Title:
Training apparatus for passing a projectile
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training apparatus for practicing precision and controlled passing of a puck, in the case of ice hockey, or a ball in the case of street hockey, has a bar which is spaced above the playing surface by paired stacks of hockey pucks positioned at each end of the bar. Each stack in the pair is positioned to the side of the bar by an arm connected to the bar to provide stability for the bar and prevent tipping if hit by a pass. The space under the bar and between the supports provides a target which is sized so that only a precise and controlled pass where the puck is running on a flat surface or the ball can pass through.



Inventors:
Richardson, Glen William (Calgary, CA)
Hislop, James Donald (Calgary, CA)
Application Number:
10/942798
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
09/17/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Parlee McLaws LLP (CGY) (3300 TD Canada Trust Tower 421-7 AVE SW, CALGARY, AB, T2P 4K9, CA)
Claims:
1. Apparatus adapted for use in practicing athletic skills related to aiming and passing of a hockey puck on or above a playing surface comprising: a bar for forming an upper extent of the apparatus; support members, positioned at first and second ends of the bar for spacing the bar above the playing surface and creating an aperture therebetween, the aperture having a length sufficient to permit passing of the hockey puck therethrough and a first height sized so as to permit passing of the hockey puck thereunder when the hockey puck is on a controlled path and running on the playing surface; and gripping means protruding from a bottom of the support members for gripping the playing surface.

2. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the upper extent of the apparatus further defines a second height over which the hockey puck may be passed in a controlled path.

3. (canceled)

4. (canceled)

5. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the support members further comprise a transverse extent which is wider than a width of the bar for creating a turning moment for resisting overturning.

6. The apparatus as described in claim 5 wherein the support members further comprise: transverse arms connected at each of a first and second end of the bar at about a centre point of the width of the bar; and two stacks of hockey pucks, each stack fastened adjacent ends of each transverse arm.

7. The apparatus as described in claim 6 wherein each stack comprises two or more hockey pucks.

8. The apparatus as described in claim 7 wherein the two or more hockey pucks in each stack are fastened together using a fastener.

9. The apparatus as described in claim 8 wherein a bottom surface of a bottom puck in each stack has an opening formed therein for accommodating the fastener, permitting the stack to sit flush on the playing surface.

10. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the gripping means are spikes protruding from a bottom of the support members for gripping the playing surface.

11. A method of training for precision passing of a hockey puck on or above a playing surface comprising: providing a training apparatus having a bar having support members, spaced apart and positioned at first and second ends of the bar for spacing the bar above the playing surface and creating an aperture therebetween, the support members have a transverse extent to create a turning moment which resists overturning; sizing a length of the aperture to pass the hockey puck therebetween and sizing a first height of the aperture sufficient to permit passage of the hockey puck therethrough only when the hockey puck is on a controlled path and running on the playing surface; sequentially aiming one or more hockey pucks at the training apparatus for releasing a pass directed between the spaced apart support members.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein one or more of the hockey pucks is aimed for releasing a pass directed over the bar.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention relate to apparatus used to develop an athletic skill and, more particularly, to apparatus used to train hockey players to precisely pass a puck or ball.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well known to use a variety of apparatus in many sports to train an athlete to perform a particular skill in a precise and accurate manner.

In the game of hockey, played on the ice, in a field or on a paved surface, the hockey player must develop the ability to handle the hockey stick and to pass the puck or ball precisely on target to be received by an intended teammate. Precision passing using a puck requires that the puck's running surface remain parallel to the ice surface, whether sliding on the ice surface or raised above the surface. Passed correctly in this manner, a puck can be readily picked up by a teammate. Pucks which are caused to rotate onto an edge surface are more likely to roll away from the target during the pass and are not as readily intercepted by the blade of the stick by the receiving player.

Many known devices, such as those taught in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,161,799 and 6,099,420 to Nandra and U.S. Pat. No. 3,955,815 to Deschenes attach the hockey puck to a track or to a surface. The puck is driven along the track or surface using a conventional hockey stick. Resilient members or springs rebound the puck to the player to develop skills in catching the puck with the front or back of the stick. Further, the puck may be tethered using a strong resilient means or attached to a weight to develop the strength of the players shot. In all cases, the precision with which the player shoots the puck at a target is not practiced.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,165,084 to Cranston simulates the blades of a players skates and the blade of a hockey stick in a triangular tripod to provide apparatus around which the player may move to practice the skills of maneuvering the puck around and through an opposing player. The device may be weighted and incorporate drag members to more closely simulate another player. The drag members act to affect the motion of the device on the ice. Cranston's apparatus is particularly designed to assist players to learn to stick handle, but is not intended for practicing precision passing. The tripod-like configuration is detrimental to practicing precision passing drills, particularly for novice players, as a pass may be deflected by the stick-like member even when on target.

