Title:
Apparatus for guiding athletic kicking
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for guiding the execution of kicking movements to train a user in efficient and proper kicking techniques.



Inventors:
Roccato, Lois (Rio Rancho, NM, US)
Application Number:
11/359552
Publication Date:
09/07/2006
Filing Date:
02/21/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/08
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Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lois Roccato (1913 Lee Loop NE, Rio Rancho, NM, 87144, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A kicking guide apparatus comprising: an elongate frame with at least two ends; a lever having at least two ends, a first end of said lever pivotally attached to said frame; a kicking foot guide attached to a second end of said lever; and a standing foot guide disposed at one end of said frame.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a horizontal movement assembly linking said lever to said frame.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said horizontal movement assembly comprises a track.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said standing foot guide is rotatable.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising collapsible support legs connected to said frame.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a hand support component.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a rail to support and position said standing foot guide.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said lever is pivotable from an angle of between approximately 30 degrees from horizontal during rest to approximately 30 degrees from horizontal at full extension.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said lever is adjustable in length.

10. A method for improving kicking technique, the method comprising: providing an elongate frame with two ends; disposing a horizontal movement assembly at the frame; pivotally attaching a first end of a lever having at least two ends to the horizontal movement assembly; attaching a kicking foot guide a second end of the lever; disposing a standing foot guide one end of the frame; placing one user's foot on the standing foot guide; placing the other user's foot on the kicking foot guide; and directing the user's execution of a kick and constraining the user's feet during execution of the kick to help guide the user in the execution of the kick.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/654,400 titled “Revolutionizing Movement Instruction”, filed on Feb. 18, 2005, and the specification of that application is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention (Technical Field)

The present invention relates to an apparatus for guiding kicking movements so that a user is taught to kick using efficient and sound technique.

2. Description of Related Art

Athletes seek ways to learn, and their coaches seek to ways to facilitate, effective motor skills to enhance athletic performance. Methods for teaching motor skills include visual and verbal instruction, drills, and practice. Both athletes and non-athletes use exercise and training machines to increase strength, flexibility, and overall physical condition. Traditional exercise and training machines typically employ resistance to exercise muscles, and others improve flexibility and endurance. Some devices provide mechanical guidance for enhancing athletic movement and improving technique in the execution of movement.

For example, patents that describe guides for the movement of limbs include U.S. Pat. No. 5,830,160, U.S. Pat. No. 6,551,221, U.S. Pat. No. 6,612,845, U.S. Pat. No. 6,872,186, U.S. Pat. No. 6,837,820, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,875,135. The described devices and methods do not aid in the development of improved kicking technique.

There is a need for an apparatus and method that eliminate unnecessary movement in the execution of kicks and other movements and that places each human body part and joint in positions that best enhance balance and leverage.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an apparatus and method for guiding kicking movements so that a user is taught to kick using efficient and sound technique. Thus, and embodiment of the present invention provides a kicking guide apparatus comprising an elongate frame with at least two ends, a lever having at least two ends, a first end of the lever pivotally attached to the frame, a kicking foot guide attached to a second end of the lever, and a standing foot guide disposed at one end of the frame. The apparatus preferably further comprises a horizontal movement assembly linking the lever to the frame. The horizontal movement assembly can comprise a track. The standing foot guide is preferably rotatable. The apparatus preferably further comprises collapsible support legs connected to the frame. The apparatus preferably further comprises a hand support component. The apparatus preferably further comprises a rail to support and position the standing foot guide.

The lever is pivotable within any range including, but not limited to, from an angle of between approximately 30 degrees from horizontal during rest to approximately 30 degrees from horizontal at full extension. The lever is preferably adjustable in length.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a method for improving kicking technique, the method comprising providing an elongate frame with two ends, disposing a horizontal movement assembly at the frame, pivotally attaching a first end of a lever having at least two ends to the horizontal movement assembly, attaching a kicking foot guide a second end of the lever, disposing a standing foot guide one end of the frame, placing one user's foot on the standing foot guide, placing the other user's foot on the kicking foot guide, and directing the user's execution of a kick and constraining the user's feet during execution of the kick to help guide the user in the execution of the kick.

An object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for guiding a user's athletic kicking movement along the most efficient path for that movement.

