Title:
Football blocking apparatus
United States Patent 3897060


Abstract:
A blocking apparatus for use in football practice is described. The apparatus contains a base for supporting the apparatus, a pad supporting assembly mounted for reciprocal movement on the base, means such as coil springs for providing resistance to the backward movement of the assembly under an applied force and for urging the assembly in the forward direction on removal of the applied force. Shock absorbing means such as a hydraulic cylinder equipped with a two-way check valve damp the movement of the assembly in the forward direction after removal of the applied force. Timing and indicator means can be included to measure the blocker's performance and provide motivation.



Inventors:
JENNINGS RALPH EARNEST
Application Number:
05/323291
Publication Date:
07/29/1975
Filing Date:
01/12/1973
Assignee:
JENNINGS; RALPH EARNEST
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
73/379.05, 188/282.1
International Classes:
A63B69/34; (IPC1-7): A63B67/00
Field of Search:
273/55R,55A 73
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3674265FOOTBALL BLOCKING AND TACKLING SLED1972-07-04Sheets et al.
3578324FOOTBALL BLOCKING APPARATUS1971-05-11Alvey
3365947Football practice apparatus with force indicating means1968-01-30Janich et al.
2390336Athlete training apparatus1945-12-04Spearman
1565770Shock absorber1925-12-15Almesan



Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Brown T.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wolfe, Hubbard, Leydig, Voit & Osann, Ltd.
Claims:
I claim as my invention

1. A football blocking apparatus comprising, in combination, a base for supporting the apparatus, a plurality of horizontally extending tubes mounted above said base, a rod slidably mounted for axial movement within each of said tubes and having a forward portion which extends beyond each tube, a pad supporting assembly connected to the forward ends of said rods coil spring means located within at least one of said tubes for providing resistance to the backward movement of said rods under a force applied to said pad supporting member and for urging said rods in the forward direction on removal of the applied force, means for synchronizing the axial movement of said rods within said tubes in a substantially linear fashion, shock absorbing means located within at least one of said tubes for damping the movement of said rods in the forward direction after removal of the applied force, and manually releasable locking means for holding said rods in a position of maximum backward movement achieved in response to a given force applied to said pad supporting assembly, said locking means including a vertical shaft having a blade detent for engaging a serrated portion of at least one of said rods, said shaft being engaged and released from said rod upon vertical movement relative to said rods.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 containing three of said horizontally extending tubes in substantially vertical arrangement with said coil spring means being located within the upper and lower tubes and wherein said means for synchronizing axial movement of the rods comprises a rigid member located between said rods and attached thereto at the forward portions thereof.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 containing two of said horizontally extending tubes in substantially vertical arrangement and wherein said means for synchronizing axial movement of the rods comprises a rigid member located between said rods and attached thereto at the forward portions thereof and guide means comprising a guide roller attached to one of said rods and a guide channel in which said roller rides for preventing the non-linear movement of at least one of said rods during backward and forward movement within the tube.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 including indicating means associated with the backward movement of said rods for determining the extent of backward movement in response to a force applied to the pad supporting member.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said indicating means includes a visually observable pointer attached to one of said rods and adapted to move therewith.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said indicating means is adapted to audibly respond at a predetermined extent of backward movement of said rods.

7. The apparatus of claim 3 including means associated with the backward movement of said rods for measuring the time interval between the initial blocking movement of a person using the apparatus and contact with the apparatus.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the shock absorbing means includes a hydraulic cylinder containing a rod slidably mounted for axial movement therein having a forward portion extending beyond the cylinder and connected to the pad supporting assembly, a two-way valve member attached to said rod within said cylinder with said valve member including a perforated piston having a necked down portion, surrounding said rod and a perforated disc member slidably mounted on said necked down portion, said disc adapted to be forced into abutting relationship with said piston during forward movement of the rod and spaced therefrom during backward movement, the perforations in the piston and disc member being arranged such that during forward movement all fluid flow through the valve member is through the perforations, said perforations in the disc member being sufficiently small to effectively dampen forward movement of the rod.

Description:
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a general purpose exercise apparatus and, more particularly, to a football blocking apparatus of the type wherein yieldable resistance is provided in response to the force applied by the charge of a person simulating a blocker.

A general object of the present invention is to provide an exercise apparatus which can be used for perfecting football blocking techniques. Related to this object is the further object of providing a training apparatus wherein the blocking effectiveness of a person can be easily and comparatively determined. And, more specifically, to provide an apparatus wherein a blocker's charge quickness and force is immediately apparent.

