Title:
Training mitten and glove and methods therefor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training mitten and/or glove and methods of use thereof for training how to field is provided. The training mitten and training glove each separately comprise a thumb portion, finger portions and a hand portion bearing a design of an alligator's head, eyes, mouth and teeth. The training glove and training mitten may be modified to include two and three dimensional structure to accentuate characteristics of the head of an alligator. Artwork designs of features of an alligator are included with the training mitten and glove. An educational training and/or safety method for teaching how to field a ball is also provided and comprises the step of holding a training glove or a first training mitten in near proximity to a second training mitten in an open position and securing a ball by holding the training glove or a first training mitten in near proximity to a second training mitten in a closed position.



Inventors:
Patel, Ajay (Blenheim, NJ, US)
Mauz, Eric (Turnersville, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/982693
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
11/01/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/158, 2/161.1, 2/167, 434/247
International Classes:
A41D13/08; A41D19/00; A41D19/01; A41D19/015; A63B69/00
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Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DILWORTH PAXSON LLP (2 Research Way Suite 103, Princeton, NJ, 08540, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A training mitten for use in training to field a ball, the training mitten comprising a thumb portion; finger portions; a hand portion, wherein the thumb portion, the finger portions and the hand portion of the training mitten comprises two dimensional material depicting a synthetic surface of alligator skin.

2. The mitten or glove of claim 1, wherein the mitten or glove comprises three dimensional structure of material that depicts anatomy of an alligator head and mouth.

3. The mitten or glove of claim 2, wherein the three dimensional structure of material comprises at least one of alligator eyes, teeth, tongue or ears.

4. A training glove for use in training to field a ball, the training glove comprising a thumb portion; finger portions; a hand portion, wherein the thumb portion, the finger portions and the hand portion of the training glove comprises two dimensional material depicting a synthetic surface of alligator skin.

5. The training glove of claim 4, wherein the training glove comprises three dimensional structure of material that depicts anatomy of an alligator head and mouth.

6. The training glove of claim 5, wherein the three dimensional structure of material comprises eyes, teeth, tongue ears.

7. An educational training method for fielding balls, the method comprising the steps of wearing a training glove or a first training mitten in near proximity to a second training mitten in an open position and securing a ball by holding the training glove or first training mitten in near proximity to the second training mitten in a closed position.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the method comprises the step of wearing the training glove and the second training mitten.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein the method comprises the step of wearing the first training mitten and the second training mitten.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO PRIOR PENDING APPLICATION

This application claims the priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/855,978, filed Nov. 1, 2006, entitled “TRAINING MITTEN AND GLOVES AND METHODS THEREFOR,” the entireties of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a training mitten and training glove and methods of use thereof for training individuals how to field a ball.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Little league baseball alone estimates that there are over 200,000 teams in the United States. As is well known, youth baseball is a growing international sport. More and more, a significant portion of all of these teams includes tee ball for young children as young as 4 years old. The demand for a training device to help these young children become better fielders is growing with the start of every season.

With 200,000 teams nationwide, Little League baseball is a large industry. Furthermore, two of the largest baseball leagues, Little League Baseball and Bath Ruth Baseball, carry an estimated 6 million ball players. A significant portion of this is the tee ball experience for young players.

According to Tee ball USA, participation in Tee ball is estimated at 2.2 million players. 65% are boys, 35% are girls. It has a strong number of participants, with an estimated 18+ million American families with youth at Tee ball age. Tee ball USA also emphasizes the purpose of Tee ball by describing it as an entry level sport to baseball and softball for young players. Tee ball USA further emphasizes that Tee ball develops the primary baseball skills of hitting, running, fielding and throwing.

Teaching children the fundamentals of fielding is a difficult task and presents a variety of problems. Children naturally prefer to simply jump, dive, or smash the ball as it approaches, rather than field it in traditional ways with a glove. Children also have low attention spans and cannot be instructed using traditional methods. Moreover, children may grasp the concept of fielding at first, but are likely to forget it. Children love to play simple games and make pretend. In doing so, children have a higher rate of retention.

