Title:
A SOCCER TEACHING AID
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A football teaching aid comprises a football (20) having a number of differently coloured target areas (21, 22, 23, 24) marked on the surface of the football (20), each indicating an area on the surface of the football (20) to be struck to send the football (20) along an associated flight path. Thus, in practice, a football coach can direct a player to strike the football (20) in one of the coloured target areas (21, 22, 23, 24), which is easily identified by the player, to achieve a desired shot.



Inventors:
Eite, Noel (COUNTY MEATH, IE)
Application Number:
09/284452
Publication Date:
10/23/2003
Filing Date:
06/10/1999
Assignee:
John C. Holman
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B39/00; A63B41/00; A63B43/00; A63B69/00; A63B41/08; (IPC1-7): G09B19/00; A63B69/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RIMELL, SAMUEL G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACOBSON PRICE HOLMAN & STERN (400 7TH STREET NW, WASHINGTON, DC, 20004)
Claims:
1. A football teaching aid comprising a football having one or more striking targets marked on a surface of the football, each striking target indicating an area on the surface of the football where the football should be struck to send the football along an associated flight path or trajectory when struck in said target area.

2. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 1 wherein each striking target is denoted -by a coloured area on the surface of the football.

3. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 2, wherein different striking targets are denoted by different coloured areas on the surface of the football.

4. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein each striking target is denoted by an arrow marked on the surface of the football, a head of the arrow pointing to the striking target.

5. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein each striking target is denoted by a numbered target area on the surface of the football.

6. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim wherein indicia such as a line forming an equator line extends around the football providing striking targets for the player to hit either above or below the line to keep the football either low or high in flight respectively.

7. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim wherein a pair of spaced-apart substantially horizontal and parallel target lines extend around the football defining therebetween a central equatorial band with an upper striking target area above the band and a lower striking target area below the band.

8. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the striking targets comprise a central target located centrally on a face of the football, a right side-spin striking target and a left side-spin striking target on opposite sides of the face of the football.

9. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 7 wherein the striking targets additionally comprise an upper target area at a top of the face of the football and a lower target area at a bottom of the face of the football.

10. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 8 or 9, wherein arrows are denoted on one or more of the striking targets pointing towards the optimum striking position on the striking target.

11. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the striking targets are denoted by a set of different coloured bands arranged in a cruciform array on a side of the football.

12. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 11, wherein arrows of contrasting colour extend outwardly in each coloured band from an inner central portion towards an outer end of the band.

13. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 12, wherein each arrow is tapered, the arrow increasing in width towards the outer end of the band.

14. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the striking targets comprise heading targets on the surface of the football for striking the football with the head to direct the football in a desired direction.

15. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 14, wherein the heading targets comprise a central heading target located central. on a face of the football, a right side heading target and a left side heading target on opposite sides of the face of the football.

16. A football teaching aid as claimed in claim 15, wherein the central heading target has a centre spot surrounded by a two-part outer ring comprising an upper segment and a lower segment above and below an equator of the football.

17. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the football is a soccer ball.

18. A football teaching aid as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a football boot, said football boot having defined striking areas denoted on the surface of the boot.

Description:
[0001] This invention relates to an educational teaching aid, and in particular to a football for the use in coaching football striking skills.

[0002] It is well known that striking a football in different areas causes the football to travel along different flight paths. Many experienced footballerr are very adept at controlling the flight of a football for passing and scoring during games by striking the football in a particular area to send the football along a desired flight path. For example, in a soccer game, when taking a free kick adjacent the penalty area, it is often desirable for an attacking player to curve the football around a defensive wall of opponent players towards the goal.

[0003] Also, different situations call for different types of shot. For example, in a defensive situation, when a defending player is clearing the football away from his goal area, the objective may be to simply kick the football as far as possible. In contrast, in an attacking situation, accuracy and good control of the football flight path, whether kicking a football directly or along a curved flight path, will be paramount and vital for scoring goals.

[0004] Similarly, for heading the football, in defensive situations a defending player will typically try to head the football in an upward direction as far away from his own goal as possible. Whereas, in an attacking situation, the attacker will often be trying to head the football in a downward direction towards the opponents goal. Whilst anyone can kick a football, very few have the ability to accurately control the flight of the football. Football coaches often have difficulty in teaching players how to strike the football correctly to make the various different shots for controlling the football. This is particularly so with children and younger players generally. Many players find it difficult to follow and understand verbal instructions from the coach as to where to strike the football to achieve a desired type of shot.