A further object of the present invention resides in providing a football blocking apparatus which, with only a simple and minor modification, can accommodate widely differing applied forces and thus can be used by persons of greatly differing sizes and strengths. Accordingly, another object of the present invention is to provide a training apparatus which can be used by both small children such as grade-schoolers and the like as well as larger persons such as high school, collegiate and even professional players.

An additional object of the present invention resides in providing a portable blocking apparatus which is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use and which is nevertheless durable and capable of extended use. In connection with this object, a further object is to provide an apparatus which effectively resists the force applied during use but in which the recoil force is effectively dampened so as to avoid excessive wear. Yet a further object resides in providing a unique damping mechanism for effectively absorbing recoil shock which can be simply adjusted to optimumly dampen the recoil shock anticipated.

Still a further object of this invention is to provide a football blocking apparatus which is safe to both bystanders and participants during use thereof and which can either be repetitively used in successive and closely spaced charges by the same person or operated in a manner to record the force of a given charge.

Finally, it is an object of the present invention to provide an exercise apparatus which is simple and inexpensive to construct and maintain and wherein the above mentioned modifications which respect to providing a variable resistive force and recoil dampening can be accomplished by simple mechanical operations using either readily available or easily fashioned component parts.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a football blocking apparatus embodying the features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a segmented side elevation view, with portions thereof broken away, of the apparatus depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged top view looking along line 3--3 of FIG. 2 showing a coil spring means used for providing resistance to the force applied by a blocker;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view looking along line 4--4 of FIG. 2 showing the releasable locking mechanism;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, segmented top view looking along line 5--5 of FIG. 2 showing the recoil shock absorbing assembly;

FIGS. 6 and 7 are greatly enlarged side elevation views showing the check valve assembly of the shock absorbing mechanism in its operative forward and reverse positions, respectively;

FIGS. 8 and 9 are views taken along lines 8--8 and 9--9 of FIGS. 6 and 7, respectively showing the piston and disc components of the check valve;

FIG. 10 is a partially broken away side elevation view of a further embodiment of a blocking apparatus of the present invention; and

FIG. 11 is a view taken along line 11--11 of FIG. 10.

While the invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood that there is no intention to limit the invention to the particular embodiments shown but it is intended, on the contrary, to cover the various alternative and equivalent instructions included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

Turning first to FIG. 1 there is shown a football blocking apparatus 10 having a contoured pad 12, horizontally extending tubes 14 and 16 which encase energy absorbing means, and a horizontally extending tube 18 which encases recoil shock absorbing means. The tubes 14, 16 and 18 are supported in generally vertical alignment above the apparatus base 20 by the pairs of parallel and vertically extending channeled members 22 and 24 and pairs of inclined brackets 26, 28 and 30. In order to stabilize the apparatus against rocking or tilting in use, the base 20 contains a pair of horizontally extending channel rails members 32, 34 parallely spaced apart and secured together by the cross bars 36, 38.

For the purpose of providing horizontal movement of the pad 12 in response to an applied force by a blocker, rods 40, 42 and 44 which are slidably mounted for axial movement within each of said tubes 14, 16 and 18 are provided. As illustrated, each of the rods has a forward portion extending beyond each tube with the forward ends of the rods being connected to the pad supporting assembly 46.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the pad supporting assembly 46 is illustrated as containing a vertically extending channeled connecting member 48 to which the contoured pad supporting plate 50 is bolted at 52 with rubber bushings 54 being provided between the plate and connecting member to provide a slight cushioning effect on initial blocker contact. In order to provide some additional "give" in instances where the applied blocking force is not uniformly centered on the pad 12, the forward ends of the rods 40, 42 are pivotally attached to the connecting member 48 at 56 and 58. However, to ensure synchronized substantially linear movement of the rods 40, 42 within the tubes 14, 16, the pad supporting assembly 46 also includes a rigid synchronizing member 60 disposed vertically between the two rods and bolted thereto at 62, 64. As also shown the forward end of the rod 44 is connected to the synchronizing member 60 at 66 and thus to the assembly 46.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, resistance to the backward movement of the rods 40, 42 under the action of a blocking force applied to the pad member 12 is provided by coil springs 68, 70 located within each of said tubes 14, 16 and which surround the portions of the rods 40, 42 within the tubes and abut against the tube ends 72, 74. Pistons 76 and 78, removably attached to the rods 40, 42 by bolts 80, 82, act against the coil springs during backward movement of the rods thus placing the springs into compression and providing resistance to the force applied to the pad 12. After removal of the applied force, the coil springs 68, 70 force the rods in the forward direction with the amount of forward movement being ultimately limited by abutment of the pistons 76, 78 with the forward tube blocks 84, 86.

