Title:
Racket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A racket includes a handle, a frame connected to the handle and having a longitudinal axis extending from and aligned with the handle, and a stringed web supported on the frame. The frame has two ends that are opposite to each other along the longitudinal axis. The stringed web is formed by a plurality of intersecting longitudinal strings and transversal strings defining a plurality of meshes. The longitudinal strings and the transversal strings together further define a primary ball-striking portion on a substantially central portion of the stringed web, and the meshes located in the primary ball-striking portion gradually increase in size in a direction from one of the two ends to the other one of the two ends of the frame.



Inventors:
Chang, Chia-yuan (Kaohsiung Hsien, TW)
Chang, Feng-hsiang (Kaohsiung Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
11/977018
Publication Date:
05/01/2008
Filing Date:
10/22/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEIDE & MILLER, LTD. (10655 Park Run Drive SUITE 100, LAS VEGAS, NV, 89144, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A racket for ball games comprising: a handle; a frame connected to said handle and having a longitudinal axis extending from and aligned with said handle, said frame further having one end connected to said handle and another end opposite to said handle; and a stringed web supported on said frame and formed by a plurality of longitudinal strings running generally parallel to said longitudinal axis and a plurality of transversal strings running generally perpendicular to said longitudinal axis and intersecting said longitudinal strings to define a plurality of meshes, said longitudinal strings and said transversal strings together further defining a primary ball-striking portion substantially on a central portion of said stringed web and a secondary ball-striking portion extending around said primary ball-striking portion; wherein said meshes located in said primary ball-striking portion gradually decreases in size in a direction from said one end of said frame to said another end of said frame.

2. The racket of claim 1 wherein the distance between two adjacent ones of said transversal strings in said primary ball-striking portion gradually decreases in a direction from said one end to said another end of said frame.

3. The racket of claim 1 or 2, wherein the distance between two adjacent ones of said longitudinal strings in said primary ball-striking portion gradually decreases in a direction from said one end to said another end of said frame.

Description:

PRIOR APPLICATION DATA

This application claims priority to Taiwan Application No. 95139333, entitled Racket which is entitled to a priority date of Oct. 25, 2006.

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a racket for ball games, more particularly to a racket for ball games having a stringed web that may be combined with a handle of different rigidity or flexibility so as to produce various ball-striking effects and to fit users or players of various playing skill and strength, and specifically a 10 stringed web that produces a greater ball striking effect, so as to extensively increase the speed of racket swing and ball rebound as well as stability in hitting.

2. Related Art

FIG. 1 shows a conventional racket 1 for ball games comprising a handle 3 and a racket head with a frame 2 connected to the handle 3 and supporting a stringed web 4 that forms the hitting face of the racket 1. A badminton racket with a substantially oval-shape racket head is described herein as the representative prior art, and the shuttlecock used in relation thereto is termed herein generally as the “ball.”

The frame 2 has a lower end 21 connected to the handle 3 and an upper end 22 opposite to the handle 3. A longitudinal axis X extends from the lower end 21 to the upper end 22.

The handle 3 includes a shaft portion 32 connected to the frame 2 and a grip portion 31 connected to the shaft portion 32. The shaft portion 32 is generally made of alloy (such as titanium alloy or aluminum alloy) or composite material 2 (such as carbon fibers).

A stringed web 4 is formed by a plurality of longitudinal strings 41 running generally parallel to the longitudinal axis X, and a plurality of transversal strings 42 running generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis X and intersecting the longitudinal strings 41 to define a plurality of meshes 40. The longitudinal strings 41 and transversal strings 42 further define a primary ball-striking portion C on a substantially central region of the web 4 and a secondary ball-striking portion D extending from the outer periphery of the primary ball-striking portion C to the frame 2. The secondary ball-striking portion D has an upper section D2 extending from the primary ball-striking portion C to the upper end 22 of the frame 2 and a lower section D1 extending from the primary ball-striking portion C to the lower end 21 of the frame 2. The meshes 40 located within the primary ball-striking portion C, defined by the longitudinal strings 41 and the transversal strings 42, are substantially equal in size. The distance between two adjacent transversal strings 42 located at the lower section D1 outside the primary ball-striking portion C gradually increases in a direction towards the lower end 21 of the frame 2. Similarly, the distance between two adjacent ones of the transversal strings 42 located at the upper section D2 outside the primary ball-striking portion C gradually increases in a direction toward the upper end 22 of the frame 2. In other words, the meshes 40 located outside the primary ball-striking portion C gradually increase in size in a direction from around the primary ball-striking portion C toward the lower end 21 and toward the upper end 22 of the frame 2.

