Title:
Soccer training device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A soccer training device which is lightweight and portable is provided. The soccer training device of the present invention comprises a hollow shell which accommodates a fillable reservoir. The reservoir can be filled with sand, water or any material sufficiently heavy to provide stability to the device. The device typically has at least two rebound surfaces set at different angles. A player practises soccer by kicking at the rebound surface and then trapping and returning the rebounded ball.



Inventors:
Valliquette, Daniel (Ontario, CA)
Application Number:
10/377801
Publication Date:
09/09/2004
Filing Date:
03/04/2003
Assignee:
VALLIQUETTE DANIEL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/446
International Classes:
A63B63/00; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP (One Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4Z5, CA)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A soccer training device comprising a fillable reservoir within a shell, said shell having a first rebound surface and a second rebound surface.

2. The soccer training device of claim 1, wherein said first rebound surface is set at a first angular inclination and said second rebound surface is set at a second angular inclination.

3. The soccer training device of claim 2, wherein said first angular inclination is about 5-15 degrees.

4. The soccer training device of claim 2, wherein the second angular inclination is about 15-35 degrees.

5. The soccer training device of claim 2, wherein the first angular inclination is about 7-12 degrees and the second angular inclination is about 25-30 degrees.

6. The soccer training device of claim 1, wherein said reservoir has a capacity of about 6 to 12 liters.

7. The soccer training device of claim 1, wherein the shell is made from materials selected from the group consisting of wood, fiberglass, metal, cardboard, plastic and synthetic materials.

8. The soccer training device of claim 7, wherein the shell is plastic.

9. The soccer training device of claim 1, wherein the shell comprises a top surface.

10. The soccer training device of claim 1, wherein the shell comprises a third rebound surface.

11. A method of practising soccer, said method comprising kicking a ball at the training device as defined in claim 1, reacting to the rebound and returning the ball to the device.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a device to help soccer players develop their kicking and rebound skills. The device is compact and easily portable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Soccer has long been a popular sport worldwide and is rapidly growing in popularity in North America. As with all sports, practice is necessary to improve skills. One of the most important skills required in soccer is the ability to pass and trap the ball with confidence and control. This type of practice usually requires two or more people. A soccer training device that enables an individual to practice these skills, that is easily portable and which can be used in any open space, such as a backyard or park, is therefore desirable.

[0003] Several soccer training devices have been developed to help players improve their skills in a time efficient manner without necessarily going to a soccer field. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,556,104 discloses a practice device that comprises a tubular frame which attaches to the ground and provides support for an essentially vertical rebound surface. The device may also include netting to provide a small goal area. U.S. Pat. No. 5,938,546 discloses an apparatus for rebounding balls that comprises a frame and a net structure secured within the frame by rubber straps. The apparatus can be positioned so that the ball is rebounded from different positions. Another type of training device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,830,089. A collapsible sport goal is described which has pivoting frames and a net. The goal can be folded into a flat configuration for storage ortransport. U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,488 discloses a training device which is game-like. A plurality of goals are provided having target openings through which the ball must be passed in succession. U.S. Pat. No. 5,308,083 discloses a portable soccer goal with rebounding net to return a ball struck into the net. The frame of the goal is formed by a pair of vertical posts and a long horizontal tube and is secured to the ground by a pair of base supports. Pivotable struts further support the vertical posts. When the struts are spread outwards, the tension in the net is increased so as to be sufficient to rebound a ball struck into the net.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 6,209,877 discloses a ball rebound device which will deliver a playground type ball such as a soccer ball, basketball, or kick ball which is propelled against the device, back to the user with surprising speed and distance. This ball rebound device utilizes a series of monofilament nylon elastic cords which are independently stung back and forth in a basket-weave fashion within a rectangular frame as a tennis racket is strung.

[0005] While several soccer training devices have been developed, many of them suffer from the disadvantage of being very large or heavy and therefore not easily transportable. Other devices are too lightweight and do not provide sufficient stability to withstand the force of a strongly kicked ball. In addition, some of the prior art devices utilize netting material that is sensitive to the weather elements and thus cannot be left outside for prolonged periods of time. Others require complicated assembly and disassembly. Thus there is a need for a soccer training device that overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art and which is lightweight, easily transportable and does not require assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In one aspect of the invention, a soccer training device is provided that is lightweight and portable. The device comprises a shell having a top, a bottom, two side ends and a first rebound surface and a second rebound surface. Inside the shell, there is a fillable reservoir which holds about 6-12 liters of water or sand. The shell is made of a material which is hard enough to cause a resilient soccer ball to rebound.

[0007] In a preferred embodiment, the first rebound surface is set at a first angular inclination and the second rebound surface is set at a different angular inclination. This enable the user to practice different rebound skills. The first angular inclination is preferably about 5-15 degrees and the second angular inclination is about 15-35 degrees. The reservoir typically has a capacity of about 6 to 12 liters.

