Pancake Drill
Coach Kenny Buford, Knox College

While coaching youth baseball I feel it is imperative to teach fundamentals to the players. That is how the “Pancake Drill”, as named by the players, was born.
I made three 8” training pads from ½” plywood , ½” foam and light brown cloth (pancake color) with elastic hand holds.
The drill is as follows:
Players are lined three across wearing the pancake mitt. Ground balls are hit to them. The object is to cleanly field the baseballs using “alligator hands” and rise to proper throwing position. Players who don’t field the ball cleanly are eliminated until a winner is determined with a maximum amount of 10 ground balls. The winner is then awarded with some prize such as not having to run the final lap or batting first at the next BP. We also utilize the mitt with a soft toss contest where players are eliminated by dropping the ball.
By the end of the season all of the players regardless of their initial skill level were demonstrating proper fielding and catching technique and many parents had asked that I make them a “pancake” mitt of their own.

Coach Kenny Buford, Knox College

For this kids baseball drill, divide the team up into groups of four and have them form a square with each player spaced 10 paces apart. The drill begins with the first player rolling the ball to the player on his right, who will catch the ball, pivot, and roll it to the player on his right, who will in turn catch, pivot, and roll, continuing around the square.

The coach will then add another ball into the mix. The players will continue rolling, catching, and pivoting, but this time with two balls going around simultaneously. The players should start calling out the name of the person they are passing to. The coach continues adding balls until there are four going at the same time. The players can then advance to soft-tossing the ball.Coach Kenny Buford, Knox College

For this kids baseball drill, the coach needs an oversized plastic bat and balls -- they can be found at most toy stores. The coach divides the team into defense and offense and acts as full-time pitcher.
The kids play the game as they normally would. Because of the plastic ball, the defense doesn't need gloves. The batters should focus on clean hits and correct tossing of the bat -- the coach might want to set up markers on either side of home plate so the kids can see where they bat should go once they get a hit. The defense should focus on catching and throwing with soft hands.