"0-0 FLOW" and 0 strike hitting
When given the proper meaning, phrases can be invaluable to coaching. When players can properly translate the phrase and understand what the phrase is supposed to mean then the coaching staff can teach more efficiently and effectively. “0-0 flow” is one of our phrases that has evolved into a meaning much more encompassing than the face value of the words making up the phrase.
At the beginning of each season we discuss how the baseball swing is similar to throwing a knockout punch in a boxing match. Our team goes through the process of standing up, establishing their power base and then practicing throwing knockout punches against a pretend opponent. After doing this a couple of times, I have our players sit as far back as they can in a chair with their back touching the chair back and attempt to throw knockout punches once again. The players realize immediately that without the ground, their punch is far less effective. This is where we begin a discussion about the importance of GRF (ground reaction force) in the baseball swing.
We stress to our players that the ground is their friend and it is the base of their power. The magic of the baseball swing is to figure out how to maximize as much of that power from the ground and efficiently transfer the power to the baseball to create max exit velocity. This is the meaning of “0-0 Flow”.
Here is a breakdown the 2 parts of the phrase:
The goal of “0-0 flow” is to maximize hard contact in any 0 strike count and we are guaranteed EVERY at bat to hit in this 0-0 count so it creates an aggressive mindset with the hitter. (“0-0” also sounds better than 1-0,2-0, or 3-0 flow) ULTIMATE FAILURE in our program is defined as: “Weak contact in a 0 strike count” so our expectation is that a hitter will take their best swing possible on that day in all 0 strike counts and solid contact will be made whether that contact results in a hit or an out.
When a boxer delivers a knockout punch, the punch needs to travel a certain distance to deliver the power necessary to knockout the opponent. If the opposing boxer is too close, the power will never build to its max capacity and if the opposing boxer is too far, the punches power will dissipate and run out of knockout energy when it makes contact. The same basic concept is true for a baseball swing. The area in a baseball swing where we can deliver maximum (knockout) energy is referred to as the “OHZ” or Optimal Hitting Zone.
To teach the hitter where his “OHZ” is, we begin each season by having the hitter work off a tee with a Homeplate positioned on the ground. Our hitters will start in the same spot in the batters box that they would normally position themselves in regards to home plate. Together with the hitter we discuss weight shift and hand path to determine where we believe the optimal contact point for the hitter would be. To test the optimal contact point, we take bat exit speed readings off the radar gun at a few different contact points to be sure our hitter is making contact in his optimal hitting zone.
0-0 Flow swings are FLUID! Once the front foot strikes the ground, our front heel drops and the swing begins with no break in the energy transfer. 0-0 flow swings are very smooth, loose, and not forced.
The word flow is to remind the hitter that the energy begins in the ground, travels into their core, out the arms from the core and flows into the baseball to create exit speed. Our hitter is tasked with figuring out a load and stride style that allows him the comfort to create bat exit speed in his optimal hitting zone while swinging loose and fluidly.
Flow can also be used interchangeably in many hitter lingos with the teams synchronization and / or rhythm.
HOW WE PRACTICE 0-0 FLOW:
Everyday we work at least 10 swings off the tee at the end of our tee routine where we place the tee in each hitters OHZ and practice our “flow swing”.
We also do “0-0 Flow” hitting rounds daily in batting practice against live pitching. Some days we measure bat exit speed vs live pitching with a radar gun and we post scores in our cage or we will hook our hitters up to our Zepp and register swing and bat speed data through that program to help the hitter learn about his 0 strike swing.
One of the things we NEVER want our hitters to do in a 0 strike count is to get caught in between speeds, so we designate which pitch our hitters are trying to get in “0-0 FLOW” rhythm with that particular day. At the beginning of each season, our hitters must prove mastery of “0-0 Flow” vs the fastball before we move to other hitting concepts or “0-0 Flow” against other pitch types. As discussed in some other blog posts on the site, we will work our way up to making Front Leg Adjustments against high level pitchers.
About the author: Coach Turco is a 5 time state champion hitting coach who coaches a nationally recognized high school program in Marietta, Ga. Coach Turco publishes the blog “State Championship Hitting” and posts work samples on twitter @championhitter