Title:
Grip for sports equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to shafts, handles and hand grips of sports equipment that include concave embedded indentations, such as grooves, dimples or ribs, located along the shaft at a location of frequent hand placement. The finger grooves are specially located and structured to provide the shaft with grips that correspond to the way in which a player grips the shaft to enhance a player's control of the shaft when performing various skills, such as cradling, throwing, shooting, and scooping. The present invention is primarily designed for a lacrosse stick shaft, but is also equally applicable to other sports shafts, such as an ice hockey stick or field hockey stick. The invention may enhance control of the equipment for all level of players and may assist in training novices in hand placement along the shaft for performing various skills.



Inventors:
Appleton, Doug (San Carlos, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/291689
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
12/01/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SV Patent Service (1474 Valcartier Drive, Sunnyvale, CA, 94087, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sports equipment shaft comprising: a first grip portion comprising a first indentation to accommodate a finger of a human hand; and a second grip, comprising a first indentation of the second grip to accommodate at least one finger of a human hand.

2. The sports equipment shaft of claim 1 wherein the apparatus is a shaft for a lacrosse stick.

3. The sports equipment shaft of claim 1, wherein the first grip further comprises a second indentation of the first grip, a third indentation of the first grip, and a fourth indentation of the first grip.

4. The sports equipment shaft of claim 1, wherein the second grip further comprises a second indentation of the second grip, a third indentation of the second grip, and a fourth indentation of the second grip.

5. The sports equipment shaft of claim 2, wherein the first grip is for a top hand of a user when throwing a ball using the lacrosse stick and the second grip is for the placement of a bottom hand of the user when throwing the ball using the lacrosse stick.

6. The sports equipment shaft of claim 3, further comprising: a third grip comprising a first indentation of the third grip to accommodate at least one finger of a human hand, wherein the third grip is for a top hand of a user when cradling a lacrosse ball using the lacrosse stick; and a fourth grip, comprising a first indentation of the fourth grip to accommodate the finger of a human hand, wherein the fourth grip is for a bottom hand of a user when cradling a lacrosse ball using the lacrosse stick.

7. The sports equipment shaft of claim 6, wherein the third grip further comprises a second indentation of the third grip, a third indentation of the third grip, and a fourth indentation of the third grip.

8. The sports equipment shaft of claim 6, wherein the fourth grip further comprises a second indentation of the fourth grip, a third indentation of the fourth grip, and a fourth indentation of the fourth grip.

9. The sports equipment shaft of claim 6, further comprising: a fifth grip comprising a first indentation of the fifth grip to accommodate at least one finger of a human hand, wherein the fifth grip is for a top hand of a user when cradling a lacrosse ball using the lacrosse stick; and a sixth grip, comprising a first indentation of the sixth grip to accommodate at least one finger of a human hand, wherein the sixth grip is for a bottom hand of a user when cradling a lacrosse ball using the lacrosse stick.

10. The a sports equipment shaft of claim 9, wherein the fifth grip further comprises a second indentation of the fifth grip, a third indentation of the fifth grip, and a fourth indentation of the fifth grip.

11. The sports equipment shaft of claim 9, wherein the sixth grip further comprises a second indentation of the sixth grip, a third indentation of the sixth grip, and a fourth indentation of the sixth grip.

12. The sports equipment shaft of claim 9, wherein the fifth grip is located approximately 180° from the first grip.

13. The sports equipment shaft of claim 9, wherein the sixth grip is located approximately 180° from the second grip.

14. A sports equipment shaft comprising at least one indentation for accommodating a human finger.

15. The sports equipment shaft of claim 14, wherein the indentation is approximately round shaped and elongated along the direction of the longitudinal axis of the shaft, and wherein the indentation has a base portion that is flat along the cross-section of the shaft.

16. The sports equipment shaft of claim 14, wherein the indentation is approximately round shaped and elongated in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the shaft, and wherein the indentation has a base portion that is flat along the cross-section of the shaft.

17. The sports equipment shaft of claim 14, wherein the indentation is approximately rectangular shaped, and wherein the indentation may have a generally flat base along the cross-section and the side of the shaft.

18. The sports equipment shaft of claim 14, wherein the indentation extends around the entire circumference of the shaft.

