Title:
Posture training apparatus for athletes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus and method for, inter alia, training a sprinter to transition from a crouched starting position through a drive phase to a running phase. At least 3 height and width indicators are positioned in front of a sprinter at pre-set intervals with pre-determined height and with settings. The width and height settings are based upon certain anatomical features of the sprinter. Positioning the height and width indicator should be at increasing heights approximately one foot, nine feet, and fifteen feet in front of the sprinter in a normal starting position. Apparatus of the invention used in single sets or multiple sets at fixed height can be used to train athletes such as football and basketball players to back pedal or shuffle while maintaining a crouched posture.



Inventors:
Joseph, Douglas L. (Center Valley, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/926554
Publication Date:
03/03/2005
Filing Date:
08/26/2004
Assignee:
JOSEPH DOUGLAS L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RATNERPRESTIA (2200 Renaissance Blvd Suite 350, King of Prussia, PA, 19406, US)
Claims:
1. A posture training apparatus for athletes starting competitive activity from a crouched position comprising in combination: a pair of base members, each of said base members supporting an upright member in a generally vertical position; a variably positionable horizontal member disposed on each of said upright members; whereby a plurality of pairs of said apparatus can be positioned at pre-determined intervals in one of in front of or behind said athlete when in a crouched position with successive apparatus pairs having said horizontal members positioned at one of, an increased height to teach said athletes to effectively transition from a crouched starting position to a generally vertical position during competitive activity, or a constant height to teach said athlete to maintain a crouched position during a training exercise.

2. A posture training apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said horizontal members are covered with a cushioning material.

3. A posture training apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said horizontal members are fabricated from a flexible material.

4. A posture training apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said horizontal members are resiliently hinged to move upon contact by said athletes during a practice exercise.

5. A posture training apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said base member, said upright member and said horizontal member are fabricated from rigid plastic.

6. A posture training apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said rigid plastic is PVC pipe.

7. A method for training a sprint racer to emerge from a crouched starting position with head down to a running phase with head and body erect comprising the steps of: placing a first height indicating guide approximately one and one-half feet in front of said sprinter in a normal starting position said guide set at a height approximately one foot above said sprinters pelvic height when said sprinter is in a normal starting position; placing a second height indicating guide approximately nine feet in front of said first height indicating guide; said second height indicating guide set at a height equal to the height of said sprinters mid-pectoral muscle, and placing a third height indicating guide approximately fifteen feet in front of said second guide, said third guide set at a height equal to the height of said sprinter's eyes, whereby when the sprint racer leaves a starting position and passes through the height indicating guides just below or with brushing contact with the sprinter's head the sprinter will be positioned properly for transition from a drive phase to a running phase.

8. A method according to claim 7 including the step of including vertical support members for each of said height indicating guides, said vertical support members positioned approximately one half-foot plus one half the width of said sprinters upper torso measured at the shoulder of said sprinter either side of a center line for said sprinter to follow during training.

9. A posture training apparatus for athletes starting competitive activity from a crouched position comprising in combination: a pair of base members, each of said base members supporting an upright member in a generally vertical position; a variably positionable horizontal member disposed on each of said upright members said horizontal members cushioned in the event of contact by said athletes; whereby a pair of said apparatus can be positioned at pre-determined height in front of or behind said athlete to train said athlete to maintain a crouched position while moving forward, back pedaling, or shuffling.

10. A method for training an athlete to maintain a crouched position during at least a part of the athletes playing of a position in a team sport comprising the steps of: placing at least one height indicating guide approximately in front of or in back said athlete in a normal starting position said guide set at a height required to teach said athlete to maintain a proper crouched position while executing his position; and placing a second height indicating guide at a location in line with or at an angle to said first height indicating guide; said second height indicating guide set at a height equal to the height of said first height indicating guide, and whereby when the athlete leaves a starting position and passes through the height indicating guides just below or with brushing contact with the athlete's head the athlete will be positioned properly for executing his position.

11. A method according to claim 10 including the step of including a third height indicating guide in line with or at an angle to said second height indicating guide.