In keeping with the present invention, and as particularly illustrated in FIG. 3, the forward tube blocks 84, 86 are attached to the tubes by means of the removable bolts 88, 90 to permit the rods 40, 42 with their attached pistons and surrounding coil springs to be easily slid out of the tubes 14 and 16, either with the pad supporting assembly attached thereto or disconnected. Easy replacement of springs with differing compressive characteristics is possible and accordingly, the apparatus can be readily modified to appropriately accommodate the size and strength of the person using the apparatus. Thus, in order to convert the apparatus from a high school type model to a collegiate or professional mode, all that need be done is to replace one set of springs with another set requiring more force for a given deformation.

As has been mentioned, once the force applied to the pad member 12 has been removed, the coil springs force the rods 40, 42 in a forward direction. And, unless this forward movement is dampened, severe jolting will occur resulting in damage to the apparatus and/or injury to the blocker due to the rapid recoil. In keeping with the present invention, damping of the forward movement is achieved by providing a recoil shock absorbing assembly housed within the tube 18. As illustrated in FIGS. 5-9, this assembly includes a hydraulic cylinder 92 attached at one end to the vertical support members 22 by the bolt 94 and at the other end to the synchronizing member 60 through the rod 44. The rod 44 is slidably mounted for axial movement within the cylinder 92 with the forward end of the cylinder in liquid sealing relationship with the surface of the rod to prevent fluid leakage therefrom.

As particularly shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the end of the rod 44 within the cylinder 92 is necked down presenting a shoulder 100 and a threaded end 102 around which is positioned a two-way valve means 104. The valve means 104 is retained on the end of the rod 44 by the nut 106 which is threaded over the end of the rod to place the valve means in tight engagement with the shoulder 100.

The illustrated valve means 104 operates to permit substantially unresisted backward movement of the rod 44 while damping forward movement. To this end, the valve means includes a piston 108 containing axial extending perforations 118 in the periphery thereof. The piston is about the same diameter as the inside diameter of the cylinder 92 and contains an annular sealing groove 110 and cooperating O-ring 112. A floating disc member 114 containing perforations 121 is positioned around a necked down portion of the piston and is retained thereon by the removable retaining clip 116. As is shown in FIG. 7, when the piston and disc are in abutting relationship, communication between the perforations in the piston and those in the disc is achieved by means of the annular channel 122 located in the face of the disc 114.

As illustrated in FIG. 6, during backward movement of the rod 44 fluid passes through the perforations 118 in the piston 108 thus forcing the disc 114 against the clip 116 and providing a radially open space 120 for fluid flow around the disc. By making the perforations 118 sufficiently large in both size and number, substantially no resistance to backward movement of the rods will result from the valve 104 with the result that the coil springs located within the tubes 14 and 16 will selectively provide the resistance. On the other hand, as illustrated in FIG. 7, once the force urging the rods backwardly is removed, the compressed coil springs then cause movement of the rod 44 in the forward direction which effects closing of the space 120 by movement of the disc 114 into abutting contact with the piston 108. Forward movement of the rods 40, 42 and 44 is then controlled by the rate of fluid flow through the perforations 121 in the floating disc 114.

As is apparent, by appropriately selecting the size and number of the perforations 121 in the floating disc 114, the forward movement of the rods occasioned by the action of the coil springs can be dampened to a selected extent. Furthermore, the speed of forward movement can be modified by simply changing disc member 114, thus permitting rapid and easy selection of an appropriate recoil speed without the necessity of changing the complete shock absorbing assembly.

While the operation of the blocking apparatus as heretofore described will be apparent from the above description it will be helpful to summarize the operation briefly; a force applied such as by a blocker or the like to the pad member 12 causes backward movement of the rods 40, 42 and 44 against the force of the coil springs contained in the tubes 14 and 16 with the shock absorbing assembly offering very little, if any, resistance. Synchronized movement of the rods is achieved by means of the synchronizing member 58 so that even if the applied force is not directly at the center of the pad 12, the apparatus nevertheless operably functions without the respective rods binding within their housings. On release of the applied force, the springs cause the rods to move back in the forward direction; however, due to the restricted movement of fluid through the small perforations 121 in the floating disk 114, the forward movement is dampened resulting in a gradual return of the pad to its forward position without any attendant damage to the apparatus or danger to the blocker.