19. A sports equipment shaft comprising a first plurality of indentations extending longitudinally along a first side of the shaft, wherein each indentation in the first plurality of indentations is sized to accommodate a human finger.

20. The sports equipment shaft of claim 19, wherein the shaft further comprises a second plurality of indentations extending longitudinally and continuously on a second side of the shaft, wherein each indentation in the second plurality of indentations is sized to accommodate a human finger.

21. The sports equipment shaft of claim 20, wherein the first side of the shaft is located opposite the second side of the shaft.

22. The sports equipment shaft of claim 19, wherein the first side corresponds to the front side of the sports equipment shaft.

23. The sports equipment shaft of claim 19, wherein the first side corresponds to the back side of the sports equipment shaft.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to shafts, handles and hand grips for sports equipment that include concave embedded indentations, such as grooves, ribs or dimples (hereinafter collectively referred to as “indentations”), located along the shaft at a location of frequent hand placement. The indentations are specially located and structured to provide the shaft with grips that correspond to the way in which a player grasps the shaft to enhance a player's control of the shaft when performing various skills. The present invention is primarily designed for a lacrosse stick shaft, but is also equally applicable to other sports shafts, such as an ice hockey stick or field hockey stick.

Lacrosse is an ancient game that originated with the Native Americans in North America, particularly in the northeastern United States and Canada. Traditionally, lacrosse sticks were made of wood, usually hickory or ash, and were one integrated piece of equipment so the shaft was not a separate and replaceable part. These sticks were handcrafted and varied in quality in terms of strength, weight, feel and balance in the player's hands. These wooden handles were susceptible to breakage, were heavy and had inconsistent quality, which proved disadvantageous from both a playability and safety standpoint. Also, because the shafts and the lacrosse stick head were one integrated piece of equipment, if the shaft broke the entire stick had to be replaced.

In 1967, the molded plastic lacrosse stick head, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,507,495, was developed, which greatly revolutionized the sport of lacrosse. The invention allowed lacrosse sticks to be mass produced, as well as manufactured with consistency in terms of quality and consistency in shape. Wood shafts continued to be used, although they were still susceptible to breakage and were heavy.

In the 1970s, shafts of metallic construction, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,037,841, were developed. These metal shafts, in large measure, replaced the wood lacrosse stick handles, particularly in the men's game. The advantage of such construction was that the metal shafts could be mass produced with uniform quality, strength and weight, and were generally stronger than wood shafts.

Today, lacrosse stick shafts are made from a variety of materials such as aluminum, chrome, aluminum alloy, titanium, Kevlar, scandium, magnesium, and other composite materials, such as graphite loaded plastics, which are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,739,994, and are lighter and in some cases, stronger, than wood or the first metal shafts.

Historically, most improvements to lacrosse stick shafts were directed to the use of new and different materials with minor additional modifications such as knurling or the like as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,206,918. All handles were very basic in their shape, generally octagonal, elliptical, oval, cylindrical, round or hexagonal or a combination thereof in cross-section and all were straight from end to end. Although the straight handles have proved highly satisfactory, a need exists for a handle or shaft that has structural and tactile features which improve stick handling and enhance a player's control of the shaft while performing various skills.

In lacrosse, hockey or other stick sports, players move and change their hand placement along the shaft to perform different skills. In lacrosse in particular, various combinations of hand placement are a critical part of the game, as it is essential for effective stick handling when cradling, scooping, throwing, or shooting the ball. In addition, when shooting or passing the ball, the player needs to have a firm grip on the shaft in order to maximize the force and torque, which produces a faster shot or pass.

Without a firm grip, a player can often lose control of the shaft and the shaft can slip in a player's grasp. This is particularly true given playing and weather conditions such as fatigue, perspiration, cold and hot temperatures, and/or wet weather. In addition, lacrosse and ice hockey require the players to use gloves that protect the hands but which reduce the player's feel and grip on the shaft.

Typically, manufacturers design handles for sports shafts that require variable hand placement without a grip as it makes the manufacturing process easier. To improve grip, players often use athletic or gauze tape on their shafts in locations that coincide with their hand placement in order to improve stick control, produce faster shots, serve as a tactile cue for hand placement when stick handling, and accommodate their individual playing style and preference.