[0005] The present invention is directed towards overcoming this problem.

[0006] According to the invention, there is provided a football teaching aid comprising a football having one or more striking targets marked on a surface of the football, each striking target indicating an area on the surface of the football where the football should be struck to send the football along an associated flight path or trajectory when struck in said target area. The football according to the invention is particularly advantageous for teaching shot-making skills to a player. The striking targets clearly indicate the area of the football which needs to be struck by the player to achieve a particular type of shot. The player can readily easily see the target area. From a coaching point of view, all the coach must do is simply tell the player to strike a particular target area on the football which the player can readily appreciate and execute the required shot.

[0007] In a particularly preferred embodiment, each striking target is denoted by a coloured area on the surface of the football. Ideally, different striking targets are denoted by different coloured areas on the surface of the football. This is particularly advantageous for clearly showing the target areas. Children particularly will find this much easier to see the target area. It will be appreciated that most conventional footballs are either a single colour, usually white, or two-tone, for example having black and white segments. Thus, coaches find it difficult to verbally explain to players to kick the football in a particular area to achieve a desired shot.

[0008] In contrast, advantageously with the football of the present invention, all a coach has to do is instruct the player to kick the football in the “blue” area, for example, to achieve the shot. The player can readily easily see the area to be struck and therefore execution of the shot is simplified for the player.

[0009] In a further embodiment, the football is a soccer ball. Various striking targets may be provided on the football for striking the football, for example, to impart side spin to curve the football to the right or left, to hit the football low or for achieving long distance or direct shots.

[0010] In another embodiment, each striking target is denoted by an arrow marked on the surface of the football, a head of the arrow pointing to the striking target.

[0011] In a further embodiment, each striking target is denoted by a numbered target area on the surface of the football.

[0012] In another embodiment, heading targets are provided on the football for striking the football with the head to direct the football straight ahead, to one side or the other, downwardly, etc.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, the heading targets comprise a central heading target, located centrally on a face of the football, a right side heading target and a left side heading target on opposite sides of the face of the football. Preferably, the central heading target has a centre spot surround by a two-part outer ring comprising an upper segment and a lower segment above and below an equator of the football.

[0014] In some cases, indicia such as a line, which may, for example, form an equator line, extending around the football may be provided, again providing a target for the player to hit either above or below the line to keep the football either low or high in flight respectively.

[0015] In a preferred embodiment, a pair of spaced-apart substantially horizontal and parallel target lines extend around the football defining therebetween a central equatorial band with an upper target area above the band and a lower target area below the band.

[0016] In a particularly preferred embodiment, the striking targets comprise a central target located centrally on a face of the football, a right side-spin striking target and a left side-spin striking target on opposite sides of the face of the football.

[0017] In a further embodiment, the striking targets additionally comprise an upper target area at a top of the face of the football and a lower target area at a bottom of the face of the football.

[0018] In another embodiment, arrows are denoted on one or more of the striking targets pointing towards the optimum striking position on the striking target. In particular, the arrows may be provided in the right and left side-spin striking targets.

[0019] In a further embodiment, the striking targets are denoted by a set of different coloured bands arranged in a cruciform array on a side of the football. Preferably, arrows of contrasting colour extend outwardly in each coloured band from an inner central portion towards an outer end of the band. Ideally, each arrow is tapered, the arrow increasing in width towards the outer end of the band.

[0020] In another aspect, the invention provides a football teaching aid as described above in combination with a football boot, said football boot having defied striking areas denoted on the surface of the boot. Advantageously, the coach can direct a player. to strike a particular target area on the football with a selected striking area on the surface of the boot. Conveniently, the striking areas on the boot may be denoted by different colours so that the coach could, for example, direct the player to hit the “red” target area on the football with the “blue” striking area of the boot.

[0021] The invention will be more clearly understood by the following description of some embodiments thereof, given by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

[0022] FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a football according to the invention;

[0023] FIG. 2 is an elevational view of another football according to a second embodiment of the invention;

[0024] FIG. 3 is an elevational view of a further football according to a third embodiment of the invention; and

[0025] FIG. 4 is an elevational view of another football according to a fourth embodiment of the invention.

