Title:
Coaching Stick Agility Training Device, Swivel Clip and Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training aid for use during footwork, coordination, speed and/or agility training exercises is provided. The training aid is one or more obstacles about which a player weaves, jumps, or ducks and includes at least one coaching stick. The coaching stick is elongate, has opposite free ends, and has a transverse cross-section that is uniform along substantially a full length of the coaching stick. Preferably, the coaching stick is elliptical in transverse cross-section and defines an elliptical outer periphery that has a width greater then its depth. Accordingly, the coaching stick has a wide face as viewed in one direction and a narrow face as viewed in a different direction. Swivel clips for connecting coaching sticks together and methods of assembling a training circuit are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Caruso, Anthony (Center Valley, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/112228
Publication Date:
11/05/2009
Filing Date:
04/30/2008
Assignee:
KWIK GOAL LTD. (Quakertown, PA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BALDORI, JOSEPH B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOWSON & HOWSON LLP (325 Sentry Parkway East, Five Sentry East Suite 160, Blue Bell, PA, 19422, US)
Claims:
1. A training aid for footwork, coordination, speed and/or agility training exercises, comprising an obstacle including at least one coaching stick, said coaching stick being elongate, having opposite free ends, and having a transverse cross-section that is uniform along substantially a full length of said coaching stick and that is an elliptical shape defining an elliptical outer periphery that has a width greater then its depth thereby providing a wide face when viewed in one direction and a narrow face when viewed in a different direction.

2. A training aid according to claim 1, comprising a set of multiple, separate ones of said coaching stick, each coaching stick being substantially identical and having a uniform elliptical transverse cross section along its full length.

3. A training aid according to claim 2, wherein said wide face of each of said coaching sticks is at least 1.5 times the size of said narrow face of each of said coaching sticks.

4. A training aid according to claim 2, wherein said wide face of each of said coaching sticks is at least about twice the size of said narrow face of each of said coaching sticks.

5. A training aid according to claim 4, wherein each of said coaching sticks is hollow, is made of plastic or metal, and is at least about 60 inches in length.

6. A training aid according to claim 2, further comprising at least one swivel clip for securing a pair of said coaching sticks together.

7. A training aid according to claim 6, wherein said swivel clip includes a pair of opposed sockets secured back-to-back and rotatable relative to each other thereby permitting adjustment of the angle at which said pair of coaching sticks secured to said clip extend relative to each other.

8. A training aid according to claim 7, wherein each socket has a set of prongs with end tips that define an open end of said socket through which a coaching stick is receivable.

9. A training aid according to claim 8, wherein each set of prongs defines a relatively wide C-shaped channel extending through said socket in a first direction and a relatively narrow C-shaped channel extending through said socket in a second direction transverse to said first direction.

10. A training aid according to claim 9, wherein said coaching stick is receivable within said relatively wide C-shaped channel to dispose said wide face of said coaching stick at said open end of said socket, and wherein a coaching stick is receivable within said relatively narrow C-shaped channel to dispose said narrow face of said coaching stick at said open end of said socket.

11. A training aid according to claim 10, wherein said relatively wide C-shaped channel extends orthogonal to said relative narrow C-shaped channel within each socket.

12. A training aid according to claim 11, wherein said prongs are sufficiently resilient to enable said prongs to hold said coaching stick in one of said relatively wide C-shaped channel and relatively narrow C-shaped channel by snap fit engagement.

13. A training aid for providing obstacles for footwork, coordination, speed and/or agility training exercises, comprising: a plurality of separate, substantially-identical, elongate coaching sticks having a uniform elliptical transverse cross-section along substantially its full length, said elliptical transverse cross-section providing each coaching stick with a wide face when viewed in one direction and a narrow face when viewed in a different direction; and at least one clip for securing a pair of said coaching sticks together, said clip having a pair of opposed sockets located back-to-back and enabling said pair of said coaching sticks to be secured together in a wide face-to-wide face orientation, a narrow face-to-narrow face orientation, and a wide face-to-narrow face orientation.

14. A training aid according to claim 13, wherein said pair of opposed sockets are interconnected such that they are rotatable relative to each other thereby permitting adjustment of the angle at which said pair of coaching sticks secured to said clip extend relative to each other.

15. A training aid according to claim 14, wherein at least one of said sockets has a set of prongs with end tips that define an open end of said socket through which a coaching stick is receivable and that are sufficiently resilient to grip said coaching stick by snap fit engagement.

16. A training aid according to claim 15, wherein said set of prongs defines a relatively wide C-shaped channel extending through said socket in a first direction and a relatively narrow C-shaped channel extending through said socket in a second direction orthogonal to said first direction.

17. A training aid according to claim 16, wherein said coaching stick is receivable within said relatively wide C-shaped channel to dispose said wide face of said coaching stick at said open end of said socket, and wherein a coaching stick is receivable within said relatively narrow C-shaped channel to dispose said narrow face of said coaching stick at said open end of said socket.

18. A training aid according to claim 17, wherein each of said sockets of said pair of sockets is substantially identical.

19. A training aid according to claim 18, wherein said wide face of each of said coaching sticks is at least about twice the size of said narrow face of each of said coaching sticks, and wherein each of said coaching sticks is hollow, is made of plastic or metal, and is at least about 60 inches in length.

20. A method of developing footwork, coordination, speed and agility skills in athletes, comprising the steps of: providing a plurality of coaching sticks on a playing surface to define obstacles about, over or under which a player must weave, jump or duck along a predetermined path of movement; each of said coaching sticks being elongate and having an elliptical transverse cross-section along substantially its full length such that each coaching stick has a relatively wide face when viewed in one direction and a relatively narrow face when viewed in a different direction; and arranging said coaching sticks so that a selected one of said faces is disposed transverse to the line of sight of an approaching player advancing on said path of movement through said coaching sticks.

21. A method according to claim 20, further comprising the step of securing a pair of said coaching sticks with a swivel clip, and wherein said arranging step includes selecting and disposing the pair of coaching sticks held by the clip in selected orientations including one of a wide face-to-wide face orientation, a narrow face-to-narrow face orientation, and a wide face-to-narrow face orientation.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to equipment for use during footwork, coordination, speed and/or agility training, and more particularly, the present invention relates to so called “coaching sticks” and swivel clips arranged to provide obstacles or the like used during such training exercises.

The term “coaching stick” refers to a generally elongate stick that is arranged on a practice field to provide an obstacle, hurdle, or the like for use during a training exercise or practice. Typically, coaching sticks are used for footwork, coordination, speed and agility training, for example, required of soccer players or players of other sports. A set of coaching sticks can be arranged in different courses or circuits requiring a participant to weave through, jump over, and/or duck under the arrangement of coaching sticks.

A coaching stick is typically a hollow elongate plastic or metal stick having a length of about sixty inches and a circular transverse cross section with an outer diameter of about one inch. An end of the coaching stick can be connected to a cleat, stake or the like used as a ground anchor to secure the coaching stick in an upright position from an underlying natural ground surface. Alternatively, the end of the stick can be supported by a separate base unit or stand, for instance, for arrangement on indoor or artificial surfaces.

Clips or the like are used with coaching sticks for the purpose of securing multiple sticks together. For example, a pair of upstanding coaching sticks may be used to support a cross-wise extending coaching stick at a certain elevation above the playing surface. This combination can be used to provide a hurdle over which a participant must jump or an obstacle under which a participant must duck or around which a participant must weave.

Various training apparatus and equipment, such as hurdles and the like are disclosed by U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0049114 A1 of Joseph and U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,334,121 issued to McPhilomy, 6,475,116 B2 issued to Chen Wu, 5,199,930 issued to Weber, 5,967,093 issued to Vitt et al., 5,205,799 issued to Carbonero, 4,232,862 issued to Mason, 5,913,283 issued to Coury, 4,239,168 issued to Colonna des Princes, 5,334,119 issued to Eloranta, 3,514,062 issued to Gordon and 5,690,583 issued to Keusch. Examples of clamps that rotate are disclosed by U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,386,786 B1 issued to Perlman et al. and 5,667,185 issued to Maglica.

Although the above referenced devices, training systems, and methods disclosed by the above referenced patents may be satisfactory for their intended purpose, there is a need for a footwork, coordination, agility and speed training system and method enabling ready set up of obstacle courses or circuits in a manner requiring a minimum of time, effort, skill and labor. Preferably, the apparatus should be capable of ready transport to and from the practice playing field in a compact storage condition and capable of ready arrangement on the playing surface in a desired layout.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention, a training aid for use during footwork, coordination, speed and/or agility training exercises is provided. The training aid is one or more obstacles about which a player weaves, jumps, or ducks and includes at least one coaching stick. The coaching stick is elongate, has opposite free ends, and has a transverse cross-section that is uniform along substantially a full length of the coaching stick. Preferably, the coaching stick is elliptical in transverse cross-section and defines an elliptical outer periphery that has a width greater then its depth. Accordingly, the coaching stick has a wide face as viewed in one direction and a narrow face as viewed in a different direction.

Further, the training aid preferably includes a set of multiple, separate, substantially-identical coaching sticks each having a uniform elliptical transverse cross section along its length. The wide face of each coaching stick can be at least 1.5 times, or twice, the size of the narrow face. In addition, each coaching stick can be hollow, can be made of plastic or metal, and can be at least about 60 inches in total length.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a swivel clip is provided for use in securing a pair of the above referenced coaching sticks together. The clip has a pair of opposed sockets located back-to-back and enables the pair of coaching sticks to be secured together in any of a wide face-to-wide face orientation, a narrow face-to-narrow face orientation, and a wide face-to-narrow face orientation. The pair of opposed sockets are interconnected such that they are rotatable relative to each other thereby permitting adjustment of the angle at which the pair of coaching sticks extend relative to each other.

Preferably, at least one of the sockets has a set of prongs with end tips that define an open end of the socket through which a coaching stick can be received. The prongs are sufficiently resilient to grip the coaching stick by snap-fit type of engagement. The prongs define a relatively wide C-shaped channel extending through the socket in a first direction and a relatively narrow C-shaped channel extending through the socket in a second direction, which is preferably orthogonal to the first direction. The coaching stick is receivable within the relatively wide C-shaped channel for purposes of disposing the wide face of the coaching stick at the open end of the socket, and the coaching stick is receivable within the relatively narrow C-shaped channel for purposes of disposing the narrow face of the coaching stick at the open end of the socket.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of developing footwork, coordination, speed and agility skills in athletes is provided. The method includes providing a plurality of the above referenced elliptical coaching sticks on a playing surface to provide obstacles about, over or under which a player must weave, jump or duck along a predetermined path of movement. The method also includes arranging the coaching sticks so that a selected one of the wide and narrow faces is disposed transverse to the line of sight of an approaching player advancing on the path of movement through the coaching sticks. The method can also include a step of securing a pair of coaching sticks together with a swivel clip. This step can include selecting and disposing the pair of coaching sticks held by the clip in selected orientations including one of a wide face-to-wide face orientation, a narrow face-to-narrow face orientation, and a wide face-to-narrow face orientation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention should become apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is perspective view of a coaching stick and swivel clip assembly according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a swivel clip according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view along line 4-4 of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an arrangement of coaching sticks and swivel clips according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a coaching stick 10, a swivel clip 20 for use with coaching sticks 10, and a combination or set of coaching sticks 10 and swivel clips 20. In addition, the present invention is directed to a method of creating obstacle courses or training circuits with coaching sticks 10 for use in developing footwork, coordination, agility, and speed skills in athletes.

The coaching stick 10 of the present invention is an elongate stick that can be, for instance, about sixty inches, or about five feet, in total length. This dimension can be altered as desired. The coaching stick 10 can be positioned in an upright position via use of a ground stake or support base (not shown), or it can be connected to and partially or fully suspended from other coaching sticks 10. It can be arranged in a manner requiring a player to weave in between or around a pattern of coaching sticks 10, or it can be arranged to provide an obstacle or hurdle over which a player must jump or under which a player must duck. Typically, the coaching sticks 10 are sold in sets so that any layout, pattern, circuit or course desired can be readily set up with the set of coaching sticks 10.

The coaching stick 10 according to the present invention is provided with a novel outer peripheral shape or surface in transverse cross-section enabling the coaching stick 10 to be disposed differently for various purposes. For example, the coaching stick 10 provides a different visual impression depending upon the manner in which it is disposed relative to the line of sight and/or travel of a player approaching, weaving, jumping, and/or ducking the arrangement of coaching sticks 10.

In the illustrated embodiment, the coaching stick 10 has a relatively wide face 12 when viewed in one direction and a relatively narrow face 14 when viewed in a different direction. This can be accomplished by providing the coaching stick 10 with an oval, or elliptical, outer periphery in transverse cross-section. Accordingly, a player will see the wide face 12 when approaching the stick from direction “A” and will see the narrow face 14 when approaching the stick from direction “B”, which is offset 90° from direction “A” in this example.

By way of example, the wide face 12 of the coaching stick 10 may be at least about 1.5 times the size of the narrow face 14, more preferably, the wide face 12 is at least twice the size of the narrow face 14. For instance, the wide face may have a width “W” of about 2 inches, and the narrow face 14 may have a depth “D” of about 1 inch. Of course, other dimensions can be utilized. This aspect of the coaching stick 10 affords greater variation in course set up despite the use of only a single style of coaching stick.

The coaching stick 10 having an elliptical shape in transverse cross-section is particularly effective for use during soccer training drills. The oval shape permits the perceived size of the obstacle to change depending upon how the coaching stick 10 is disposed relative to the approaching player. This is particularly useful in a progressive learning environment. For example, the narrow face 14 of the coaching stick 10 can be initially presented to an approaching relatively-inexperienced player during training drills designed to improve running, soccer ball dribbling, and overall foot speed skills. As the player develops, the wide face 12 of the coaching stick can be disposed in the line of sight and travel of the approaching player to provide a larger perceived size of obstacle. Further, the wide face 12 may be used in dim lighting, such as during outdoor practices late in the day before sunset, for purposes of improving visibility of the coaching stick obstacles.

Preferably, the coaching stick 10 is hollow and is made of plastic, such as PVC or the like, metal, such as aluminum or the like, or a composite material. The coaching stick could also be solid. Opposite ends of the coaching sticks 10 can have end caps (not shown) and can be engaged with ground stakes and/or base supports. The coaching sticks 10 or the faces 12 and 14 can be of different colors and/or can display indicia.

Turning to the clip 20 of the present invention, it includes a pair of opposed sockets, 22 and 24, for use in securing a first coaching stick 10a to a second coaching stick 10b. Each socket, 22 and 24, includes a closed end 26 and an open end 28. The closed ends 26 of the sockets, 22 and 24, are arranged back-to-back, while the open ends 28 of the sockets, 22 and 24, are located at the opposite ends of the clip 20. See FIG. 3.

When connecting the clip 20 to a coaching stick 10, the coaching stick 10 is inserted through the open end 28 of the socket, 22 or 24, until it seats against the closed end 26 of the socket, 22 or 24. The coaching stick 10 is secured in this position by a series of prongs or tines 30 which hold the coaching stick 10 within the respective socket, 22 or 24, via a snap fit engagement.

The clip 20 is preferably a swivel clip in that socket 22 is rotatable relative to socket 24 along axis “X” illustrated in FIG. 3. This enables a pair of connected coaching sticks, 10a and 10b, to be extended at any angle relative to one another. Preferably, the sockets 22 and 24 are interconnected via a fastener 32 that defines the axis “X” about which the sockets 22 and 24 rotate. If desired, the mating surfaces of the clip between sockets 22 and 24 can have a series of bumps 34 or recesses 36 to define a finite number of orientations capable between the sockets 22 and 24 and to temporarily lock the sockets 22 and 24 together until reset with a sufficient amount of applied force. See FIGS. 3 and 4.

Another important aspect of the present invention is that the prongs or tines 30 of the sockets, 22 and 24, permit the wide face 12 or narrow face 14 of the coaching stick 10 to be disposed at the open end 28 of the socket, 22 and 24. For instance, as best illustrated in FIG. 3, the wide face 12 is disposed relative to open end 28 of socket 22 and the narrow face 14 is disposed relative to open end 28 of socket 24. This enables a pair of coaching sticks 10 to be secured in a wide face-to-wide face, narrow face-to-narrow face, or wide face-to-narrow face arrangement. Thus, an obstacle course or training circuit can be set up such that any face of the various upright as well as cross-wise coaching sticks 10 can be disposed to the line of sight and travel of an approaching player that is required to jump over, duck under, or weave around the obstacle.

With respect to the specific illustrated embodiment of the swivel clip 20, each socket 22 and 24 is substantially identical and includes a set of four spaced-apart prongs or tines 30. As best illustrated in FIG. 4, each prong, 30a, 30b, 30c and 30d is positioned at one of the corners of an imaginary rectangle “R”. Thus, prong 30b is spaced further apart from prong 30a then prong 30c is spaced from prong 30a. This configuration permits the wide faces 12 of the coaching stick to fit past prongs 30a and 30b and prongs 30c and 30d so that one of the wide faces 12 can seat against the closed end 26 of the socket while the other wide face 12 is disposed at the open end 28 of the socket. (For example, see coaching stick 10a in FIG. 3.) Alternatively, the narrow faces 14 of the coaching stick 10 can be inserted between prongs 30a and 30c and prongs 30b and 30d so that one of the narrow faces 14 seats against the closed end 26 of the socket while the other narrow face 14 is disposed at the open end 28 of the socket. (See coaching stick 10b in FIG. 3.)

Each adjacent pair of prongs defines a C-shaped channel adapted to closely mate with the contour of the coaching stick 10 received therein. For instance, in FIG. 3, prongs 30a and 30b of the socket 22 define a channel 38 that is relatively wide for securing around the wide face 12 of the elliptical coaching stick 10. In comparison, prongs 30b and 30d of the socket 24 define a channel 40 that is relatively narrow for securing around the narrow face 14 of the coaching stick 10. The C-shaped channels, 38 and 40, of each socket, 22 and 24, extend orthogonal to one another through the socket.

Preferably, the end tips 42 of the prongs 30 extend beyond the center “C” of the coaching sticks 10 so that the prongs 30 grip about the coaching stick 10 and prevent undesired release from the clip 20. The spacing between the end tips 42 of the prongs 30 is less than that of the width or depth of the coaching stick 10 thereby requiring the coaching stick 10 to be snapped into engagement with the sockets 22 and 24.

Preferably, the clip 20 is made of plastic or like material and the prongs 30 are resilient in that they can deflect to allow the coaching stick 10 to fit between the end tips 42 and snap back into gripping engagement with the coaching stick 10 once the coaching stick 10 is fully inserted into the socket. Preferably, the end tips 42 are tapered to direct the coaching stick 10 into the channel during its connection with the clip 20.

In use, the coaching sticks 10 can be positioned upright to define a path for a player that must weave through the pattern of coaching sticks 10. In addition, a pair of coaching sticks 10 can be used to support a cross-wise extending coaching stick 10 with a pair of clips 20 as shown in assemblies 44 and 46 in FIG. 5. A player would be expected to duck under the cross-wise extending coaching stick of assembly 44 and jump over the cross-wise extending coaching stick of assembly 46. In addition, an obstacle 48 requiring an approaching player to stop and/or weave can be provided. See FIG. 5.

As discussed above, when setting up an obstacle course or training circuit, the wide face 12 or narrow face 14 of the upright as well as the cross-wise extending coaching sticks 10 can be disposed flush, or perpendicular, to the line of sight or path of travel of an approaching player. The wide face 12 is disposed to the approaching player to provide a larger obstacle or an obstacle that is more readily visible. The narrow face 14 may be disposed to the player to provide a smaller visually-perceived obstacle.

While preferred training assemblies, coaching sticks, clips, aids, and methods have been described in detail, various modifications, alterations, and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the coaching stick, swivel clip, and method according to the present invention as defined in the appended claims.