Although these tape alterations may improve grip, it is difficult to build shapes out of the tape that complement finger shape and placement. Furthermore, the tape rarely adheres well to the shaft and tends to peel and wear off over time. Thus, players must constantly remove and replace the tape. Also, if the lacrosse shaft breaks, then the player must re-tape and re-customize his or her new shaft to try to replicate the grip design from the broken shaft.

Other efforts to provide improved grip and control of sticks or handles are separate sports grips applied over a straight shaft. U.S. Pat. No. 6,500,079 to Tucker, Sr., for example, teaches a variable hand placement sports equipment shaft or handle, such as a lacrosse stick, that includes a shaft and at least one overlay attached to the shaft at a location of frequent hand placement that contains ribs, grooves, hourglass and conical shapes. The overlays are preferably made of a material that is soft, pliable, deformable and tacky so as to provide the player with a better grip on the handle. Similar overlays are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,890,355 to Schulten, U.S. Pat. No. 5,482,270 to Smith, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,867,868 to Ward.

Furthermore, modifications to shafts for improved handling are available in the prior art. For example, U.S. Patent Application Publications 2005/0130759 and 2005/0130773, both to Hayden et al., teach lacrosse sticks with a improved grip and feel due to expanded portions and contoured locations for users' hand(s). An inward tapered portion and expanded portion allegedly assist a player in controlling the shaft, cradling a ball, passing and shooting.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,031,161 to Hamel discloses bulbous portions adapted to more comfortably fit the shape of the human hand and grooves to provide inter-engaging portions into which a hand becomes partially molded. U.S. Design Patent D475,425 S shows a cricket bat with a contoured handle, which may accommodate finger gripping. Other types of contoured shafts are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,351,528 to Duplin, U.S. Pat. No. 6,752,730 to Brine, Jr. et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 4,206,918 to Lewis, Jr.

Although contoured sports shafts are generally known for accommodating the human hand, the prior art fails to disclose an integrated contoured grip with indentations, embedded grooves, ribs or dimples in the shaft that may be sized to accept human fingers in order to assist in the controlling of the shaft.

It is therefore an objective of the present invention to provide a grip with embedded indentations in the side of a sports shaft or handle, such as for a lacrosse stick or hockey stick that provides improved handling and control. It is further an objective of the present invention to provide more safe sports equipment that does not slip out from the player's grasp.

The following disclosure describes a novel sports equipment shaft that overcomes the deficiencies of the prior art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following disclosure and claims relate to a stick, pole, shaft, or handle for use in recreational and/or competitive sports. For example, the invention may find application in the areas of lacrosse, ice hockey, and field hockey sticks. More particularly, the present invention relates to a variable hand placement sports equipment shaft or handle that has generally concave, semi-round, indentations, which may be dimples, finger grooves, or ribs, embedded, or pressed into the structure of a sports equipment handle, stick, pole or shaft along the longitudinal plane. The indentations may be sized to accept human fingers and can maximize the resultant force of the fingers grasping the shaft, thereby enhancing the power, stability, firmness, accuracy, and efficiency of the gripping action of the fingers and hand using the shaft. The indentations increase grip friction between the player's hand or glove and the shaft, improve the player's hold on the shaft, and resist the twisting of the shaft. The indentations also may assist in training novices in hand placement and may enhance control of the equipment for all level of players.

The indentations may be placed in locations of frequent hand placement to accommodate the way in which a player moves his hands along the shaft to enhance a player's control of the shaft when performing various skills. Players in any “stick” sports with variable hand placements, such as lacrosse, hockey, and the like can benefit from the invention's strategically located indentations. For example, optimally locating the indentations on a lacrosse stick can improve a player's scooping, cradling, throwing and shooting skills.

According to the present invention, a sports equipment handle, such as a lacrosse stick, may be provided with one or more indentations located along the shaft. According to one embodiment, the indentations may be located along the entire “front” side of the shaft. According to another embodiment, the indentations may be located along the entire “back” side of the shaft. According to yet another embodiment, the indentations may be located on both the front and the back sides of the shaft. According to another embodiment, the indentations may be located in a combination of front and back sides of the shaft to mimic hand placement while performing various skills.