The present invention was designed to address these problems. Accordingly, there is a present need for a training mitten and/or glove that is designed to promote fielding while, at the same time, allows children to play a game and pretend. The training mitten and/or glove of the present invention are designed with design features of an alligator head and mouth. The training mitten and/or glove are designed to be used in combination or alone to train children how to field a ball. Moreover, the training mitten and/or glove promotes understanding of the game, the skills of fielding, and do so by eliminating the potential for injury. In particular, the training mitten and/or glove provides ease of instruction of fielding and retention of the concept of fielding. An added benefit of the training mitten and/or glove is that it reduces the chance of injury resulting from being struck by a ball. In other words, it provides a safety feature to cut down on injuries to children.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a training mitten and/or glove. The training mitten comprises a thumb portion, finger portions and a hand portion bearing a design of an alligator's head, eyes, mouth, tongue and teeth. The training mitten may be modified to include two and three dimensional structures to accentuate physical characteristics of the head and mouth of an alligator. The training mitten may also include a web provided between a thumb portion and a finger portion of the mitten. The finger portions may optionally be stitched together. Artwork designs of features of an alligator are included with the training mitten. Optionally, a second training mitten may be provided with a design of the lower mouth of an alligator.

For training or fielding, a first mitten may be used with a second mitten to create the visual effect of an alligator capable of gobbling up a baseball. The alligator design features are useful as an educational tool to teach children how to field a ball. The training mitten may also be referred to as an educational mitten for teaching fielding. The training mitten may also be referred to as a safety mitten for teaching fielding.

The present invention also provides a training glove comprising a thumb portion, finger portions and a hand portion bearing a design of an alligator's head, eyes, mouth, teeth and tongue. The training glove may be based on a traditional fielder's glove. The training glove may be modified with suitable material to include additional two and three dimensional structure to accentuate physical characteristics of the head of an alligator or other animal. Artwork designs of features of an alligator are included with the training glove.

For training or fielding, the training glove may be used alone or in combination with a training mitten to create the visual effect of an alligator capable of gobbling up a baseball. The mitten would be provided as the second mitten previously discussed with features of a lower mouth of an alligator. In such cases, the training glove and the second mitten may be in a first opened position wherein the base of the palms of a user are in near proximity with the fingers of each hand spread out to create the visual effect of an open alligator mouth. Also, the training glove and the second mitten may be in a second closed position wherein the hands of the user are pressed together around a ball to create the visual effect of a closed alligator mouth. The alligator design features are useful as an educational tool to teach children how to field a ball. The training glove may also be referred to as an educational glove for teaching fielding. Moreover the training glove may also be a safety glove to faciliate the teaching of fielding while also reducing the risk of injury because the training glove teaches how to properly field of ball.

The present invention also provide an educational training and/or safety method for teaching how to field a ball. The educational training and/or safety method comprises the step of holding a training glove or a first training mitten in near proximity to a second training mitten and in an open position and securing a ball by holding the training glove or a first training mitten in near proximity to a second training mitten in a closed position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is rear perspective view of a first training mitten of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is front perspective view of a first training mitten of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is rear perspective view of a training mitten of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of a first training mitten of the present invention without webbing;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view a training glove of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of a training glove shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is another side perspective view of a training glove shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is another side perspective view of a training glove of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is another front perspective view of the training glove shown in FIG. 5; and

FIG. 10 is a side perspective view of a first training mitten and a second training mitten of the present invention used to catch a ball.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