By such design of the racket 1, assuming that all the strings of the web 4 are equally tensioned on the frame 2, the primary ball-striking portion C, where the transversal strings are more closely spaced and the meshes 40 are smaller in size, is provided with a stiffer ball-hitting face and consequently produces greater ball rebound speed. The optimal ball-hitting area, called the “sweet spot” of the racket 1 falls mainly on the center of the primary ball-striking portion C. When the impact of the ball is at the center of the primary ball-striking portion C, an excellent hitting force is produced thus achieving a solid ball-striking effect.

Under the same force applied to hit the ball, a greater arm of force will produce a greater torque. Thus, because the distance from the grip portion 31 to the upper section D2 is longer than to the primary ball-striking portion C, when the ball hits the upper section D2, the ball rebound force is large and the flying speed of the ball is fast. In contrast, since the distance from the grip portion 31 to the lower section D1 is less than to the center of the primary ball-striking portion C, when the ball hits the lower section D1, the ball rebound force as well as the flying speed is reduced.

Players with ordinary playing skill and normal strength are usually not able to make center hits, i.e., to hit the ball exactly at the center, which is the sweet spot, of the primary ball-striking portion C, and thus, a good hit is seldom produced, much less a solid ball-striking effect. Furthermore, as the stiffness of the striking face of the stringed web 4 gradually decreases in a direction toward the upper region of the primary ball-striking portion C, the ball rebound force generated at the upper region decreases accordingly. This limits the ball-striking effect even when a player of good skill and strength tries to produce a stronger ball hitting effect by hitting the ball at the upper region of the primary ball-striking portion C where the arm of force is longer.

In addition, for players with ordinary playing skill and normal strength, if the racket 1 has a shaft portion 32 that is more flexible and less rigid, swinging the racket can be more comfortable and relaxed; however, an excellent ball striking effect cannot be achieved if the ball is not hit at the sweet spot of the racket face. Meanwhile, to those players with good skill and strength, if the racket 1 is made of a shaft portion 32 that is less flexible and more rigid, the racket 1 can be swung at greater speed, however, the ball rebound speed and the hitting force are still subject to some limitations as explained above.

In view of this, in terms of the design of rackets in general, even if the shaft portion 32 can be made more flexible or more rigid as required, this still cannot satisfy the demands of different players with different skill and strength.

SUMMARY

Various embodiments are disclosed herein for overcoming the drawbacks in the prior art and for providing additional advantages and benefits for the invention associated therewith.

It would be advantageous to provide a racket with a stringed web capable of generating various ball-striking effects when combined with a shaft portion of different rigidity or flexibility to suit players of different skill and strength. It would particularly be advantageous to provide a racket with a stringed web which produces greater ball swing impact and ball rebound speed and stability in hitting.

The racket according to the present invention comprises a handle, a frame connected to the handle, and has a longitudinal axis extending from and aligned with the handle. The frame further having two ends that are opposite to each along the longitudinal axis, and a stringed web supported on the frame and formed by a plurality of longitudinal strings running generally parallel to the longitudinal axis and a plurality of transversal strings running generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and intersecting the longitudinal strings to define a plurality of meshes, the longitudinal strings and the transversal strings together further defining a primary ball-striking portion on a substantially central portion of the stringed web and a secondary ball-striking portion extending around the primary ball-striking portion, characterized by the fact that meshes located in the primary ball-striking portion gradually increase in size in a direction from one of the two ends of the frame to the other one of the two ends of the frame.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the frame has one end connected to the handle and another end opposite to the handle, and the meshes gradually increase in size from the other end to the one end of the frame or, in other words, the meshes gradually decrease in size from the one end to the other end of the frame. By such design, the stiffness of the upper section of the primary ball-striking portion can be enhanced, and a greater striking force on the ball can be affected. Thus, when a player of good skill and strength takes an offensive attack, he has the option, if he considers it necessary, to hit the ball at the upper section of the primary ball striking area to lengthen the arm of force to thereby produce greater power when hitting the ball. An even greater power when hitting the ball is produced with a racket made of a shaft portion that is more rigid and less flexible, resulting in even greater ball rebound speed and stability.