The present invention also applies to any cross-sectional shape of the shaft. For example, if applying the invention in a lacrosse stick, the cross-section may be octagonal, elliptical, oval, tear drop, cylindrical, round, hexagonal or a combination thereof, solid or hollow, and applies equally to men's and women's lacrosse sticks, sticks for players of all sizes and ages, sticks used in competitive or recreational lacrosse, and any size sticks.

The present invention is adaptable to provide unique advantages for different types of players. For example, for experienced players, the present invention can provide improved grip and feel, and can improve stick handling, passing and shooting accuracy, and shot speed. For youth players, the present invention can provide an educational tool for teaching proper hand placement for performing various lacrosse skills, such as scooping, throwing, catching and shooting.

While hand placement along the shaft follows certain general practices, players handle the shafts differently; for example, a player may “choke up” more on the shaft and keep his or her hands closer together. Also, there are different lengths of shafts that are permitted for lacrosse. Under the NCAA men's lacrosse rules, offensive players are permitted to have shorter shafts (with a 40-42″ overall stick length including the stick head) and defensive players may have longer shafts (52″-72″ including the stick head). It is also common for children or box lacrosse players to cut their shafts even further, to either accommodate small hands and bodies of children or to improve stick handling for box lacrosse. The invention can accommodate shafts of different lengths and sizes because the indentations can be provided along the entire length of the shaft to allow for maximum hand placement locations and accommodate the manner in which a player grabs the shaft.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Novel features and advantages of the present invention in addition to those noted above will become apparent to persons of ordinary skill in the art from a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein similar reference characters refer to similar parts and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a lacrosse stick according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a right side elevational view of the lacrosse stick shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a right side elevational view of a lacrosse stick according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a right side elevational view of a lacrosse stick according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a lacrosse stick according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a right side elevational view of the lacrosse stick shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a rear elevational view of the lacrosse stick shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional plan view along line 8-8 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9a is a rear elevational view of a portion of a lacrosse stick showing a first alternative indentation shape;

FIG. 9b is a side elevational view of the lacrosse stick shown in FIG. 9a;

FIG. 9c is a cross-sectional plan view along line 9c-9c of FIG. 9a;

FIG. 10a is an elevational view of a portion of a lacrosse stick showing a second alternative indentation shape;

FIG. 10b is a side elevational view of the lacrosse stick shown in FIG. 10a;

FIG. 10c is a cross-sectional plan view along line 10c-10c of FIG. 10a;

FIG. 11a is a rear elevational view of a portion of a lacrosse stick showing a third alternative indentation shape; and

FIG. 11b is a cross-sectional plan view along line 11b-11b of FIG. 11a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The invention will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1-11. The sports equipment handle of the present invention may be made of any material and used for any sport utilizing equipment with a handle, stick, shaft, or pole with a variable hand placement. For example, the handle may be used for lacrosse, ice hockey or field hockey. The embodiments disclosed relate to the shaft of a lacrosse stick, however, the embodiments are for illustrative purposes only and should not be interpreted to limit the scope of the invention.

FIGS. 1-11 illustrate various embodiments of the invention with respect to a lacrosse stick 10 that comprises a shaft 12 connected to a lacrosse head 14. Lacrosse head is illustrated for orientation, though details of head 14 are omitted for simplicity. Also for simplicity, the part of the lacrosse shaft 12 closest to head 14 will be referred to herein as the “top” of shaft 12, while the part furthest from head 14, and closest to cap 18, will be referred to as the “bottom” of shaft 12. The portion of the shaft facing the same direction as the open net, i.e. the front side 13 of the head, will be referred to as the “front” of shaft 12, while the portion on the same side 15 of the head as the netting, i.e. the back side of the pocket, will be referred to as the “back” of shaft 12.

The present invention applies equally to any type of shaft material—whether wood, aluminum, chrome, aluminum alloy, titanium, Kevlar, scandium, magnesium, and carbon graphite, plastic and other composite materials, or spiral wound laminated wood (“wound wood”) as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/867,541 to Botten et al., which is herein incorporated by reference.

