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Title:
Batting grip and training systems
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Bat grip devices and methods are disclosed that are provided for developing swing technique for batting in sports such as baseball and softball. The invention in some embodiments may comprise a bat grip device having a plurality of grip retention elements. The plurality of grip retention elements may be integral with a handle conforming surface and positioned longitudinally along the axis of the handle conforming surface. The longitudinal axis of the handle conforming surface may coincide with and be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat. A fulcrum element may be configured between the upper and lower plurality of grip retention elements. In some embodiments the fulcrum element comprises a hand positioning fulcrum element designed to assist in achieving the objectives of the present invention. In still further embodiments, the fulcrum element may comprise a bat acceleration element corresponding to the center of gravity of the bat. The invention in some embodiments comprises methods of batting and batting instruction as well as swing technique, and alternatively may be incorporated into traditional batting instruction.


Inventors:
Kearns, Jay (Loveland, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/214382
Publication Date:
12/17/2009
Filing Date:
06/17/2008
Assignee:
Jay & Piney Technologies, LLC (Loveland, CO, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/568
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B59/06
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF CHAD C. SOLIZ , LLC (407 N. Lincoln Ave. Ste. 105, LOVELAND, CO, 80537, US)
Claims:
I claim,

1. A bat grip device, comprising: a handle conforming surface; and a plurality of grip retention elements integral with said handle conforming surface and longitudinally positioned along the axis of said handle conforming surface; wherein said longitudinal axis of said handle conforming surface comprises a longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat.

2. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 wherein said plurality of grip retention elements comprise finger retention elements.

3. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 wherein said plurality of grip retention elements comprise an upper plurality of grip retention elements and a lower plurality of grip retention elements.

4. A bat grip device as described in claim 3 wherein said plurality of grip retention elements comprise finger retention elements.

5. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 further comprising a fulcrum element longitudinally positioned along the axis of said handle conforming surface.

6. A bat grip device as described in claim 5 wherein said fulcrum element comprises a hand positioning fulcrum element.

7. A bat grip device as described in claim 5 wherein said fulcrum element comprises a bat acceleration element.

8. A bat grip device as described in claim 5 wherein said plurality of grip retention elements comprise an upper plurality of grip retention elements and a lower plurality of grip retention elements, and wherein said fulcrum element is configured between said upper plurality of grip retention elements and said lower plurality of grip retention elements.

9. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 wherein said bat grip device is retainably positioned about a handle of a bat.

10. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 wherein said bat grip device is removably positioned about a handle of a bat.

11. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 wherein said bat grip device is fixed about a handle of a bat.

12. A bat grip device as described in claim I wherein said plurality of grip retention elements are oriented in a plane perpendicular to and positioned radially about a longitudinal axis of said bat grip device.

13. A bat grip device as described in claim 1 further comprising a plurality of recessed retention elements positioned along a longitudinal axis of said bat grip device.

14. A method of swinging a bat, comprising the steps of: providing a plurality of grip retention elements about the handle of a bat; gripping an upper plurality of said grip retention elements with a first hand; gripping a lower plurality of said grip retention elements with a second hand; and accelerating said bat by application of force to the bat; whereby application of force is directed to said bat through said grip retention elements.

15. A method of swinging a bat, comprising the steps of: providing a fulcrum element configured between an upper and a lower plurality of grip retention elements about a handle of a bat; gripping an upper plurality of said grip retention elements with a first hand; gripping a lower plurality of said grip retention elements with a second hand; and accelerating said bat about said fulcrum element; whereby accelerating said bat is provided by application of force directed to said bat through said grip retention elements and through the fulcrum element.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Techniques for the instruction of participants in batting for baseball and softball sports are well known and are particularly applied in the implementation of swing practice and the corresponding body mechanics to achieve a preferred swing. Techniques applied in training have been developed over the years in order to increase the proficiency of the beginning participant in simply hitting a pitched ball. More advanced techniques are taught to more advanced participants to further develop power in the participant's swing, as well as achieving accuracy in directing a hit ball.

There presently exist some preferred techniques in batting instruction that have been developed that reflect Newton's laws of motion and that incorporate complex body mechanics in order to train the participant to implement a preferred swing. Many techniques incorporate one or more positions of the body or body motions, such positions and motions directed to the arms, generally, the elbows, shoulders, wrists, hands, head, torso, waist, hips, legs and feet, all in order to achieve increased hitting proficiency, power and accuracy.

