community. Make sure to check out her IHS Contributor Page to see additional drills from her, and be sure to follow her on Twitter, along with her hockey company, AG2 Hockey on Instagram.

Looking to add Rondos to your next hockey practice? Make sure to draw them out with our drill drawing tool.

Finding More Rondo Ideas