The shaft 12 may be provided with indentations 16, which may be contoured to mimic the shape of a finger on the shaft and shaped to conform to a player's hand to improve grip and torque on the shaft. As will be described in greater detail below, the indentations may have any suitable shape, orientation, and depth to accommodate a player's bare or gloved fingers. For example, the indentations may be generally round, oval, rectangular, or square. The indentations may provide enough of a grip for a player to control the stick handle with one hand while dodging opposing players; yet the indentations are not tacky, thus allowing a player's hands to shift and slide into various positions. The indentations 16 may be formed in a variety of ways. For example, if shaft 12 is wooden, the indentations may be filed, burned, or cut into the wood, or if the shaft is made of “wound wood” as referenced herein, it may be pressed or molded in the wood or may be provided in any other suitable manner. In the event the stick is metal or other composite material, the indentations may be formed by melting, molding, casting, bending, deforming, or shaping the shaft in any other suitable manner.

As shown in FIGS. 1 through 8, indentations 16 are separated by peaks 24. Peaks 24 may be curved, pointed, and/or flat and may vary in length to provide separation between adjacent indentations. The design and shape of the peaks may be selected based upon desired feel and finger separation. Indentations 16 and peaks 24 may be appropriately sized and spaced for the average sized hand of a player or customized for a player with a particular sized hand.

The shaft may have any number of indentations on the front, back and/or sides of the shaft. Indentations 16 may train and encourage optimal hand placement for various skills. Sufficiently skilled players may find that indentation placement and design enhances grip, comfort and/or performance.

According to a first embodiment of the invention, the front side of lacrosse shaft 12 is provided with indentations 16. The indentations may be provided in any portion of the shaft 12 or may be provided along the entire length, as shown, for example, in FIGS. 1 and 2. The placement of the indentations on the front side of the shaft has the advantage that a player can easily feel which direction the head 14 is facing. This acts as a tactile cue, so that a player can correctly position his or her hands for throwing without looking at the stick. Placing the indentations on the front side of the shaft provides a player that is throwing overhand with improved grip and a faster throw or shot.

According to a second embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 3, the indentations 16 are located on the back side of shaft 12 and may be provided in any portion of the shaft 12 or may extend the entire length of the shaft 12. Locating the indentations 16 on the back side of the shaft has the advantage of being a tactile cue for determining proper hand positioning during cradling and underhand or sidearm throwing. By feeling the grooves, a player knows which direction the head is facing and can correctly position his or her hands without looking at the stick.

According to a third embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, the indentations are on both sides of shaft 12. Placing indentations on both sides of the shaft provides a shaft with improved grip for underhand maneuvers, such as cradling, scooping and underhand or sidearm throwing, and overhand maneuvers such as overhand throwing or shooting.

According to a fourth embodiment, shown in FIGS. 5-7, the indentations are strategically located to correspond to the areas in which most players place their hands to use the lacrosse stick. These areas are generally on or near both ends of shaft to correspond with the top and bottom hand placement, and in the middle when the top hand slides down into the passing or shooting position. Another hand placement is located approximately ¾ down the length of the shaft for the top hand position when shooting side arm or underhand. This has the advantage of being a tactile cue for determining proper hand positioning, as a player can easily slide his or her hand from a scooping or cradling position with the top hand close to the head of the shaft, and then slide the top hand down to the middle position when shooting or passing. By feeling the grooves, a player knows in which direction the head is facing and where the point of maximum grip, power and torque are located. Therefore, a player can correctly position his or her hands without looking at the stick.

Although the front of the shaft 12 may have any number of indentations 16, according to the fourth embodiment, shown in FIG. 5, four indentations 16 may be provided at the top of the shaft to form a first grip 20 and four indentations 16 may be provided at the bottom of the shaft to form a second grip 22. A group of, for example, four indentations 16 may be collectively referred to as a grip. A grip may have more indentations 16 to allow a player more variety in hand placement. Each grip may accommodate the fingers of the player's hands. Either grip may be used for the left or right hand, depending on player preference. Grips 20 and 22 train and encourage optimal hand placement for throwing and shooting. Players already skilled in this technique may find that the grip placement and design enhances comfort and/or performance.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show four grip positions 26, 28, 30 and 32. Grip 26 promotes proper top hand cradling and better top hand cradling performance. Grip 30 may also teach the technique of cradling the stick close to the body by placing the top hand on grip 26 and the bottom hand on grip 30.