12. A posture training apparatus for athletes starting competitive activity from a crouched position comprising in combination: a pair of base members, each of said base members supporting an upright member in a generally vertical position; a variably positionable horizontal member disposed on each of said upright members said horizontal members cushioned in the event of contact by said athletes; whereby a plurality of pairs of said apparatus can be positioned at pre-determined intervals of, one, in front of or behind said athlete when in a crouched position with successive apparatus pairs having said horizontal members positioned at one of, increasing heights or uniform height to teach said athletes to effectively transition from a crouched starting position to a generally vertical position during competitive activity.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This Application is a continuation of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/498,534 filed Aug. 28, 2003 and U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/526,338 filed Dec. 2, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to training devices for athletes transitioning from a crouched starting position to a generally vertical performance position or for maintaining a crouched or semi-crouched position while moving forward, backward or laterally. In particular, in one aspect the present invention pertains to training sprint racers (sprinters) to transition from a crouched starting position to a generally upright running position.

The prior art contains numerous devices for training runners, especially sprinters, to increase their running speed or decrease the elapsed time for a particular event such as the 100 yard dash, 400 yard dash or other sprint races. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,469,324; 4,728,100; 5,176,597; 5,683,330; 6,482,128 B1; and 6,454,679 B1 are illustrative of devices adapted to help a sprinter increase his or her speed.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,754,965; 4,913,420; 5,199,930; and 5,746,684 illustrate various devices for helping a sprinter with his or her starting or running technique.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,158,389 and 5,070,816 teach rather complex devices for training humans or animals to improve their sprint technique.

There are prior art devices for training athletes such as football players to maintain a crouched position as they move to respond to the development of a play during an actual contest. One such device is an adjustable tent like device sold as a “Complete Adjustable Agility Chute” by Olympia Sports, offered for sale through OnLine Sports.com.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention in one aspect pertains to a posture training apparatus for an athlete starting competitive activity from a crouched position and transitioning to a generally upright or vertical position for the competitive activity. In this aspect the apparatus of the present invention consists of at least three height adjustable devices for placement in front of the starting position of the athlete, e.g. a sprinter, at various heights and widths to give the athlete a visual and tactile indication of improper starting posture. The device of the present invention consists of height adjustable and width adjustable members that can be positioned at the required distances and at the required heights to train an athlete to transition from a crouched starting position to an upright running position with the fewest number of strides.

Therefore, in one aspect the present invention is a posture training apparatus for athletes starting competitive activity from a crouched position comprising in combination: a pair of base members, each of the base members supporting an upright member in a generally vertical position; a variably positionable horizontal member disposed on each of the upright members, the horizontal member cushioned in the event of contact by the athletes; whereby a plurality of pairs of the apparatus can be positioned at pre-determined intervals in front of the athlete when in a crouched position with successive apparatus pairs having the horizontal members positioned at increasing height's to teach the athletes to effectively transition from a crouched starting position to a generally vertical position during competitive activity.

In another embodiment the present invention is a method for teaching a sprint racer to emerge from a crouched starting position with head down to a running phase with head and body erect comprising the steps of: placing a first height indicating guide approximately one and one-half feet in front of the sprinter in a normal starting position, the guide set at a height approximately one foot above the sprinters pelvic height when the sprinter is in a normal starting position; placing a second height indicating guide approximately nine feet in front of the first height indicating guide; the second height indicating guide set at a height equal to the height of the sprinters mid-pectoral muscles, and placing a third height indicating guide approximately fifteen feet in front of the second guide, the third guide set at a height equal to the height of the sprinter's eyes whereby when the sprint racer leaves a starting position and passes through the height indicating guides just below or with brushing contact with the sprinter's head the sprinter will be positioned properly for transition from a drive phase to a running phase.

The apparatus of the present invention can be used to train athletes, e.g. football players to maintain a crouched position as they move about the field of play either executing or responding to a play.

Thus in another embodiment the invention is a method for training an athlete to maintain a crouched position during at least a part of the athletes playing of a position in a team sport comprising the steps of: placing at least one height indicating guide approximately in front of or in back the athlete in a normal starting position the guide set at a height required to teach the athlete to maintain a proper crouched position while executing his position; and placing a second height indicating guide at a location in line with or at an angle to the first height indicating guide; the second height indicating guide set at a height equal to the height of the first height indicating guide, and whereby when the athlete leaves a starting position and passes through the height indicating guides just below or with brushing contact with the athlete's head the athlete will be positioned properly for executing his position.

In yet another embodiment the invention is a posture training apparatus for athletes starting competitive activity from a crouched position comprising in combination: a pair of base members, each of the base members supporting an upright member in a generally vertical position; a variably positionable horizontal member disposed on each of the upright members the horizontal members cushioned in the event of contact by the athletes; whereby a pair of the apparatus can be positioned at a pre-determined height in front of or behind the athlete to train the athlete maintain a crouched position while moving forward, back pedaling, or shuffling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of one pair of an apparatus according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a left perspective view showing positioning of a full set of the apparatus in the training mode for a sprinter.

