Title:
Smooth And Rounded Cap For Lacrosse Stick Handle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rounded cap or knob for a lacrosse stick handle that protects the blunt end of the handle during play. The cap or knob is formed of a flexible rubber-like or rubber material that substantially conforms onto the exterior surface of a side portion of the distal end of the handle, and therefore does not easily slide during usage. The interior also contains a shoulder portion there within to correctly position the knob or cap completely around the handle. The smooth and rounded exterior shape of the knob or cap acts as a socket that allows the user to position his or her palm in a virtually limitless array of potential positions that enhance the user's ability to control the lacrosse stick during play.



Inventors:
Lamson, Kyle Larry (Chelmsford, MA, US)
Reynolds, Alexander (Wayland, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/839016
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030144091Adjustable field goal post apparatusJuly, 2003Dickson
20070049425Method and apparatus for playing a game with a projectileMarch, 2007Butler
20060258486Baseball batting stance training mat and assemblyNovember, 2006Hedgepath
20080026883Lacrosse Head With Separable PartsJanuary, 2008Macneil et al.
20040142760Low torque composite golf shaftJuly, 2004Haas et al.
20040157685Basketball training deviceAugust, 2004Hodges
20060211518Multi-Layer Golf Balls Comprising Ionomers with a Percent Neutralization GradientSeptember, 2006Sullivan et al.
20040116203GOLF CLUBS AND A METHOD FOR USING THESE GOLF CLUBS FOR GOLF SHOTS UP TO 100 YARDS FROM THE GREENJune, 2004Collum et al.
20070254754Mkv Takraw BallNovember, 2007Lorhpipat et al.
20070054758Baseball batting training applianceMarch, 2007Cockrell
20040166967HoopballAugust, 2004Liberfarb



Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP 900 FIFTH THIRD CENTER 111 LYON STREET, N.W., GRAND RAPIDS, MI, 49503-2487, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A rounded cap or knob for coupling to a distal end of a lacrosse stick handle, the lacrosse stick handle including a blunt end, the rounded cap or knob comprising: a substantially round and spherical closed top, said substantially round and spherical closed top including a wall portion having a substantially rounded exterior surface and an interior surface; an open end coupled to and extending from said substantially round or spherical closed top, said open end including a wall having an inner surface; a shoulder portion coupled between said substantially rounded interior surface and said inner surface, said shoulder portion including a perpendicular surface and a second surface, said perpendicular surface being coupled to said inner surface and generally perpendicular to said inner surface and said second surface transitioning into said interior surface.

2. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein said inner surface substantially conforms to an exterior surface of a side portion of the lacrosse stick handle when the distal end of the lacrosse handle is coupled within said open end.

3. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein said inner surface substantially conforms to an exterior surface of the lacrosse stick handle when said distal end is coupled within said open end; and wherein said perpendicular surface is substantially abutted to the blunt end of the lacrosse stick handle when the distal end of the lacrosse handle is coupled within said open end.

4. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein a thickness of said wall of said open end is sufficient to allow said inner surface to substantially conform to an exterior surface of a side portion of the lacrosse stick handle when said distal end is coupled within said open end.

5. The rounded cap or knob of claim 4, wherein said thickness of said wall is also sufficient to prevent said wall from tearing or ripping as said distal end of the lacrosse handle is coupled within said open end.

6. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein said inner surface of said wall is shaped to match the shape of said side portion of the lacrosse stick handle.

7. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein said shoulder region is integrally formed with said open end and with said substantially round or spherical closed top.

8. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein said shoulder region is inserted within said open end and within said substantially round or spherical closed top.

9. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, wherein a thickness of said wall region of said substantially round or spherical closed top is sufficient to prevent tearing or ripping during use.

10. The rounded cap or knob of claim 1, further comprising: at least one visible feature coupled within or onto said substantially rounded exterior surface.

11. A lacrosse stick comprising: (a) a lacrosse stick handle having a proximal end and a distal end, (b) a lacrosse head coupled to said proximal end; and (c) a rounded cap or knob coupled to said distal end of a lacrosse stick handle, said rounded cap or knob comprising: a substantially round and spherical closed top, said substantially round and spherical closed top including a wall portion having a substantially rounded exterior surface and an interior surface; an open end coupled to and extending from said substantially round or spherical closed top, said open end including a wall having an inner surface; a shoulder portion coupled between said interior surface and said inner surface, said shoulder portion including a perpendicular surface and a second surface, said perpendicular surface being coupled to said inner surface and generally perpendicular to said inner surface and said second surface transitioning into said interior surface.

12. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein said inner surface substantially conforms to an exterior surface of a side portion of said distal end of said lacrosse stick handle.

13. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein said inner surface substantially conforms to an exterior surface of a side portion of said lacrosse stick handle; and wherein said perpendicular surface is substantially abutted to a blunt end of said lacrosse stick handle.

14. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein a thickness of said wall of said open end is sufficient to allow said inner surface to substantially conforms to an exterior surface of a side portion of said lacrosse stick handle at said distal end.

15. The lacrosse stick of claim 14, wherein said thickness of said wall is also sufficient to prevent said wall from tearing or ripping as said distal end of said lacrosse stick handle is coupled within said open end.

16. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein said inner surface of said of said wall is shaped to match the shape of said side portion of said lacrosse stick handle.

17. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein said shoulder region is integrally formed with said open end and with said substantially round or spherical closed top.

18. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein said shoulder region is inserted within said open end and within said substantially round or spherical closed top.

19. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, wherein a thickness of said wall region of said substantially round or spherical closed top is sufficient to prevent tearing or ripping during use.

20. The lacrosse stick of claim 11, further comprising: at least one visible feature coupled within or onto said substantially rounded exterior surface.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a lacrosse handle and, more particularly, to a smooth and rounded cap for the handle of a lacrosse stick.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

According to current convention, a lacrosse stick typically includes both an elongated handle and a head for attachment to the handle. The elongated handle, often simply referred to as the “shaft,” has both a top end and a bottom end. The head, in turn, is mounted on the top end of the elongated handle and includes both a closed-loop frame and a net suspended substantially within the confines of the frame. Together, the closed-loop frame and the net form an open pocket suited for receiving, holding, and releasing a lacrosse ball.

Lacrosse stick handles are generally hollow and have a desired cross-sectional configuration along substantially the entire length of the handle that is designed to provide an improved grip to a user's hands. The handle can thus be formed in many desired cross-sectional shapes, including octagonal, rounded or oval cross-section.

The top end of the handle is inserted into and attached to the lacrosse stick head, while the bottom end includes a plastic or rubber cap coupled thereto. A typical plastic or rubber cap has a hollowed out interior that is coupled around a portion of the length of the handle at the bottom end and protects the blunt end of the stick. The outer portion of the cap is typically shaped to substantially match that of the handle and may also contain ridges or other structures that prevent the user's hand from sliding off the end of the handle during play.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, an advantage of the present invention is to provide a knob for attachment to lower end of a lacrosse stick that provides the user with protection from the blunt end of a lacrosse handle.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a knob for attachment to lower end of a lacrosse stick that aids in preventing a user's lower hand from sliding off the handle during play.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a knob for attachment to lower end of a lacrosse stick that does not negatively impact a user's ability to control his lacrosse stick during play.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a knob for attachment to lower end of a lacrosse stick that provides the user the ability to position his or her lower hand on the knob in a virtually limitless number of possible positions through a ball and socket arrangement that therefore provide the user with enhanced control of the lacrosse stick during play.

In accordance with the above and other advantages, the present invention provides a rounded cap or knob for a lacrosse stick handle that protects the blunt end of the handle during play. The interior of the cap or knob is formed of a flexible rubber-like or rubber material that substantially conforms to the exterior surface of the distal end of the handle, and therefore does not easily slide during usage. The interior also contains a shoulder portion within its interior to correctly position the knob or cap completely around the handle.

The exterior surface of the knob or cap is shaped and sized for accommodation completely within the palm portion of the lower hand of a user. In addition, the rounded shape of the knob or cap allows the user to position his or her palm in a virtually limitless array of potential positions that enhance the user's ability to control the lacrosse stick during play via a ball and socket arrangement.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, when viewed in accordance with the accompanying drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a lacrosse stick handle having a rounded end knob in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the lacrosse stick handle and rounded end knob of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the lacrosse stick handle and rounded end knob of FIG. 1 taken along line 3-3; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the rounded knob of FIG. 2 taken along line 4-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to Figures, which illustrate a lacrosse stick handle generally referred to as handle 10 incorporated into a complete lacrosse stick. The handle 10 is inserted into and attached to a throat (not shown) of a lacrosse head (not shown) at its proximal end 12 and preferably secured using a setting screw (not shown) that passes through the head and the handle to prevent disengagement. It will be understood that other securing mechanisms for coupling the head to the handle may also be utilized. It will be understood that the handle may be attached to the head in a variety of other suitable ways. It will also be understood that the handle can have a variety of lengths and configurations as desired. The distal end 14 of the handle 10 includes a smooth and rounded removable cap or knob 30 that will be described in detail below.