Grips 28 and 32 teach and foster proper cradling, underhand throwing, and sidearm throwing. Placing grips 28 and 32 opposite grips 20 and 22 allows the player to quickly shift from one grip position to the other. As the player develops, the grips continue to enhance stick handling performance and comfort.

The embodiments described above correspond to a 30-32 inch shaft as is a standard length for an offensive stick in men's lacrosse. The invention may also be used for a defense stick, which is longer in length than the offensive stick, for a goalie stick, or for a youth, box-lacrosse, recreational stick, women's lacrosse stick or other stick with a custom length. The peaks or indentations may be any shape, size or length to accommodate the proper, optimal, and/or comfortable positioning of the player's hands and fingers.

The indentations 16 shown in FIGS. 1-7 are illustrated as round shapes that are elongated along the direction of the shaft. As the elevational view illustrates, the indentations may be concave or semicircular shaped when viewed from the side of the shaft 12. As the cross-section shown in FIG. 8 illustrates, the indentations 16 may have a base portion 34 that is flat along the cross-section to accommodate a player's hands or fingers. The base 34 of indentation 16 may alternatively have a cross-sectional shape along the cross-section of the shaft 12 that more gradually resembles the contours of the non-indented portions of shaft 12 and, correspondingly, a player' hands. For example, if shaft 12 has a circular cross-section, as shown in FIG. 8, base 34 may be contoured to resemble the rounded shape of the shaft 12.

The embodiments regarding indentation placement, described with reference to FIGS. 1-8 above, are not limited to generally round shaped indentations that are elongated along the direction of the shaft. For example, FIGS. 9-11 illustrate various exemplary alternative indentation shapes. Although the cross-sections shown FIGS. 8, 9c, 10c, and 11b illustrate the invention with a hollow shaft, the invention is also applicable with a solid shaft. Additionally, FIGS. 9-11 are not drawn to scale and represent only a portion of shaft 12.

FIGS. 9a-c illustrate a first alternative indentation shape in which rounded shapes are elongated in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of shaft 12. The indentations 16, which may have a concave or semicircular shape when viewed from the side of the shaft 12, as shown in FIG. 9b, may have a base portion 34 that is flat along the cross-section, as shown in FIG. 9c, to accommodate a player's hands or fingers. As discussed above with reference to FIG. 8, the base 34 of indentation 16 may alternatively have a cross-sectional shape along the cross-section of the shaft 12 that more gradually resembles the contours of the non-indented portions of shaft 12 and, correspondingly, a player' hands.

Another alternative indentation shape, shown in FIGS. 10a-10c, may have a generally rectangular shape. According to this embodiment, indentation 16 may have a generally flat base 36 along the cross-section and/or the side of the stick. As mentioned previously with regard to FIG. 8, base 36 of indentation 16 may alternatively have a shape along the cross-section of shaft 12 that more closely resembles the cross-section of shaft 12. The indentations 16 may be provided with sloped or curved side portions 38, as shown in FIG. 10b.

FIGS. 11a and 11b show a third alternative indentation shape. According to this embodiment, the indentations 16 extend around the entire circumference of the shaft 12. Therefore, the base 39 of indentation 16 may have a uniformly curved shape along the cross-section of the shaft 12 to provide circular grooves to accommodate a player's fingers. The indentation 16 may have a flat, curved or convex side profile, i.e. when viewed from a side of the shaft 12. Indentations 16 may additionally be provided with a sloped, curved, or beaded portion 40 for comfort, aesthetics and/or performance.

The foregoing description of the invention illustrates and describes the present invention. Additionally, the disclosure shows and describes only the preferred embodiments of the invention, but it is to be understood that the invention is capable of use in various other combinations, modifications, and environments and is capable of changes or modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed herein, commensurate with the above teachings, and/or the skill or knowledge in the art of sports equipment manufacture. Accordingly, the description is not intended to limit the invention to the form disclosed herein. Also, it is intended that the appended claims be construed to include alternative embodiments.