Another object of the present invention is to guide the body through a predetermined range of motion.

Yet another object of the present invention is to help an athlete overcome bad techniques.

An advantage of the present invention is to provide a training method and apparatus that help make unnecessary many years of trial-by-error practice.

Another advantage of the present invention is that it maximizes efficiency of movement.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is that it helps minimize injury, fear, and embarrassment, and it increases confidence and skill.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is that it collapses easily for easy shipping and storage.

Other objects, advantages, and novel features, and further scope of applicability of the present invention will be set forth in part in the detailed description to follow, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings which are incorporated into, and form a part of, the specification, illustrate one or more embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. The drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating one or more preferred embodiments of the invention and are not to be construed as limiting the invention. As shown therein:

FIG. 1 is a top view of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 2 with a user in a position for executing a front kick;

FIG. 3 is a top view of an embodiment of the pivoting standing foot guide component of the present invention;

FIG. 4a is a side view of the kicking foot guide component of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing use during a front kick; and

FIG. 4b is a side view of the kicking foot guide component of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing use during a back kick.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a kicking guide apparatus and method for guiding athletic movement and eliminating unnecessary movement. The apparatus positions body parts and joints in positions that enhance balance and leverage. The apparatus guides the body through a predetermined range of motion that is ideal for proper execution of the athletic movement. The apparatus is adjustable for height and for training both the left side and the right side of the body.

The apparatus is also preferably adjustable laterally and vertically and is preferably collapsible for easy storage and transport. The apparatus may be freestanding or mountable at a door; thus, the apparatus preferably comprises a free standing support structure and alternatively a door mount support structure. The machine guides the movement of the body and limbs in an efficient, specific path. Variable resistance to movement can be added as well as electronic monitoring. The present invention provides athletes with improvement not only in the martial arts but in other athletic activities.

As used in the specification and the claims, the terms “a”, “the”, and “an” mean one or more.

Thus, the apparatus preferably comprises a standing foot guide that preferably rotates, a kicking foot guide comprising a lever pivotally connected to a guide rail, a track, a hip guide, a knee guide, and handle bar.

The apparatus preferably comprises a free standing support structure and alternatively a door mount support structure.

Turning to the figures, FIGS. 1 and 2 are a top view and side view, respectively, of an embodiment of kicking guide apparatus 10 comprising apparatus frame 26. FIG. 2 shows user 100 in position for a front kick.

Stabilizer legs 12 are attached to frame 26 and preferably extend to an external structure such as a door jamb for added stability. Legs 12 are preferably collapsible for easy storage and transport of apparatus 10. Frame 26 comprises track 22 disposed in frame 26 through any means known in the art such as, but not limited to, via the use of rails disposed in frame 26. Lever 18 is pivotally attached from a bottom end to track 22 about pivot 24. Kicking foot rest or guide 16 is attached to a top end of lever 18. Pivot 24 travels along track 22 to a position of greatest kicking extension and then returns to the user's initial position after full extension of the kick. A support structure to aid in balancing, such as one or more adjustable poles 14, is preferably incorporated (by, for example, attaching to frame 26) to enhance the balance of user 100 when grasped by user 100. Standing foot rest or guide 21 is attached to support rail 20, and guide 21 is preferably rotatable. Such rotation can be limited to setting guide 21 to a desired angle with respect to track 22 (and therefore frame 26), depending on the type of kick to be executed, then leaving it in that position. Alternatively, rotation can be free throughout execution of the kick to allow for kicks that require rotation of standing foot 110 during execution of the kick.

At least one hand support component, such as pole 14 is incorporated, such as by attachment to rail 20, using means known in the art to help user 100 maintain balance. The position of pole 14 can be changed to accommodate left and right, front (i.e., forward) and back (i.e., reverse), or side kicks. Support foot guide 21 is repositioned on rail 20 to accommodate the side and back kick of the left and right foot.

