This is an excerpt from Wrestling Drill Book-2E, The by William A. Welker.
The Pancake Takedown Series
Bill Welker’s pancake takedown series is a neutral position maneuver that very few wrestling authors have given attention to over the years. However, many wrestlers have found it to be a very effective maneuver at the scholastic, collegiate, and international levels. Ironically, this series has been a part of wrestling for centuries. Why there has never been any detailed description of the various pancake takedowns is a puzzle. Even one of the best-selling contemporary wrestling books, Winning Wrestling Moves by Mark Mysnyk et al. (1994), barely broaches the topic of the pancake takedown series. The remainder of this chapter describes in detail the pancake takedown series and its significance in the sport of wrestling.
To begin with, you must fully understand that the pancake takedown is a technical maneuver, not a muscle move. In fact, you are often using your opponent’s momentum to catch him off balance and take him to the mat. Furthermore, it’s a takedown tactic that can score multiple points for your wrestler. Finally, the pancake takedown is a dynamic move for wrestlers of all shapes and sizes––lightweights, middleweights, and heavyweights.
During my competitive days, I successfully executed the pancake takedown in numerous matches. To be honest, I referred to it as my “element of surprise” takedown. Every great wrestler knows, first and foremost, he must perfect his single- and double-leg takedowns. They are the “bread and butter” takedowns in wrestling. But these same championship wrestlers also perfect a third takedown maneuver such as a duck-under, arm drag, fireman’s carry, or shrug. The pancake takedown was my very effective surprise trick move in competition. With practice, it can be your wrestlers’ third takedown as well.
Pre-Pancake Takedown Series Skills
Before teaching your wrestlers the various pancake takedowns, you must expose them to the skills necessary for properly executing this unique takedown.
1. Pancake-On-Knees Balance
This drill is introduced to the wrestlers to put them into the correct down-on-their-knees pancake position. The wrestlers are placed in the overhook and underhook situation with their heads on the overhook side. On the whistle, the wrestlers attempt to force their partner off balance and take him to the mat on his back. Important note: After hitting the pancake, the top wrestler should always be perpendicular to the bottom wrestler. The wrestlers have 15 seconds from the whistle to perform the maneuver.
2. Standing Pancake Balance
This drill is introduced to the wrestlers to put them into the correct standing pancake position. The wrestlers are placed in the overhook and underhook situation with their heads on the overhook side. On the whistle, the wrestlers attempt to force their partner off balance and take him to the mat on his back. The drill should be performed in groups so there is enough room, and the wrestlers aren’t bumping into each other. The wrestlers have 15 seconds from the whistle to perform the maneuver.
3. Post-Pancake Pinning
After executing the pancake takedown, the wrestlers must correctly position themselves. When the bottom wrestler turns into them, the top wrestler should scissor his legs to the belly-down position on their toes, driving into his opponent (a). Should the bottom wrestler turn away from them, the top wrestler must scissor his legs to the belly-up position, sagging back on his hips (b). On the whistle, the bottom wrestler turns in, and the top wrestler scissors to the proper position. When the whistle is blown again, the bottom wrestler turns out, while the top wrestler readjusts to the correct position. This would be a 15- to 30-second whistle drill for each wrestler.
Read more from The Wrestling Drill Book, 2nd Edition by William Welker.