Clearly, what is required is apparatus which distinguishes between a precisely passed puck and one that is not, allowing a player to practice repeatedly until they are proficient at precision passing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A training apparatus for practicing precise and controlled passing of a projectile such as a hockey puck, street hockey ball or the like utilizes a bar spaced and stabilized above a playing surface to create a target past which only a controlled, precise shot will traverse. Shots which are not controlled and precise are deflected by the bar or by supports which space the bar above the playing surface.

In a broad aspect of the invention apparatus, adapted for use in practicing athletic skills related to aiming and passing of a projectile on or above a playing surface, comprises: a bar for forming an upper extent of the apparatus; and support members, positioned at first and second ends of the bar for spacing the bar above the playing surface and creating an aperture therebetween, the aperture having a length sufficient to permit passage of the projectile therethrough and a first height sized so as to permit passage of the projectile thereunder when the projectile is on a controlled path and running on a running surface. The maximum length of the aperture is dependent on skill level and can be conveniently sized to permit easy transport in a sports bag.

Thus, the apparatus permits a novel method of training for precision passing of a projectile on or above a playing surface comprising providing a training apparatus having a bar having support members, spaced apart and positioned at first and second ends of the bar for spacing the bar above the playing surface and creating an aperture therebetween, the support members have a transverse extent to create a turning moment which resists overturning; sizing a length of the aperture to pass the projectile therebetween and sizing a first height of the aperture sufficient to permit passage of the projectile therethrough only when the projectile is on a controlled path and running on the playing surface; sequentially aiming one or more projectiles at the training apparatus for releasing a pass directed between the spaced apart support members.

Additionally, the bar can be used as a barrier, having a second height, over which the projectile may be passed training-skills in raised passing. A player attempts to pass the puck or ball over the bar. It may be advantageous for the player to train to pass the projectile as close to the bar as possible while, in the case of a puck, maintaining the puck in a controlled orientation having the running surface substantially parallel to the playing surface. Thus, if the puck becomes tipped in flight, it is either visibly too high or is likely to hit the bar, in either case indicating that the pass was not controlled.

The support members stabilize the bar onto the playing surface by having an extent which is wider than a width of the bar, thus creating a resisting turning moment which prevents the bar from tipping over if hit by the projectile.

In a preferred embodiment, the supports are pairs of stacked hockey pucks fastened to transverse arms which are connected at each end of the bar. The pucks are fastened to each other and to the transverse arm by a fastener such as bolt having nuts at each end. The bottom puck is profiled to accommodate the nut so that the bottom puck sits flush to the playing surface.

Typically, for ice hockey practice, each stack of pucks comprises two pucks each of which has a height less than ½ the diameter of the puck creating an aperture under the bar having a height suitable to permit a precise controlled shot to pass thereunder, but sufficiently low to deflect a pass wherein the puck is tipped toward or onto an edge of the puck. For ball hockey or the like, the supports may comprise means such as a stack of more than two pucks to create an aperture having the first height sufficient to permit the ball to pass thereunder.

Preferably, spikes can protrude from the bottom surface of the bottom puck to further engage the playing surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention in use on a playing surface for practicing precision passing of a hockey puck;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the apparatus according to FIG. 1 illustrating the apparatus's ability to indicate a precise pass from one that is not;

FIG. 3 is a partial side view of one end of the apparatus according to FIG. 1 showing a bar supported above a playing surface by a support member; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the support member along line IV-IV of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Embodiments of the invention are adapted for use in practicing precision passing skills. While described herein in the context of hockey played on an ice surface using a hockey puck, those skilled in the art would understand that the invention is equally applicable to playing street hockey on a paved surface using a street hockey ball or to other games requiring similar skills of precision passing of a projectile along or above a playing surface.

