Rondos with tic-tac-toe / Naughts and Crosses

By Damon Shaw  |  November 1, 2017

Rondos with tic-tac-toe / Naughts and Crosses

By Damon Shaw  |  November 1, 2017

We’ve all seen the version of naughts and crosses where players run and drop bibs into the squares, but this exercise is more complete, working physical, technical, social and psychological aspects in one fun warm up game. I’d do this after a flexibility routine so the players aren’t cold and before a main session.

I’ve been using this for a few years now, starting since I was shown it on my UEFA A and used it successfully with Catgas and now Tranmere. It’s fun and can be used every few months. The players seem to love it and it has a lot of benefits.

Physical – Speed & reactions. Short 20 metre sprints that are so common in futsal and reacting to your team mates, the opponents and the coach’s call.

Technical – Rondos – passing, control, body shape, defending are all worked in the rondo.

Social – Lots of teamwork required. Communication (non verbal and verbal) are important to get the strategy right.

Psychological – Keeping the score and winning each point keeps the players motivated and the intensity of the sprints are kept high.

Exercise description

Two rondos (circles, piggy in the middle) at one end of the court with players allocated colours independently of the rondo they are in. Teams of 3 work well. In the above case, 3 teams of 3 (light blue, yellow, red) and 2 floaters (blue). 1 touch, 2 touch rondos, whatever you feel necessary for your players. On the coaches call, the two colours NOT said must sprint to the other end of the court and play 3 in a line, connect 3 or tic tac toe. The first team to have 3 players in a line wins the point. Only 1 player per cone. First player on the cone has the cone. Last 2 players to return to the 2 rondos defend.

Number of players

Ideally 9. Any more can be used as floaters or you can use teams of 4, or 4 teams of 3 (coach must call two colours in this case).


3 colours of bib, 2 balls, 9 cones (to mark tic-tac-toe).

I’d love to hear your feedback if you use this game or any variations on it. Drop me a line on twitter or instagram – @damon_shaw or leave a comment below!

Damon is one of three founders of The Futsal Shop. He is the only British UEFA A Futsal coach with experience coaching in England, Spain, Malta and in the UEFA Futsal Champions League and European Universities Futsal Championships.