In the specification, the present invention is described in detail with reference to accompanying FIGS. 1 through 9 which illustrate embodiments of the invention. The present invention may be embodied in different forms and should not be construed to be limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, the disclosed embodiments are provided for a thorough and complete disclosure that fully conveys the scope of the invention to a skilled artisan in the area of sporting goods products.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 4, a training mitten 10 is provided by the present invention. The training mitten 10 comprises a thumb portion 12, finger portions 14 and a hand portion 16 bearing a design of an alligator's head 18, eyes 20, mouth 22 and teeth 24. The training mitten 10 may also include a web 26, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, provided between thumb portion 12 and a finger portions 14 of the training mitten 10. The finger portions 14 may optionally be stitched together. Artwork designs of features of an alligator are included with the training mitten 10. As an example and as depicted in FIGS. 1 through 4, a first exterior surface of a first mitten may comprise a design of the top of an alligator's head 18, neck 28, eyes 20, teeth 24 and mouth 22. A second surface of the first mitten may comprise designs of an interior of an alligator's interior mouth 30 and teeth 24 as shown particularly in FIG. 2.

Referring now to FIG. 10, a second mitten 50 is provided for use with the first training mitten 10. The second training mitten 50 may comprise a design of the bottom of an alligator's neck 52 along a first exterior surface and a design of the interior of an alligator's mouth 54 including teeth 24 and a tongue 56 along a second exterior surface.

The training mitten 10 and the training mitten 50 are designed to fit around a user's hands in a relatively secure fit. As such, the user may throw a ball 100 wearing either the training mitten 10 or the training mitten 50. The training mitten 10 and the training mitten 50 may be designed for use with right handed, left handed and ambidextrous users. The training mitten 10 may be placed on the user's fielding hand, the hand used predominantly to field a ball. The training mitten 50 may be placed on the user's throwing hand, the hand used predominantly to throw a ball.

Training mitten 10 or training mitten 50 either alone or in combination, as shown in FIG. 10, may be used to train children to become comfortable with the concept of fielding a baseball. It also is designed to replicate an alligator's mouth. The baseball becomes an object that the alligator likes to eat. Children view this as a game, and when the ball is rolled to them they use training mitten 10 and/or training mitten 50 to pretend as if they are the alligator eating the baseball. Essentially they learn to use two hands when fielding. Those familiar with baseball understand this to be a very important concept that when learned early on will lead to better fielders, and less injuries as well.

For training or fielding and as illustrated in FIG. 10, the first mitten 10 and the second mitten 50 may be used together in combination to create the visual effect of an alligator capable of gobbling up a baseball. In such cases, the training mitten 10 and the second mitten 50 may be in a first opened position, shown in FIG. 10, wherein the base of the palms of a user are in near proximity with the fingers of each hand spread out to create the visual effect of an open alligator mouth. Also, the training mitten 10 and the second mitten 50 may be in a second closed position wherein the hands of the user are pressed together around a ball 100 to create the visual effect of a closed alligator mouth. The alligator design features are useful as an educational tool to teach children how to field a ball. The training mitten may also be referred to as an educational mitten for teaching fielding.

The underlying structure of the training mitten 10 or training mitten 50 to which the alligator artwork is attached may be leather, neoprene, plastic, polyester or other suitable and resilient material suitable for teaching fielding and also having affixed thereto two and three dimensional designs of a neck, head and mouth of an alligator or other animal. The materials also may comprise a woven material. Paint, dye or other suitable coloring agent may be used to provide suitable color to the present invention. The training mitten 10 may include padding. The training mitten 50 may also comprise a light grade full glove configuration. The material may be configured to have an alligator skin feeling.