Therefore, by such design of the stringed web and by varying the stiffness or flexibility of the shaft portion, various ball striking effects may be produced to suit different players of different skill and strength.

Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating a conventional prior art racket structure.

FIG. 2 is a plan view illustrating the racket of the present invention according to a first preferred embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, enlarged view showing the mesh design of the stringed web of the racket in the first preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a second preferred embodiment of the racket according to the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, enlarged view showing the mesh design of the stringed web of the racket in the second preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The embodiments of the invention described herein may include any one or more of the features described in relation to other inventions. As such, various different embodiments may be configured with any element, feature, or step, disclosed herein, either alone or in combination.

Referring to FIG. 2 in conjunction with FIG. 3, a racket 5 according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown therein. The racket 5 comprises a handle 7, a frame 6 extending from the handle 7 and a stringed web 8 supported on the frame 6. In this embodiment, a badminton racket is described, but the present invention is not limited thereto and is applicable as well to other types of rackets such as tennis racket, squash racket and the like, all of which may be produced according to the concept of the present invention.

The frame 6 has a longitudinal axis X extending from and aligned with the handle 77 and two ends 61, 62 that are opposite to each other along the longitudinal axis X, one end 61 being connected to the handle 7 and the other end 62 being opposite the handle 7.

The handle 7 includes a shaft portion 72 connected to the end 61 of the frame 2 and a grip portion 71 connected to the shaft portion 72.

The stringed web 8 is formed by a plurality of longitudinal strings 81 running generally parallel to the longitudinal axis X and a plurality of transversal strings 82 running generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis X and intersecting the longitudinal strings 81 to define a plurality of meshes 80. The longitudinal strings 81 and transversal string 82 together further define a primary ball-striking portion A (the area bounded by the imaginary line as shown in FIG. 3), and a secondary ball-striking portion B which is the remaining portion of the stringed web 8 located at the outer bounds of the primary ball-striking portion A.

In this embodiment, the meshes 80 bounded by the longitudinal strings 81 and transversal strings 82 and located in the primary ball-striking portion A gradually increase in size in a direction from the end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6. This is achieved by gradually increasing the distance between two adjacent ones of the transversal strings 82 located in the primary ball-striking portion A in a direction from the end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6, and/or by gradually increasing the distance between two adjacent ones of the longitudinal strings 82 located in the primary ball-striking portion A from the end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6.

As the meshes 80 gradually increase in size in a direction from the end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6, the stiffness of the stringed web 80, and hence the rebound force on the ball, conversely decreases gradually in that direction. Meanwhile, as stated above, under the same force of swinging a racket, the greater the arm of force the greater is the torque generated, i.e., the greater the distance from the grip portion 7 1 to the spot where the ball is hit, the greater is the hitting force on the ball. Thus, the torque produced in striking the ball increases gradually in a direction from the end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6. Simply put, the larger the mesh size of the stringed web 8, the less is the rebound force on the ball and vice versa, and the greater the distance of the impact spot to the grip portion 71, the greater is the striking force on the ball, and vice versa. Accordingly, by the design of the racket 5 in this embodiment, the increase in the striking force on the ball in the upper area of the primary ball-striking portion A can compensate for the rebound force that is reduced due to the decrease in mesh size, and thus, the sweet spot can be evenly distributed over the entire primary ball-striking portion A. Consequently, regardless of where on the primary ball striking portion A the ball is hit, the striking force on the ball is rendered substantially uniform.

Thus, even if a player of ordinary skill and strength failed to hit the ball at the intended striking point on the primary ball-striking portion A, because the forces generated by the entire primary ball-striking portion A to strike the ball tend to be uniform, a solid and ideal ball-striking effect can still be achieved. Additionally, if the racket 5 is made of a shaft portion 72 that is less rigid and is more flexible, a more relaxed and comfortable feeling of swinging the racket 5 can be provided. In view of this, the racket 5 according to this embodiment is suitable for players with ordinary playing skill and strength.