In FIGS. 1 and 2, two guides 21 are shown, but it is within the scope of the present invention to use one or more. Because guide 21 can be repositioned along rail 20, it is possible to use one standing foot guide 21. Rotation of guide 21 can be accomplished via any means known in the art such as, but not limited to, the use of a “Lazy Susan” bearing assembly (i.e., adjacent, substantially flat components with bearings therebetween to facilitate the rotation of the flat components relative to each other). FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of the standing foot guide wherein standing foot guide 220 comprises a rotatable platform disposed on a separate platform 210 to interface with rail 200. The right or left foot of user 100 is placed on guide 220. Guide 220 rotates as required to perform a desired kicking movement. Platform 210 can be moved along rail 200 to reposition guide 220 as desired for a given kick or to change standing leg.

FIG. 4a shows a foot of user 100 in a front kick position disposed on kicking foot guide 16 which is disposed on lever 18 about pivot 17 and is preferably angled from the horizontal by, for example, approximately 45 degrees, although any desired angle may be utilized. FIG. 4b shows a foot of user 100 in a side kick position disposed on kicking foot guide 16. Kicking-foot guide 16 comprises an adjustable attachment in the form of a flat platform, with dimensions slightly larger than the length of a foot, mounted, preferably pivotally mounted, on lever 18 by any means known in the art.

Lever 18 is thus attached to frame 26 so that it rotates, or pivots, forward about pivot 24 as kicking leg 110 extends away from user 100 while the foot of standing leg 120 rests on standing foot guide 21 thus maintaining and guiding all feet in the desired efficient and correct position. The range of rotation of lever 18 can be of any desired range such as, but not limited to, up to approximately 30 degrees from horizontal from both the resting and full extension positions (i.e., full extension position being that when user 100 has fully extended kicking leg 110).

When lever 18 reaches its full-forward position it stops rotating about pivot 24 and pivot 24, together with lever 18, travels along track 22 away from user 100, being moved forward by the force of kicking foot 110 against kicking foot guide 16. Pivot 24 travels along a horizontal movement assembly such as track 22 to the point of greatest leg extension using any means known in the art; “horizontal movement” is defined herein as movement along an axial length of frame 26. In effect, track 22 is illustrative of a pivot moving component that may be used to move pivot 24 and lever 18 forward along frame 26. However, any pivot and lever horizontal movement assembly known in the art may be utilized. In this illustrative embodiment, track 22 is preferably bounded on two sides by rails and comprises a slideable mechanism including, but not limited to, pulleys, chains, caterpillar treads, or other similar mechanisms known in the art. As pivot 24 and lever 18 move return toward user 100 during the ending stage of the execution of the kick, 110 is guided back toward user 100 while lever 18 remains in a forward slant position. Thus, when pivot 24 returns to the original starting position, lever 18 rotates about pivot 24 from a forward slant position to a rear slant position as kicking leg 110 is contracted and brought back closer to user 100. Kicking foot pivot 17 and guide 16 can accommodate front kicks, side kicks, back kicks, etc.

Lever 18 is preferably adjustable in length by any means known in the art including, but not limited to, the use of a telescoping lever.

Thus, during use, user 100 stands on leg 110 and kicks with freely movable leg 120. User 100 stands on pivoting or rotating surface of guide 21 (guide 220 in FIG. 3) with the foot of leg 110 resting flat on the rotating surface. The rotating surface may be held securely and stationary with pegs that attach the pivoting surface to the frame or may rotate freely. Guide 21 constrained and guided by rails 20 that are designed to allow the variable positioning of guide 21 along the length of rail 20. Thus, guide 21 may be repositioned on rail 20 by using suitable means known in the art to accommodate both side and back kicks while user 100 stands on either a right foot or a left foot.

The kicking foot is positioned and repositioned on kicking foot guide 16 into proper position for each kick. Kicking foot guide 16 is positioned so that its substantially flat surface is positioned at approximately 45 degrees from the vertical or any other angle preferred for a given kick.

Although the present invention is directed to, and has been described with regard to improving kicking techniques, it is understood that the concepts and components described herein can be utilized in other applications within the scope of the present invention such as, but not limited to, the teaching of effective punching techniques and such embodiments are within the scope of the present invention.

The preceding examples can be repeated with similar success by substituting the generically or specifically described components, mechanisms, materials, and/or operating conditions of this invention for those used in the preceding examples.

Although the invention has been described in detail with particular reference to these preferred embodiments, other embodiments can achieve the same results. Variations and modifications of the present invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications and equivalents. The entire disclosures of all references, applications, patents, and publications cited above are hereby incorporated by reference.