Attention must be drawn to the detail of training mitten 10 as shown in FIGS. 1 through 4. Both gloves provide the “alligator” skin look and feel and also color. This adds greatly to the child's imagination that he/she is playing a game. It aids in helping he/she believe that his/her arm is now an alligator. One must also note the size of training mitten 10 and training mitten 50. They are more form fitting which is helpful in helping a child develop the initial concept of what he/she is doing. A normal size glove is very cumbersome at first, and this intermediate step will make the transition to a normal size glove that much easier.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 through 9, a training glove 70 is provided by the present invention. The training glove 70 comprises a thumb portion 72, finger portions 74 and a hand portion 76 bearing a design of an alligator's head 78, eyes 80, mouth 82 and teeth 84 as shown specifically in FIGS. 6 and 8. The training glove 70 may be based on a traditional fielder's glove. The training glove 70 may be modified to include additional two and three dimensional structure to accentuate physical characteristics of the head of an alligator. Artwork designs of features of an alligator are included with the training glove 70.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 8, a first exterior surface of the training glove 70 may comprise a design of the top of an alligator's head 78, neck 86, eyes 80 and mouth 82. A second surface of the training glove 70 may comprise designs of an interior of the top of an alligator's mouth 88, teeth 84 and tongue 90 as shown in FIG. 7. The training glove 70 may be used alone as a fielding glove. Alternatively, the training glove 70 may be used in combination with the second mitten 50 to create the visual effect of an alligator's head.

The training glove 70 is different, because again, it makes the concept “fun”. The training glove 70 is based on a standard baseball glove, but with the design of the training glove 70 being that of an alligator with its mouth open and ready to eat.

For training or fielding, the training glove 70 and the second mitten 50 may be used together to create the visual effect of an alligator capable of gobbling up a ball. In such cases, the training glove 70 and the second mitten 50 may be in a first opened position wherein the base of the palms of a user are in near proximity with the fingers of each hand spread out to create the visual effect of an open alligator mouth. Also, the training glove 70 and the second mitten 50 may be moved to and held in a second closed position wherein the hands of the user are pressed together around a ball to create the visual effect of a closed alligator mouth. The alligator design features are useful as an educational tool to teach children how to field a ball. The training glove 70 may also be referred to as an educational glove for teaching fielding. Moreover the training glove 70 may also be a safety glove to faciliate the teaching of fielding while also reducing the risk of injury because the training glove 70 teaches how to properly field of ball.

The present invention also provide an educational method for teaching how to field a ball. The educational training method comprises the steps of holding a training glove 70 or alternatively a training 10 mitten in near proximity to training mitten 40 and in an open position and securing a ball by holding the training glove 70 or alternatively a training mitten 10 in near proximity to training mitten 50 in a closed position.

The present invention utilizes an interesting concept, and makes it fun for kids. The product may be used in multiple stages. By employing this multi-step process, a user will also open up their abilities to use the more cumbersome training aids they will certainly face in the future. The first stage is teaching with training mitten 10 in combination with training mitten 50. A user learns the foundation of using two hands to field a ball. The next stage is teaching with training glove 70 and training mitten 50. This step allows the user to advance in training by fielding with a more traditional fielder's glove while also still relying on the two glove concept of the alligator gobbling a ball enforced by stage one. The final stage involves the user using the training glove 70 without training mitten 50. The multi-step stage process is used because children need a foundation to build upon. It is believed that the present invention starts simply with enough increase in complexity at each stage that children grow into the concept and evolve into better players.

Again, the details of the training glove 70 are what reinforce the concept. Instead of a form fitting training mitten 10 or 50, training glove 70 is introduced but with this difference, the look and feel of the glove resemble an alligator. At this stage the child has become comfortable with the two handed approach of stage one. The child is ready to use the skills learned and apply them in a game. This glove aids in that effort in the following two ways.

It allows the child to easily transition to a larger glove because the child simply thinks they are pretending to be a bigger alligator. It re-emphasizes the concept of the two-handed effort while playing in a game. This way the child remembers to apply what they have learned and been trained to do.

Of course another major part of the system is the instruction manual that will accompany the training glove 70. The instructions will be written on poster size paper, in full color. By utilizing very simple depictions rather than detailed instructions any child will be able to easily pick up the concept. Adding to the fun would be depictions of a young child fielding a ground ball, but instead of a traditional glove, the child's hands are transformed into an alligator waiting to eat

Modifications can be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. Having described the preferred embodiments of the invention, additional embodiments, adaptations, variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements will be apparent to those skilled in the art. These and other embodiments will be understood to be within the scope of the appended claims and apparent to those skilled in the art.