Referring to FIG. 4 in conjunction with FIG. 5, a second preferred embodiment of the racket 5 according to the present invention shown therein similarly comprises a handle 7, a frame 6 connected to the handle 7, and a stringed web 8 supported on the frame 6. As in the first embodiment, a badminton racket is illustrated as an example. The structural design described in the present invention may be used to produce a tennis racket, a squash racket and the like, and shall not be limited to the badminton racket described in this embodiment.

The second embodiment differs from the first in that, the meshes 80 located in the primary ball-striking portion A and bounded by the longitudinal strings 81 and the transversal strings 82 gradually increase in size in a direction from the other end 62, which is the end opposite to the handle 7, to the one end 61, which is the end connected to the handle 7, of the frame 6. That is, in contrast to the first embodiment, the second embodiment has meshes 80 in the primary ball-striking portion A that gradually decrease in size in a direction from the one end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6.

In this embodiment, the distance between two adjacent transversal strings 82 located in the primary ball-striking portion A of the stringed web 8 gradually increases in a direction from the other end 62 to the one end 61 of the frame 6 or, in other words, the distance between two adjacent ones of the transversal strings 82 located in the primary ball-striking portion A of the stringed web 8 gradually decreases in a direction from the one end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6. Furthermore, the distance between two adjacent ones of the longitudinal strings 81 located in the primary ball-striking portion A of the stringed web 8 also gradually increases in a direction from the other end 62 to the one end 61 of the frame 6, that is, the distance between two adjacent ones of the longitudinal strings 81 located in the primary bail-striking portion A of the stringed web 8 gradually decreases in a direction from the one end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6.

By such design of the racket 5 according to this embodiment, the stiffest portion of the stringed web 8 with the greatest resulting torque is concentrated at the upper section of the primary ball-striking portion A (the area closer to the upper end 62 of the frame 6). As the meshes 80 gradually decreases in size in a direction from the one end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6, the stiffness of the stringed web 8 conversely gradually increases in that direction. Moreover, since under the same force applied to swing the racket 5, the greater the arm of force the greater is the torque produced, the torque generated on hitting the ball gradually increases in a direction from the one end 61 to the other end 62 of the frame 6. Accordingly, at the upper section of the primary ball-striking portion A, because the stiffness of the stringed web 8 and the torque resulting therefrom are increased, a very large hitting force can be generated against the ball.

When a player of good skill and strength makes a powerful strike at the ball, he has the option of striking the ball at the upper section of the primary ball-striking portion A so as to generate a strong ball striking force. In addition, the racket 5 may be made with a shaft portion 72 that is more stiff and less flexible, so that the strong ball striking force against the ball can be enhanced even more, thereby increasing the power of the racket 5 and the ball rebound speed, and consequently achieving a powerful ball striking effect. Accordingly, the racket 5 in this embodiment is more suitable for players of good skill and strength.

Specifically, with the longitudinal strings 81 diverging from the end 62 of the frame 6, hitting force is redirected to the end 62 of the frame 6, vibration is reduced, the sweet spot is enlarged, and stability in hitting is increased. Furthermore, as the meshes in the upper section of the racket face are smaller than those at the lower section near the handle, the upper section imposes larger force than the lower section, and thus the ball is drawn inward toward the player so that the chances of dropping the racket are reduced and, in turn, the chances of hitting back are increased. In addition, because of the pattern of meshed strings, the lower section with more loose meshes will tend to deform on impact of the ball, and the deformed strings will better hold the ball and stabilize it in hitting back. As a result, a 30% increase in the force in serving the ball, a 30% increase in the force in driving the ball from the bottom line, and a 30% increase in the force in volleying can be achieved in the racket of the present invention according to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.

According to the present invention, the racket 5 may be arranged to suit players of different skill and strength by providing the shaft portion 72 with different hardness or rigidity. At the same time, the player may select the appropriate ball striking point on the primary ball-striking portion A to hit the ball so as to produce different impact force against the ball and thereby achieve the objectives of the present invention.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible that are within the scope of this invention. In addition, the various features, elements, and embodiments described herein may be claimed or combined in any combination or arrangement.