Referring again to FIGS. 1-3 additional features of the present invention are therein illustrated. Thus, as can be seen, the rearward portions 124 and 126 of the rods 40 and 42 are serrated so as to be engageable with the blade-like detents 128 of the vertically extending shaft member 130 in order to provide locking means for the rods in their position of maximum backward movemennt in response to a given force on the pad 12. The detents 128 can be beveled so that they do not materially interfere with the backward movement of the rods and only engage the serrations to prevent forward movement on removal of force to the pad 12. The shaft member 130 is enclosed within the hollow guideway 132 and in order to be engageable with both of the rods 40 and 42 is provided with elongated channel portions 134 and 136 such as illustrated in FIG. 4.

For the purpose of releasing the shaft 130 from engagement with the rods 40 and 42, a circular cam 138 mounted for eccentric motion on the guideway 132 through the shaft 140 and operating against the roller 141 mounted to the shaft member 130 is provided. Counterclockwise movement of the handle 142 attached to the cam 138 effects upward movement of the shaft member 130 and disengagement of the detents 128 from the rod serrations. When it is desired to use the apparatus in a continuous manner, the locking mechanism can be overridden by placing the handle 142 against the horizontally projecting rod 144 which, in turn, places the shaft 130 in a non-engageable position until the handle is manually returned to the vertical by clockwise rotation.

In further keeping with the present invention and as is illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, a blocking force indicator such as the pointer 146 attached to the piston 76 can also be included to record the extent of axial movement occasioned by the force applied to the pad 12. Thus, in operation the performance of a given blocker can be visually measured thus providing incentive for continued improvement as well as indicia for competitive purposes.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the apparatus, depicted in figures contains protective hollow housings 148 and 150 which extend axially beyond the end of the rods 40, 42 when they are in their maximum position of backward movement. These housings serve to protect bystanders during use of the apparatus so that they are not inadvertently struck by the rods 40, 42 during backward movement thereof.

While one embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated in FIGS. 1-9, an alternate form is disclosed in FIGS. 10 and 11 in which corresponding parts are correspondingly numbered with the addition of subscript a. In this embodiment, the apparatus 10a is secured to the floor 152, wood frame or the like by means of the bolts 154, 156 which extend through the channeled rail member 34a. In order to provide some give on blocking contact, mounting of the apparatus to the frame 152 is effected by placing the indicated spring means 158, 160 between the nuts 162, 164 and the base of the channeled rail member 34a. While not illustrated, it should be appreciated that mounting of the apparatus on the other horizontally extending channeled rail member is similarly effected.

As is apparent from FIG. 10, the principal difference between this embodiment and that previously illustrated is the use of a single energy absorbing means encased within the horizontally extending tube 166 which is centrally located with respect to the pad 12a. The energy absorbing means depicted in this figure functions in the same manner as the foregoing figures and comprises the coil spring 168 which is acted against by the piston 170 attached to the slidably mounted rod 170 to provide resistance to the backward movement of the rod under a force applied to the pad supporting member. For the purpose of synchronizing movement of the rod 172 and the slidably mounted rod 44a of the shock absorbing assembly which is housed within the tube 18a, a synchronizing member 60a is similarly provided. Moreover, in order to prevent non-linear movement of the rod 172 in response to a non-centrally applied blocking force, the piston 170 has attached thereto a guide roller 174 which, during backward and forward movement of the rod 172 within the tube, is adapted to ride in the guide channel 176 formed by the parallel and horizontally extending flanges 178, 180 secured to the tube 166.

Still referring to FIG. 10, the guide roller 174 therein illustrated also serves to accomplish several other desirable features of the present invention. Thus, as shown, the initial backward movement of the rod 172 causes the roller 174 to trip the brake 182 which, in turn, stops the timer 184 -- the timer having been started by disengagement of the blocker's hand with the button 186 on initiation of his charge. In this manner, charge quickness, i.e., the time between when the blocker starts his forward movement by raising his hand and then contacts the pad 12a, can be easily established.

Also, as illustrated in FIG. 10, the roller 174 can trip the bell lever 188 acting against the bell 190 to audibly indicate the extent of backward movement of the rod 172 and thus indicate the extent of backward movement of the rod in response to a given blocking force. As illustrated, the bell assembly can be mounted on a platform 192 which can be appropriately horizontally adjusted so as to set the position at which the bell will be sounded by the horizontal movement of the rod 172 and thereby be used to provide appropriate motivation for the blocker.

Thus, as has been seen, there is provided an apparatus which fully satisfies the aims and objectives of the invention as heretofore identified.