Having reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the precision passing apparatus 1 is positioned on the playing surface 2 for use in training the skills of the player 3. A bar 4, forms the upper extent of the apparatus 1 and is spaced above the playing surface 2, by support members 5 positioned at first and second ends 6, 7 of the bar 4. An aperture 8 is formed between the first and second ends 6, 7. The aperture 8 has a first height H and a length 9 which is sufficiently long to permit passage of a projectile 10 therethrough. If the player 3 does not precisely pass the projectile 10, the projectile 10 will be deflected away from the apparatus by the support members 5 or the puck will pass by the apparatus 1, indicating that the pass was not precise.

Best seen in FIG. 2, the height of the aperture 8 is sized so that the projectile 10 can pass under the bar 4, provided the projectile 10 is in a controlled path P and is running on a running surface 11. In the case of a hockey puck 12, the running surface 11 is a top or a bottom surface. The aperture's first height H is sized so that a hockey puck 12 cannot pass therethrough if the puck 12 is on an uncontrolled path UP tipped towards or onto an edge 14. If the puck 12 is tipped towards onto the edge 14, the puck 12 will be deflected away from the apparatus 1 by the bar 4 indicating that the pass was not controlled.

Thus, a method of training for precision passing of a projectile on or above a playing surface comprises providing sizing the length of the aperture to pass the projectile therebetween and sizing a first height of the aperture sufficient to permit passage of the projectile therethrough only when the projectile is on a controlled path and running on the playing surface. A player sequentially aims one or more projectiles at the training apparatus for releasing a precision pass directed between the spaced apart support members.

Further, the apparatus 1 can be additionally used for practicing aiming passes which are raised above the playing surface 2 such as to avoid a defensive block. The projectile 10 is shot and raised above the bar 4 of the apparatus 1. The player can practice shooting just above a second height or upper extent of the apparatus 1. In this case, should the puck 12 be tipped onto the edge 14, the puck 12 may also deflect from the bar 4 indicating that the pass was not controlled.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the support members 5 space the bar 4 above the playing surface 2 and act to stabilize the apparatus 1 and prevent the apparatus 1 from being tipped over if hit by a pass. Preferably, the support members 5 have sufficient height to space the bar 4 the first height H above the playing surface 2 to permit passage of a precisely passed and controlled puck 12 thereunder and an transverse extent 15 which is greater than the width W of the bar 4 for creating a resistance turning moment to stabilize the apparatus 1 and thereby resist overturning.

In a preferred embodiment, the support members 5 comprise pairs of stacked hockey pucks 16 which are fastened together. Hockey pucks, while being particularly apropos, are also relatively heavy, and have a suitable profile for forming a stable support. Each stack 17 within the pair 16 is fastened adjacent ends 6, 7 of the bar 4, preferably through a transverse arm 20 which is connected to the bar 4 at about a centre point 21 of a width W of the bar 4.

Best seen in FIG. 4, the transverse arm 20 is fastened to the bar 4 by a fastener 22, such as a bolt secured at upper and lower ends by nuts 23, 24. A top hockey puck 25 in each stack 17 is notched 26 to accommodate the lower nut 24. Further, a bottom hockey puck 27 in each stack 17 is secured to the top hockey puck 25 and to the transverse arm 20 by a fastener 28, such as a bolt secured at upper and lower ends by nuts 29, 30. An opening 31 is formed in a bottom surface 32 of the bottom hockey puck 27 to accommodate the lower nut 30, permitting the bottom puck 27 to sit flush to the playing surface 2.

Preferably, one or more spikes 33, such as a nail, protrude from the bottom surface 32 of each bottom puck 27 for engaging the playing surface 2, particularly an ice surface, to further minimize the apparatus 1 from moving when hit.

Typically, for use in the context of ice hockey, each stack 17 comprises a pair 16 of two hockey pucks 25, 27. As each hockey puck 25, 27 has a height h that is substantially less than ½ a diameter d of each puck 25, 27, the aperture 8 created by stacking two pucks 25, 27 has a height capable of permitting only a controlled pass, that is a puck that is sliding on the running surface 11 and not tipped towards or onto the edge 14.

In the case of street hockey or the like, where a ball (not shown) may be used instead of a puck 12, each support will have a first height H in order to space the bar 4 above the playing surface 2 and set the height of the aperture 8 sufficient to permit the ball to pass therethrough. Such supports could include a stack 17 of more than two conventional hockey pucks. As the ball does not have a running surface 11, per se, distinguishable from an edge, the height established is preferably only substantially higher than a diameter of the ball so that only precise and controlled passes will pass under the bar 4.

Preferably, the bar 4 has a length L suitable for convenient transport in a sports bag such as a hockey equipment bag or the like.





 
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