FIG. 3 is a right perspective view showing positioning of a full set of the apparatus in the training mode for a sprinter.

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the apparatus of the present invention used in conjunction with the starting position for a sprint racer.

FIG. 5 is a front view of the sprint racer passing through a second of the devices of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the sprint racer in an alternate starting position in relation to devices according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the transition of the sprint racer moving between the starting position of FIG. 6 and passing through a first device according to the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the sprint racer of FIG. 7 passing through a second of the devices according to the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the sprint racer of FIG. 8 passing through a third of the devices according to the invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a single device according to the invention used to train an athlete to back pedal while in a crouched position.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of set of devices according to the invention used to train an athlete to move laterally in a crouched position.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view illustrating two devices according to the invention used to teach an athlete to back pedal and change direction while in a crouched position.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view illustrating two devices according to the invention used to teach an athlete to move forward and change direction while in a crouched position.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view illustrating a full set of devices according to the invention used to train an athlete to back pedal while in a crouched position, the athlete shown at the start of the exercise.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view illustrating a full set of devices according to the invention used to train an athlete to back pedal while in a crouched position, the athlete shows at the end of the exercise.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the present invention is applicable to training athletes that start from a crouched position such as sprint racers, it can be used in training other athletes such as football players who should maintain a low or crouched position during their entire burst of competitive activity.

The start of a sprint race is extremely important for the sprinter to set-up for a good and effective finish. The most efficient start for a sprinter requires that the sprinter come out of the starting blocks or starting position with his or her body and head down. This is known as the drive phase. The drive phase provides a sprinter with more power and keeps the sprinter from wasting strides during the race. After approximately 10 to 30 meters at the beginning of a sprint race it is important for the sprinter to make a transition from the drive phase to the running phase. The transition should be gradual with the head and body of the sprinter coming upright into the running phase after leaving the starting blocks.

Referring to FIG. 1 one set of the apparatus (devices) of the present invention includes bases or base members 10, 11 which support uprights 12, 13. The base members 10, 11 can be made of any tubular material or any other material suitable to provide a secure foundation for positioning the uprights. In particular, the base members 10, 11 can be made from various sections of PVC pipe. Optionally base members 10, 11 can be filled with sand or weighted to increase stability of the overall apparatus in windy conditions. Base members 10, 11 support upright members 12, 13 in a generally vertical position. Upright members 12, 13 are constructed so that horizontal arms 14, 15 can be positioned at various distances from the surface (.e.g. a running track) supporting the base 10. Each of the arms 14, 15 is covered with a padding or cushioning material or is itself made of a material that will maintain a horizontal position when in use but readily flex or move when contacted by the head of a sprinter. Alternatively arms 14, 15 can be hinged, using a spring loaded hinge, at the connection to the vertical or upright member 12, 13 to swing out of the way if it is contacted by the user during a training exercise.

The apparatus according to the present invention is conveniently constructed with vertical poles approximately 73 inches in height with a base 18 inches by 19{fraction (1/2)} inches and 26 inch length arms for vertical indicating devices.

Optionally a horizontal stabilizer 16 can be fastened to vertical poles 12, 13 to enable each set of apparatus to resist movement under windy conditions. Stabilizer ban 16 will be at a sufficient height, e.g. approximately 72 inches, to not interfere with the training function of the apparatus.

Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 the invention, in one aspect, pertains to utilizing at least three sets of the apparatus of FIG. 1 positioned as shown when used to train a sprint runner. The first pair of apparatus 20, 22 are positioned 18 inches in front of the sprinter when the sprinter is in a normal starting position i.e. using conventional starting blocks (not shown), as shown in FIG. 4. The height of the cross members 24, 26 of the first pair of apparatus 20, 22, are adjusted so that the height is approximately 1 foot (12 inches) above the pelvic position of the sprinter when in the starting position of FIG. 4 or FIG. 6.

The second pair of apparatus 30, 32 (FIG. 4, FIG. 5) has the arms or cross members 34, 36 positioned at a level that is equal to the mid pectoral muscles of the sprinter. The second pair of devices 30, 32 are positioned 9 feet in front of the first pair of devices 20, 22.