In many preferred approaches the participant is taught and trained to bring the barrel of the bat and hands into an initial motion that may be in the direction of the thrown ball, followed at some stage by a movement or rotation of the bat so as to bring preferred portions of the bat hitting surface, such as may be known as the sweet spot or other portion of the barrel, into alignment with the expected trajectory of the thrown ball. As may be appreciated by those experienced in the art and science of batting, this is an over simplification of the batting swing; however, apart from the tremendous amount of body mechanics and motion incorporated into the swing, the basic objective is to bring the barrel of the bat into contact with the thrown ball.

Part of many techniques in training the participant in a preferred swing is the positioning of the hands in order to handle the baseball bat in a preferred manner. The initial impression to the casual observer, and beginning participant, may be that the techniques associated in developing proper hand grip are simply to ensure the participant retains hold of the bat during the swing. However, advanced techniques go well beyond the simple concern of retaining hold of the bat and further consider how the force and direction of the swung bat may be transferred to the ball in order to achieve a preferred hit.

In some techniques the participant is taught to bring the bat center of gravity about in the direction of the thrown ball by way of providing some form of forward force by the rear hand and arm while swinging the bat and then in either the same or a later motion providing some form of reward force by the front hand and arm during the swing. In order to achieve these motions, some techniques focus upon rotating the bat about the hands. This motion is intended to create a swing of the bat about a center of gravity. In some traditional training, the participant may be taught to separate their hands on the handle of the bat in order to accentuate a feel for this motion.

In still further techniques, the motions of the rearward and forward hands and arms are accentuated in order to establish what some have described as ‘force-coupling’. In order to achieve the hand positioning and motion, the participants are taught to drive the rear hand straight forward, such as in a punching motion, and to extend the rear elbow while accentuating motions of the rearward arm, wrist, hand and fingers. At some point in this swing, the participant is then directed in some techniques to pull back on the end of the bat with the front hand. Other motions of the body are required and the result is a very complex motion when taught to beginning participants and particularly when described in the constituent steps of the swing.

Again, this brief explanation of some techniques in batting may be an oversimplification of those techniques and of describing the mechanics of batting generally. This leads to the realization that for many beginning participants, proper batting technique is a skilled that is learned over many sessions of batting instruction to learn proper swing technique. The difficulty in teaching proper batting and swing technique is often accentuated by participants being taught different styles and after being exposed to various forms of instruction.

The recognized need for achieving the forward and rearward motions necessary to achieve the proper swing in some techniques have created an unmet need for properly assisting the participants in understanding what it means to rotate the bat about its center of gravity, to create a push-pull force in the swing, and to achieve what some would describe as a ‘force coupling’ of participant with the bat during the swing. Again, past attempts have been to simply instruct the participant to practice the swing by separating their hands on the handle of the bat. However, this instruction may unnecessarily direct too much attention of the participant upon the new hand positioning and may actually detract from other aspects of the swing. Furthermore, the separation of the hands may in some cases create a looser grip for some participants, creating loss of grip, an unwanted change in the swing of the bat or other negative swing characteristic.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention disclosed herein may address one or more of the inadequacies and unmet needs identified in traditional batting techniques. Accordingly, the present invention is embodied as apparatus and device and further embodied as methods, processes and products by process, such embodiments directed to overcome the inadequacies and provide for the unmet needs in batting instruction.

Bat grip devices and methods are disclosed that are provided in some embodiments for developing swing technique for batting in sports such as baseball and softball. The invention may be provided alone, such as an accessory or tool that is implemented as part of batting instruction and that is a separate component to the bat. In still further embodiments, the invention may be provided in combination with a bat, such as a feature of the bat and integral to the bat and bat handle in manufacture. The invention in some embodiments comprises methods of batting and batting instruction as well as swing technique, and alternatively may be incorporated into traditional batting instruction. The invention in some embodiments may be utilized in batting instruction while still further embodiments may be incorporated into actual baseball and softball play should league rules allow.

The invention in some embodiments may comprise a bat grip device having a plurality of grip retention elements. The plurality of grip retention elements may be integral with a handle conforming surface and positioned longitudinally along the axis of the handle conforming surface. The longitudinal axis of the handle conforming surface may coincide with and be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat. In some embodiments, the grip retention elements may comprise finger retention elements. In some preferred embodiments, an upper plurality of finger retention elements and a lower plurality of finger retention elements are provided.

