Marisa Arriaga became an instant celebrity after the video of her softball hitting trick went viral on social media. I was mesmerized as I watched her flip, kick, and hit a softball with flair and power, over and over and over and over again. Like any good magician, Marisa made the trick look easy, while leaving people wondering how she did it.
Ok, so maybe it’s not magic, but Marisa needed some good hitting mechanics to pull off her trick.
Leg Lift (Load)
After Marisa kicks the ball off the tee, she maintains her high leg lift. This helps her transfer weight to her back leg to generate maximum power and it also allows her to adjust to the ball in the air. If Marisa put her front foot down immediately after kicking the ball off the batting tee, she would have had to reach with her arms to hit the ball. Instead, Marisa keeps her leg in the air until she can gauge the exact trajectory of the ball. As soon as she determines where the ball will enter the hitting zone, she can then put her front foot back down into the ground in just right right place to initiate the swing with her entire body. This is the same process all great hitters go through when adjusting to live pitching in a game.
What struck me after I watched the video for the first time was how much power Marisa was able to generate after all her gyrations. As I analyzed her trick in slow motion, it was easy to see that after her front foot hits the ground following her leg lift, her hands are back in the perfect “launch position”. Marisa now has given herself as much runway as possible to generate maximum hand speed and bat speed. It should be evident by just looking at this picture that Marisa is in a great position to hit the ball hard!
If you glance quickly between the picture of Marisa with her hands back and this picture of her arms fully extended, you can actually see the power in her swing. Her swing begins in a strong launch position and quickly reaches full extension, putting a charge into the ball like it is shot out of a cannon. Her body is also in a good leverage position with a stiff front leg, fully rotated hips, and a complete weight transfer to her front leg.
To complete her trick, Marisa allows the bat to finish naturally and powerfully. She knows that anything she does to change the path of the bat will negatively affect how far she can hit the ball. I can always tell when a softball hitter is finishing the swing powerfully, without looking at anything except her hair. I instruct my hitters to “let their hair fly” as they finish the swing. This is an indicator the swing is finishing free, easy, and powerfully.
A tip of the cap to Marisa Arriaga for her slick hitting trick that is entertaining people around the world. In addition to her innovative moves, Marisa has solid hitting mechanics, making her as dangerous a hitter as she is creative.