In one embodiment, the proximal end 12 and a portion 16 of the handle 10 near the proximal end 12 each have an octagonal cross-section as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. This octagonal cross-section creates eight edges or corners 18, continuous along the length of handle 10 both near the proximal end 12 and along the portion 16, which together form eight flat, longitudinal and contiguous surfaces 20. The external corners 18 and contiguous surfaces 20 at or near the proximal end 12 provide an easy and consistent insertion and attachment point for attaching the handle 10 within the throat of the lacrosse head. These external corners 18 and contiguous surfaces 20 also prevent the lacrosse head from twisting or turning relative to the handle 12 during usage.

In addition, the external corners 18 and contiguous surfaces of the portion 16 of the handle 10 are thought to provide some resistance to unwanted rotation of the handle 10 within the user's upper hand during cradling and other handling maneuvers over a handle having a round or oval cross-section along this portion 16. As one of ordinary skill recognizes, the term “upper hand” refers to the hand that a user of the lacrosse stick places closer the proximal end of the handle 10, while the “lower hand” refers to the hand that is placed on the lacrosse stick that is closer to the distal end 14. As such, the “upper hand” refers to the right hand when the “lower hand” refers to the left hand, and vice versa.

While an octagonal cross-section in the proximal end 12 and along the portion 16 of the handle 10 is displayed herein, the cross-sectional design of the proximal end 12 and the portion 16 is not limited to the design disclosed herein, but may be formed having a virtually limitless number of potential designs having the same or similar playability characteristics as one of ordinary skill in the art will understand. For example, the cross-section of the proximal end may be rounded, squared, or include any number of corners and contiguous surfaces that are designed to match the throat region of the lacrosse head. In addition, while the cross-section of the proximal end 12 and portion 16 is shown as substantially symmetrical, the cross-section may in fact be asymmetrical. Also, the cross-section of the proximal end 12 may be similar to or different than the cross-section of that of the portion 16 of the handle 10 or other portions of the handle.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the distal end 14 of the handle 10 and another portion 22 of the handle 10 are preferably formed with a more rounded cross-section than that of the proximal end 12 and portion 16. The substantial roundness of the portion 22 allows the lower hand of the user to be positioned and repositioned easily anywhere on the more rounded portion 22 in a virtually limitless number of positions. By allowing the lower hand to be freely positioned and repositioned without the encumbrance of corners or flat sections that limit the potential number of hand positions, the lacrosse stick can be precisely controlled by the user during play to cradle, pass, and shoot a lacrosse ball and to use the lacrosse stick in a defensive mechanism to try to eradicate the lacrosse ball from an opponent. In addition, the substantial roundness of the distal end 14 allows the removable cap or knob 30 to be easily positioned thereon.

The handle 10 may be made of any material known in the art which is suited to the rigors of the game of lacrosse, including, but not limited to thermoplastics, lightweight metals, such as titanium or aluminum, graphite-loaded materials and other fiber-reinforced materials. Similarly, the handle 10 may be made of any of the methods well known in the art, including extrusion, molding, casting and machining. The handle 10 is preferably hollow to limit its weight, with the wall width of the handle being sufficient to withstand the mechanical flexing generated by cradling, passing and shooting a lacrosse ball, by gripping the handle 10, and by contacting the handle against other lacrosse sticks, players or the field during play.

The removable smooth and rounded cap or knob 30, in accordance with one preferred embodiment as shown in FIGS. 1-4, is coupled over the distal end 14 of the handle 10 and softens its blunt end 32. The knob 30 also assists a user in monitoring a good grip on the handle 10. The knob 30 includes a closed top 34 and an open end 36 having an interior cavity 38 including a shoulder region 56. The distal end 14 of the handle 10 is inserted within the open end 36 such that the blunt end 32 is positioned against the shoulder region 56. The closed top 34 includes a substantially round and spherical exterior surface 40.

The circumference or outer size of the exterior surface 40 is easily accommodated within the palm of a user's hand. In addition, the absence of prominent protruding surfaces on the exterior rounded surface 40 such as edges, ridges, or the like typical of conventional caps allows a user to hold the closed top 34 of the cap 30 and still rotate the handle in an infinite number of relative positions. In essence, the smooth and rounded end knob 30 interacts with a user's hand or palm in a ball and socket kind of arrangement. This provides the user with enhanced control of the lacrosse stick regardless of the positioning of the palm over the rounded closed top 34.

As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the rounded closed top 34 of the cap 30 may include one or more visible features 42 stamped onto, embossed within or raised outward from the rounded exterior surface 40. These features 42 may include source identifiers or other distinguishing such as logos, numbers, shapes, designs, or other contrasting features that are visible to a user or other players if uncovered from the user's lower hand.

As best shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the open end 36 includes a wall 50 extending towards the closed end that has an inner surface 52 and an outer surface 53. The inner surface 52 is preferably shaped to substantially conform to the shape of the side portion 54 of the distal end 14 of the handle 10 to which it is applied. Thus, if the side portion 54 is rounded, the smooth inner surface 52 is preferably smooth and rounded or otherwise shaped to substantially conform to the side portion 54 when coupled thereto. Alternatively, if the side portion 54 has a particular outer shape, for example having an octagonal shape as in most conventional lacrosse handles, the inner surface 52 is preferably shaped to substantially match the outer shape of the side portion 54 at the distal end 14 or to substantially conform to the side portion 54 when coupled thereto. The inner surface 52 terminates at the perpendicular surface 60 of the shoulder portion 56. The shoulder portion 56 also includes a second surface 62 that runs perpendicular to the perpendicular surface 60 and transitions into the closed top interior surface 64, which is the inner portion of the closed top 34. The inner surface 52, the perpendicular surface 60, the inner surface 62 and the closed top interior surface 64 together define the inner cavity 38.

The shoulder portion 56 is preferably integrally formed with the open end 36 and the rounded closed top 34, but may alternatively be inserted within the interior of the open end 36 in a post manufacturing step prior to the lacrosse handle 10 being inserted and still fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The smooth interior surface 64 defines the inner portion of a wall portion 66 of the closed top 34 and is preferably shaped to substantially match the corresponding shape of the exterior surface 40 of the closed top 34. Thus, the interior surface can be formed of a variety of different shapes in order to match the exterior shape of the handle. Alternatively, instead of fitting over the exterior surface of the handle 10, the rounded cap 30 can be configured to be inserted into the handle 10 and still protect the blunt end. A small packaging hole 70 may also be introduced through the wall portion 66. The packaging hole 70 provides a means by which the knob 10 can be coupled to a post portion of a conventional shaft hanger (not shown). The shaft hanger, as one of ordinary skill in the retail world recognizes, allows an item such as the knob 30, or the knob 30 attached to a handle 10, or to a knob attached to a complete lacrosse stick, to be hung on a hook or otherwise displayed in a retail setting.

The outer surface 53 is preferably formed having a similar overall shape to that of the inner surface 52, where the inner surface 52 is rounded and spherical. However, wherein the inner surface 52 is shaped to match the shape of side portion 54 of the lacrosse handle 10, the outer surface 53 does not have the same overall shape as the inner surface 52. Similar to the visible features 42, the outer surface 53 may include one or more visible features (not shown) stamped onto, embossed within or raised outward from the outer surface 53 and still fall within the spirit of the present invention. These features are formed wherein they do not affect the durability or performance of the rounded cap 30.

The rounded cap 30 is preferably formed from a flexible and durable material such as a durable rubber or rubber-like material wherein the thickness of the wall 50 is thin enough such that it easily conforms to the side portion 54 of the distal end 14 of the handle yet thick enough to prevent tearing or breaking as the cap 30 is inserted over the side portion 54. In addition, the thickness of the wall 50 and the wall portion 66 should be sufficiently thick so as to prevent tearing or undue wear during use. The thickness, as one of ordinary skill recognizes, varies depending upon the material used. Non-limiting examples of rubber or rubber-like materials that may be used to form the cap 30 and or the shoulder region 56 include thermoplastic elastomers (“TPE”), thermoplastic rubbers (“TPR”) and thermoplastic urethanes (“TPU”).

The process for forming the rounded cap 30 is similar to processes for forming many small rubber objects and can includes such processes as injection molding, pour molding, or any other forming technique well known to those of ordinary skill in the art.

Having now fully described the invention, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that many changes and modifications can be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as set forth herein.