A fulcrum element may be configured between the upper and lower plurality of grip retention elements. In some embodiments the fulcrum element comprises a hand positioning fulcrum element designed to assist in achieving the objectives of the present invention. In still further embodiments, the fulcrum element may comprise a bat acceleration element corresponding to the center of gravity of the bat.

In some preferred embodiments of the invention, a bat grip device may comprise a handle conforming surface having a first and second extent, the first extent capable of being connected with the second extent so as to allow the handle conforming surface to be retainably positioned about a handle of a bat, such as about the circumference of the handle of the bat. In some embodiments, a fastening element provides for the retained positioning of the bat grip device about the handle of a bat. In other embodiments, the invention may comprise a bat having the features disclosed herein. The bat grip device may have a position fixed about the handle of the bat, and in some embodiments be integral with the bat, while other alternative embodiments provide a bat grip device that is removably positioned about the handle of the bat.

The plurality of grip retention elements may be positioned along the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device, an axis that may coincide with or be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat or the handle conforming surface. The plurality of grip retention elements may be oriented in a plane perpendicular to and positioned radially about the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device, an axis that may coincide with or be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat or the handle conforming surface. In alternative embodiments, the grip retention elements may be oriented in a plane oblique to the perpendicular position to the longitudinal axis. One objective in the orientation of the grip retention elements is to accommodate preferred grip positions of the fingers and hands of the participant. In still further embodiments, the upper plurality of grip retention elements, in some embodiments comprising finger retention elements, may be oriented independently of the orientation of the lower plurality of finger retention elements. In still further embodiments of the invention, recessed retention elements are positioned along the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device as a further aid in assisting the participant with the proper grip.

The invention may comprise technology that facilitates batting instruction and the teaching of swing technique, and in some preferred embodiments particularly directed to the instruction of play in baseball and softball sports, while addressing issues surrounding grip and hand placement during batting instruction as described above and as may be known by coaches and players alike. The invention may facilitate a more structural and anatomically stable grip while allowing the participant to focus on other aspects of the swing technique and batting instruction generally. The invention, furthermore, is directed to particular aspects of batting instruction that may focus upon recognized needs for, achieving the forward and rearward motions necessary to achieve the proper swing. In some aspects of batting, the instructed motions manifest to achieve assisting the participants in understanding what it means to rotate the bat about its center of gravity, to create a push-pull force in the swing, and to achieve what some would describe as a ‘force coupling’ of participant with the bat during the swing. Other features are disclosed as embodiments of the invention.

Methods of swinging a bat are further disclosed. In some embodiments, a method batting instruction is also disclosed. In one embodiment, a method of swinging a bat is disclosed having the steps of providing a plurality of grip retention elements about the handle of a bat, in some embodiments finger retention elements, gripping an upper plurality of the grip retention elements with a first hand, gripping a lower plurality of the grip retention elements with a second hand, and accelerating the bat by application of force to the bat whereby application of force is directed to the bat through the grip retention elements.

In some embodiments, a method of swinging a bat is disclosed having the steps of providing a fulcrum element, and in some embodiments a hand positioning fulcrum element, configured between upper and lower plurality of grip retention elements about the handle of a bat, gripping an upper plurality of the grip retention elements with a first hand, gripping a lower plurality of the grip retention elements with a second hand, and accelerating the bat about the fulcrum element, whereby accelerating the bat is provided by application of force directed to the bat through the grip retention elements and through the fulcrum element.

Still other methods such as those corresponding to each apparatus, device and assembly are also disclosed, as well as methods of doing business and instruction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is an end view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6.

FIG. 8 is an end view of the embodiment of FIGS. 5, 6 and 7.

FIG. 9 is a diagram of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a diagram of a second embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is described in preferred embodiments that address one or more inadequacies of the prior art, such as the inadequacies and unmet needs previously described regarding traditional batting techniques. Each embodiment of the invention is shown and described in the Figures, written description, and claims and throughout the disclosure of this application. Accordingly, the present invention is embodied as apparatus and device and further embodied as methods, processes and products by process, such embodiments directed to overcome the inadequacies and provide for the unmet needs in batting instruction. Still other methods such as those corresponding to each apparatus, device and assembly are also disclosed, as well as methods of doing business and instruction.