A third and final set (FIG. 5) of apparatus 40, 42 having arms 44, 46 is placed 15 feet in front of the second set of apparatus 30, 32. The arms 44, 46 of the third pair of apparatus 40, 42 are set at a height that is equal to the eye level of the sprinter being trained.

Referring back to FIG. 1 each of the vertical supports 12, 13 should be placed so that they are approximately six (6) inches on either side of the shoulders of the athlete being trained as the athlete moves through the various pairs of devices. Setting the posts or vertical supports (12, 13) of apparatus pairs 20 and 22, 30 and 32, and 40 and 42 about six inches on each side of the athletes shoulders and arms will prevent the athlete from having a wide arm swing during the sprint.

Referring to FIGS. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 a sprinter moving from a starting position (FIG. 3, FIG. 6) will pass through the first set of the apparatus (20, 22) without raising his or her body to touch the horizontal members (24, 26) as shown in FIG. 7. As the sprinter moves through the second set of apparatus (FIGS. 5 and 8) he or she will begin to raise up but pass through the apparatus pair 30, 32 without excessive contact with arms 34, 36. As shown in FIG. 9 the sprinter will increase the erectness of his or her body when passing the apparatus pair 40, 42, again without excessive contact with arms 44, 46. After passing through apparatus pair 40, 42 the sprinter will assume full running posture.

Referring to FIG. 5 illustrates that placement of the vertical supports approximately six inches on either side of the shoulders of the sprinter will prevent excessive arm swing. Placing the devices as disclosed will enable the sprinter to transition from the drive phase to the running phase with a minimum number of strides thus increasing the sprinters overall speed and decreasing the elapsed time to complete the race.

The apparatus of the present invention will prevent a sprinter from standing up when coming out of the starting blocks or from a starting position.

The apparatus of the present invention will help the sprinter stay low during the drive phase of the race and prevent the sprinter from taking a wide first step and will enable a sprinter to control arm swing during the race.

The present invention can also be used for other sports training, such as training athletes to stay in a crouched or a semi-crouched position while back pedaling or moving sideways.

Referring to FIG. 10 a single set of the apparatus according to the invention can be used to train an athlete, e.g. a defensive back on a football team or a lineman on a football team, to stay low while coming out of a crouched position. In order to do so the apparatus is set so that the defensive back or the lineman can learn back pedaling in a crouched position by back pedaling through the apparatus as shown in FIG. 10.

A set of the apparatus can be used as shown in FIG. 11 to teach agilities for multi sport use. For example, using three of the devices of the present invention set at a constant height an individual such as shown in FIG. 11 can practice shuffling or sideways movement in a crouched position to enhance their playing abilities. For example, basketball players can use these devices to practice a defensive shuffle. Such devices can be set up on a basketball court as well as in outdoor areas such as shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 12 show two of the devices according to the invention positioned so that an athlete can maintain the crouched position and move in other than a straight line. The devices set as shown in FIG. 12 can train an athlete to back pedal, or break and change direction while keeping a in crouched position.

FIG. 13 show two of the devices according to the invention positioned so that an athlete can maintain a crouched position while moving forward and changing direction.

FIG. 14 further illustrates the starting position for training an athlete to maintain a crouched position while back pedaling through a series of the devices of the present invention set at a constant height.

FIG. 15 illustrates the finishing position for training an athlete to maintain a crouched position after back pedaling through a series of the devices of the present invention set at a constant height.

Constructing the devices of the present invention from materials such as PVC pipe with cushioning or flexible arms will prevent injury to the athlete or sprinter since they can either cushion contact or move out of the way quickly, thus providing immediate tactile indication if the sprinter or athlete being trained does not maintain the proper position during the training exercise.

The apparatus according to the present invention can be used in various sports and in particular any sport that requires the athlete to stay low during an initial phase of the athletic endeavor.

The apparatus according to the invention can be used in various ways to train athletes to run, change direction, back pedal or shuffle. For example, a set of the apparatus can be arranged in a T, C, or generally Z shaped array to enable an athlete to stay in a crouched position to perform a forward run, change direction and shuffle, change direction and back pedal. Another exercise can be back pedal, change direction, run, change direction and shuffle. The number of combinations is limited only by the needs and imagination of the user.

The apparatus according to the invention can be conveniently referred to as low-drive acceleration training devices. A full set of devices according to the present invention can be conveniently referred to as low-drive acceleration training system.

Having thus described my invention what is desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is set forth in the appending claims.