[0026] Referring to the drawings, and initially to FIG. 1 thereof, there is illustrated a football according to the invention, indicated generally by the reference numeral 1. In this case, the football 1 is a soccer ball. A number of different coloured striking targets are indicated on an outer surface of the football 1, each striking target indicating an area on the surface of the football 1 where the football should be struck to send the football 1 along an associated flight path when struck in that target area. In this case, the striking targets comprise a central target 2 for kicking the football along a generally straight flight path. A right side-spin striking target 3 and a left side-spin striking target 4 are denoted by different coloured areas on opposite side of the football 1. By striking the football within either of the side-spin striking targets 3, 4, spin is applied to the football to curve the flight of the football.

[0027] A pair of spaced-apart substantially parallel and generally horizontal target lines 5, 6 extend around the football 1 and are centrally located between a top and a bottom of the football 1. The target lines 5, 6 define therebetween a central equatorial band with an upper striking target area above the band and a lower striking target area below the band. Striking the football 1 below the line 6 will send the football in a high arcing shot to achieve long distance. The football 1 can be struck above the line 5 to send the football 1 on a relatively low flight path, keeping the football 1 on or close to the playing surface.

[0028] In use, a coach can direct a player to strike the football 1 in one of the clearly defined striking targets 2, 3, 4 to achieve a desired shot. The different colours associated with each striking target 2, 3, 4 clearly show the required area on the football 1 which is to be struck by the player making it easier for the player to follow the coaches instructions to achieve the desired shot. The lines 5, 6 further assist the coach in clearly directing the player where to strike the football 1.

[0029] Referring now to FIG. 2, there is illustrated another football indicated generally by the reference numeral 10. The arrangement of striking targets on the surface of the football 10 is such as to facilitate instruction in correct heading of the football 10. In this case, the striking targets comprise a centre spot 11 surrounded by a two-part outer ring comprising an upper segment 12 and a lower segment 13. The centre spot 11 provides a target for heading the football 10 along an initially generally horizontal flight path. The upper segment 12 provides a target for heading the football 10 downwardly and the lower segment 13 provides a target for directing the football 10 upwardly for maximum flight distance. A right side striking target 14 and a left side striking target 15 are also provided for heading the football 10 to the left or right respectively. An equator line 16 is marked around the circumference of the football 10. Striking the football 10 above the equator line 16 will tend to urge the football 10 along a downward flight path, and striking the football 10 below the equator line 16 will tend to urge the football upwardly.

[0030] Referring now to FIG. 3, there is illustrated another football 20. In this case, the striking targets comprise a central target area 21, a right side target area 22, a left side target area 23, an upper target area 24 and a lower target area 25. All of the target areas 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 are in different colours to clearly denote each target area. It will be noted that indicating arrows 26 are provided in the right target area 22 and left target area 23 pointing towards an outermost portion of the target area which It is desirable to strike to impart maximum spin to the football 20.

[0031] Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown another football 40. In this case, the striking targets are denoted by sets of different coloured bands 41, 42, 43, 44 arranged in a cruciform array on each side of the football 40. Arrows 45, 46, 47, 48 of contrasting colour, in this case white, extend outwardly in each coloured band 41, 42, 43, 44 from a central portion 49 towards an outer end of the band 41, 42, 43, 44 which it is desirable to strike to impart maximum spin to the football 40. To emphasise the increased spin imparted as one moves outwardly from the central portion 49, each arrow 45, 46, 47, 48 is tapered—increasing in width towards the outer end of the band 41, 42, 43, 44.

[0032] It will be appreciated that the invention provides a football for the use in coaching football striking skills. The provision of clearly defined coloured striking targets on the football greatly assists in the coaching of football striking skills to players, especially young players.

[0033] It is envisaged that any suitable method of clearly denoting the striking targets on the surface of the football may be provided. The striking targets may be numbered if desired to facilitate coaching. What is important is that the striking targets can be easily identified by the coach and the players. While the colouring of the striking targets is particularly desirable to achieve this end, it is envisaged that in some cases, the striking targets may be provided in a single colour on a contrasting background. Arrows and/or numerals may also be used to denote the striking targets. Similar targets may be provided on opposite sides of the football. Alternatively different target formations may be provided an opposite sides of the football. For example the target configurations. shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 may be combined on the same football or possibly the target configurations of FIGS. 2 and 3 may be provided on the same football.

[0034] It is also envisaged that the invention may be applied to footballs for other sports such as rugby football and GAA football for example.

[0035] The invention is not limited to the embodiments hereinbefore described which way be varied in both construction and detail.