[0008] The present invention also provides a method for practicing soccer. The method comprises kicking a soccer ball at one of the rebound surfaces and reacting to the rebound generated to return the ball to the surface. This can be repeated many times in quick succession thereby providing a very efficient exercise. A player can choose to practice low rebounds by using the first rebound surface or high rebounds by using the second rebound surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] Preferred embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to the drawings, wherein:

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the soccer training device,

[0011] FIG. 2 is a longitudinal sectional view of the device,

[0012] FIG. 3 is a top view of the device,

[0013] FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of the device,

[0014] FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the use of one rebound surface,

[0015] FIG. 6 is a schematic view of the use of the other rebound surface of the device,

[0016] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the soccer training device,

[0017] FIG. 8 is a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 7,

[0018] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of the soccer training device, and

[0019] FIG. 10 is a top view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The present invention provides a novel soccer training device that is particularly suitable for players aged five years and older. The device provides a player with the environment to learn consistent and controlled skills.

[0021] In one aspect of the invention, a soccer training device is provided. Several views of one embodiment of the training device are shown in FIGS. 1 through 4. The training device 10 comprises a shell 11 having a bottom surface 12, a top surface 14, two end surfaces 16, 18, a first rebound surface 20 and a second rebound surface 22. The first rebound surface is adjusted to a first angular inclination 24 and, the second rebound surface is adjusted to a second angular inclination 26. The first angular inclination and the second angular inclination are preferably different to provide for different types of rebound. The first rebound surface typically is set at an angle of about 5 to 15 degrees and the second rebound surface is typically set at about 15 to 35 degrees. Of course, a device with the same angle on both sides could also be provided.

[0022] In a preferred embodiment, the shell is made of a hard material capable of deflecting a ball. A hollow core or reservoir 28 is within the shell. The shell is typically made of plastic and can form the sides of the reservoir. Alternatively, a separate, water impermeable reservoir can be fitted inside the shell. When a separate water impermeable reservoir is used the shell can be made of any hard material, such as wood, cardboard, metal, fiberglass or other synthetic materials. When ready for use, the reservoir is filled with water through an opening 30 in the top surface. A cap or plug 32 seals the opening. The reservoir holds an amount of water sufficient to increase the weight of the device enough to provide stability. The water provides sufficient mass to withstand the impact of a ball and produce a rebound. The reservoir typically holds 50 to 60 pounds of water, approximately 8 to 10 liters. The reservoir can easily be filled using a garden hose.

[0023] The size of the device can vary. In a preferred embodiment, the device has a length of about two to four feet, a height of about one to two feet and a width of about one to two feet. The corners are preferably, but not necessarily, rounded to prevent injury.

[0024] When empty, the device is relatively lightweight making it easy to transport and store. The device preferably weighs less than thirty pounds, more preferably ten to twenty pounds.

[0025] The lightweight construction of the device makes it easy to carry and it can easily fit in the trunk of a car. Unlike other soccer training devices, the present device does not require the use of spikes or anchors to stabilise it. Thus, the present device can easily be used indoors in a gymnasium or at home without damaging the floors. It can also be used on concrete school yards, driveways, parking lots, streets, etc. since there is no complex assembly required.

[0026] In another aspect of the invention, a practice technique using the device of the present invention is provided. The device is typically located one to four meters from the player. An inexperienced player may wish to position it relatively close while a more experienced player may position it farther away. The player kicks a ball at the rebound surface. Because of the weight of the water, the device is stable and the hard surface can easily deflect the resilient ball. Upon impact, the angled surface provides a rebound back to the player forcing him/her to trap and manipulate the ball. This enables a player to practice one of the most important aspects of soccer, that is, to be in control of the ball upon receiving a pass and then making the next play (back to the device).

[0027] In a preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the first rebound surface is set at an angle of about 5 to 15 degrees, preferably about 10 degrees. When the player kicks a ball at the surface, the slight inclination of the rebound surface provides a relatively low rebound to the player's foot.

[0028] In another embodiment, shown in FIG. 6, the player is using the second rebound surface. In this illustration the second rebound surface is set at a wider angle. The angle is about 15 to 35 degrees, preferably about 27 degrees. This angle results in a rebound with a higher trajectory. The rebound surface propels the ball back to the player at a level closer to the player's thighs, abdomen and chest.

[0029] The use of two different inclinations for the rebound surfaces allows a player to practice different skills based on the type of rebound provided. The training device allows a player to practice passing and receiving the ball without the assistance of another player.

[0030] FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate another embodiment of the soccer training device in which the shell 40 comprises two side ends 42, a base 44, a first rebound surface 46 and a second rebound surface 48. The internal reservoir can be filled through an opening which is sealed with a cap 50. A detachable strap 52 is provided which facilitates transport of the device. It is clearly apparent that any of the embodiments described herein can include a carry strap which is a shoulder strap or a small hand strap.

[0031] FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate yet another embodiment of the soccer training device. In this embodiment three rebound surfaces are provided. The angular inclinations of the rebound surfaces are determined by the positioning of the top surface 60 relative to the base 62. The first rebound surface 64 is set at a relatively small angular inclination. This will cause the ball to rebound close to the ground. The second rebound surface 66 has a somewhat higher angular inclination thus returning the ball at a higher level. The third rebound surface 68 has a steeper angle than the second rebound surface providing for the highest ball rebound. It is clearly apparent that various angles may be chosen and that the number of rebound surfaces is limited only by the size of the device.

[0032] Although preferred embodiments in which the device is generally rectangular in shape have been discussed in detail, it is clearly apparent that the same concept can be used to provide a training device having three or more rebound surfaces. In the case of three rebound surfaces the device is generally triangular in shape and each rebound surface can be sit at a different angle.

[0033] The above disclosure generally describes the present invention. Changes in form and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest.