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This application claims priority of the provisional application with Ser. No. 60/851,329 titled “‘The Double Tee Cup’ serves as a Training Devise for Softball and Baseball Hitters” filed on Oct. 13, 2006.
The field of the embodiments described below in general includes training in any sport that involves the striking of an object with a bat, pole, stick, or other striking device. By way of example, the embodiments provide a device to train players in effective baseball and softball hitting techniques by providing immediate feedback on how well the ball was struck on plane at contact.
The offensive portion of the hitting games, such as baseball and softball, is deceptively subtle and is part art, but mostly involves the science of biomechanics. The embodiments described below allow a student of hitting to practice their craft by increasing the biomechanical awareness of their swing plane technique at contact. By stacking two balls it also creates two separate hitting planes that enhance visual training as well, in a logical manner. Also, the stacking of the balls creates a more sensitive balance of the balls, thereby giving more feedback on his/her quality of swing. The intention is quite simply that if the hitter uses the embodiments described below and swings on plane through the ball at contact the embodiments described will leave with the struck ball, leaving the next ball available to hit. However, if the hitter is mechanically off plane when striking the ball then the embodiment is disturbed and the remaining ball will fall. In addition, the embodiments allow a batter to hit two stationary balls without resorting to setting an additional ball on the batting tee thereby saving time. It also saves wear and tear on the hitting tee itself because the embodiment is struck and not the tee on most swings.
As shown in FIG. 1, an embodiment, the double crowned training device, is used to support two baseballs or two softballs on a batting tee. In other modes of use of the embodiments described below, other objects may be supported including, but not limited to, hockey pucks, cricket balls, lacrosse balls, hurling balls and field hockey balls. Another embodiment, the crowned insert, can be fitted into the hollow core of most hitting tees and may then have another embodiment fitted on top. By inserting the crowned insert onto a chipped or damaged tee top the tee surface is now level, which is required for the stacking of balls to be successful. It also adds strength to tee tops made from softer materials. A ball may be placed directly on the crowned insert, then another embodiment and another ball, or another embodiment may be fitted directly onto the crowned insert and then the ball is added. All embodiments herein can fit together to create different heights between the balls for the hitters. The embodiments are not limited to training in only softball and baseball, but may be used in any sport that involves striking an object with a striking device including, but not limited to, the games of ice hockey, cricket, lacrosse, hurling and field hockey. Also applicable is stacking two balls on a ground tee in the sport of soccer to be struck by the players foot for training. Other embodiments include an crowned insert to be placed into damaged tee stem tops and a short double crowned embodiment to create less space between balls.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment in use on a batting tee with both baseballs and softballs.
FIG. 2a is a perspective view of an embodiment of the double crowned training device; FIG. 2b is a perspective view of an embodiment of the crowned insert baseball training device; FIG. 2C is a perspective view of an embodiment of the short double crowned baseball training device.
FIG. 3a is a top view of an embodiment of the double crowned baseball training device; FIG. 3b is a side view of an embodiment of the double crowned baseball training device.
FIG. 4a is a top view of an embodiment of the short double crowned baseball training device; FIG. 4b is a side view of an embodiment of short double crowned baseball training device.
FIG. 5a is a top view of an embodiment of the crowned insert baseball training device; FIG. 5b is a side view of an embodiment of the crowned insert baseball training device.
FIG. 6 is a side view of an embodiment of the crowned insert training device showing how the crowned insert can be inserted into a damaged baseball tee.
As shown in FIG. 1, an embodiment 100 is used to support two baseballs or two softballs on a batting tee. The embodiments are not limited to training in only softball and baseball, but may be used in any sport that involves striking an object with a striking device including, but not limited to, the games of ice hockey, cricket, lacrosse, hurling and field hockey. Also, in the sport of soccer two balls can be stacked on a ground tee for striking with the foot. The term target in this application, particularly in this description and the claims, the term target is broadly defined to mean any object that is hit, struck or kicked, with or without a device to strike the object, in a sporting game or event and includes, but is not limited to, hockey pucks, cricket balls, lacrosse balls, hurling balls, field hockey balls, baseballs, softballs, and soccer balls.
The biomechanics of a good swing in baseball and softball can be complex. However, quite simply it is the necessary sequential body movements and weight shifts that occur once movement is initiated in the swing, to deliver the maximum amount of force directly to the ball or target at contact. Maximum force cannot occur if, at the point of contact, the swing is not on plane, through the ball. Being on plane is not necessarily always being level since contact occurs at different heights and/or farther inside or outside to a hitter. Being on plane is delivering the bat to and through the ball at the optimal point of contact. In particular, while hitting a round object (ball) with another round object (barrel of a bat) this point of contact is particularly sensitive. Hence, the bat must be correctly on plane through the ball long enough to impart the maximum desired force to the ball. When this is accomplished then the ball will achieve the greatest possible distance when struck. The training aid described herein addresses the need for simple feedback to the hitter on the quality or correctness of his/her swing at contact during repetitive practice on a stationary tee.
Referring to FIG. 1, an embodiment, the double crowned training device 100, is comprised of a main center cylinder 203 and two identical crowns 204 located on each end of the main cylinder 203. This embodiment is essentially concave double cup or flat double cup with end cylinders 204 formed on each end. The end cylinders 204 are comprised of either a smooth support surface or a plurality of equally spaced alternating raised supports 201 and lower supports 202. The smooth support surface or the plurality of equally spaced alternating raised supports 201 and lower supports 202 are located on the ends of the end cylinders 204. The main cylinder 203, end cylinders 204 and alternating raised supports 201 and lower supports 202 are all integrally formed from the same materials of construction.
The raised 201 and lowered supports 202 are formed by the crowned ends 204. The alternating raised 201 and the lowered 202 supports allow two important features of the embodiment 100 to occur. First, they allow two embodiments to “fit together” to double the height between the balls, thus giving beginner hitters more margin of error in their swing. When two embodiments are joined, the alternating raised supports 201 and lower supports 202 interlock and form a friction fit to hold two or more embodiments together. Second, the plurality of small points of contact created allow for less surface contact on the ball thereby allowing the embodiment to leave the ball surface cleanly, when struck correctly, without causing undue friction that would cause the bottom ball to fall inadvertently. This embodiment is designed to have one end crown sit on top of one softball or baseball and then have another softball or baseball placed on top of the other end crown. When in place, two balls are ready to be struck, one at a time, from a batting tee.
All of the embodiments are manufactured from any high impact-resistant material including, but not limited to, polyurethane, natural rubber, synthetic rubber, or a synthetic polymeric material. The embodiments are manufactured as an integral molded unit. All of the embodiments can be manufactured in various sizes depending on the application. One embodiment will measure approximately 1 to 2″ across at the widest point of each crown and will be approximately 1¾ to 2½ inches tall and approximately 1½ inches wide. In this embodiment, the mid-section diameter of the center cylinder will be approximately ½ inches.
Referring to FIG. 2, another embodiment is the crowned insert 205. The crowned insert 205 is comprised of a main center cylinder 207 and one crowned end 204. The end cylinder 204 in the crowned insert embodiment forms a plurality of raised supports 201 and lowered supports 202. The center cylinder 207 forms on the distal end from the end cylinder 204 a cylinder insert surface 208. The cylinder insert surface can be inserted into the top of damaged batting tee or a batting tee with an irregular surface in order to provide a level surface for the various embodiments. Using a crowned insert allows a damaged batting tee tube top to have a level surface which is required for the successful use of stacking balls with all other embodiments. The crowned insert may be used in combination with the double crowned training device, the short double crowned baseball training device or any combination of a plurality of these embodiments.
Another embodiment, shown in FIG. 2C, is the short dual crowned embodiment 206. The short cylinder embodiment 206 is comprised of a shortened center cylinder 209 and two crowned ends 204. Alternatively in this embodiment, the center cylinder is completely removed so that the embodiment is comprised of two crowned ends 204. The short dual crowned embodiment provides less space between the balls than embodiment 100 does. This allows for advanced precision hitting instruction by giving less room for error in the swing plane at contact and is designed for advanced hitting instruction and practice.
In a mode of operation of the embodiments, a hitting object is placed on the ground tee to secure the object or on a hitting tee. The double crowned training device is placed on top of the hitting object and a second hitting object is placed on top of the double crowned training device. Now the hitter can strike at the hitting object as required. If striking is done in a level plane, the top hitting object is driven away from the hitting location along with the double crowned training device. The remaining hitting object can now be struck. In another mode of operation, the short double crowned baseball training device can be used between the two hitting objects in place of the double crowned baseball training device as described above to provide a more challenging hitting task for the advanced hitter.
In another mode of operation, the crowned insert embodiment can be used in combination with a one or more double crowned baseball training devices, one or more short double crowned baseball training device, or a combination of short double crowned baseball training devices and double crowned baseball training devices. See 0015 for explanation. In addition, the crowned insert embodiment can be used to provide a level surface on a damaged or unlevel batting tee. By using the insert with a tee it also provides less wear and tear on the tee itself.
In this respect, it is to be understood that the embodiments in this application are not limited to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the description or illustrated in the drawings. The embodiments are capable of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the embodiments described in this application. Additional benefits and advantages of the present embodiments will become apparent in those skilled in the art to which the embodiments relate from the description of the preferred embodiment and the appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the embodiments described herein.
Further, the purpose of the foregoing abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientist, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The abstract is neither intended to define the embodiments of the application which is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the embodiments in any way.