Bat grip devices and methods are disclosed that are provided in some embodiments for developing swing technique for batting in sports such as baseball and softball. The invention may be provided alone, such as an accessory or tool that is implemented as part of batting instruction and that is a separate component to the bat. In still further embodiments, the invention may be provided in combination with a bat, such as a feature of the bat and integral to the bat and bat handle in manufacture. The invention in some embodiments comprises methods of batting and batting instruction as well as swing technique, and alternatively may be incorporated into traditional batting instruction. The invention in some embodiments may be utilized in batting instruction while still further embodiments may be incorporated into actual baseball and softball play should league rules allow.

Accordingly, the invention in some preferred embodiments is described and disclosed as methods of swinging a bat. Encompassed within this disclosure and reference to swinging a bat are methods of batting instruction and methods of swing technique. Each of these methods incorporate and have inherent the actual swinging of a bat and the steps thereof, whereas the teaching of batting instruction and methods of swing technique simply provide a mode of swinging the bat, i.e. under instructional method for the participant or with a focus upon how the swing is initiated and carried out. Each of these methods is expressly disclosed herein. Furthermore, with reference to bat grip, the disclosure is intended to fully encompass the swinging of the bat, and the mechanics of the bat motion, as it relates generally to baseball and softball, as well as the effects and applications of applying not only the grip but the body motions and mechanics described herein. Therefore the invention should not be construed as limited only to hand positioning and grip as it relates to swinging a bat.

As previously described, the invention may comprise technology that facilitates batting instruction and the teaching of swing technique, generally referred to as swinging a bat, and in some preferred embodiments particularly directed to the instruction of play in baseball and softball sports, while addressing issues surrounding grip and hand placement during batting instruction as described above and as may be known by coaches and players alike. The invention may facilitate a more structural and anatomically stable grip while allowing the participant to focus on other aspects of the swing technique and batting instruction generally. The invention, furthermore, is directed to particular aspects of batting instruction that may focus upon recognized needs for achieving the forward and rearward motions necessary to achieve the proper swing. In some aspects of batting, the instructed motions manifest to achieve assisting the participants in understanding what it means to rotate the bat about its center of gravity, to create a push-pull force in the swing, and to achieve what some would describe as a ‘force coupling’ of participant with the bat during the swing. Other features are disclosed as embodiments of the invention. One objective in the orientation of the grip retention elements is to accommodate preferred grip positions of the fingers and hands of the participant.

Accordingly, FIGS. 1 and 5 describe two preferred embodiments of the present invention. Bat grip device 10, 100 may each be configured to a bat handle or grip portion having a generally cylindrical shape as shown and may have an inner profile 12, 102 in some embodiments that accommodates the outer surface of a baseball or softball bat. The portions of the bat used in the typical swing for gripping the bat are herein referred to as the handle of the bat, and may comprise the bat handle, bat grip, or other portion of the bat.

Some embodiments may even accommodate a tapering bat handle or grip that tapers in a reduced diameter toward the end of the bat opposite the barrel of the bat. In some embodiments, the thickness of the bat grip device may be increased at one end to accommodate for the tapering of the handle or grip portion of the bat. Other embodiments may be configured in a constant thickness, wherein the flexible and conformable material of some embodiments of the bat grip device 10, 100 simply accommodate any bat handle or grip simply given its circumferential extent of its inner profile, its flexible and conformable characteristics, and comprise a retention element such that the bat grip device 10, 100 may be removably positioned about the handle of the bat.

The material of the present invention comprising bat grip device 10, 100 may be of any flexible and conformable material that allows for the device to be removably positioned about the handle of the bat while allowing the participant to comfortably grip the bat while keeping a reliable grip and hold, as well as a material that may withstand repeated use. Accordingly, the material may consist of rubber, form rubber, or other similar material having these characteristics. Alternatively, and if a more resilient and permanent solution is considered, the device could be produced from a hard rubber or plastic, particularly for embodiments that will be fixedly positioned on the bat or that are integral with the bat.

As previously mentioned, embodiments of the invention comprise features having a removably positioned characteristic allowing for the present invention to be applied and removed from one or more bats, and for the ability of the invention to be manufactured and sold as an accessory to a baseball bat. Alternatively, the invention may comprise embodiments wherein the device is fixedly positioned and retained to a single bat. In some embodiments, the invention may be permanently fastened to a bat, such as by way of adhesive or a mechanical fastener. However, in light of current baseball league regulations, and in reference to certain training techniques, a removably positioned device may be preferred, to allow for a single bat to be used for practice, instruction and play, as well as to provide for a removable and transportable characteristic of the present invention.

Again in reference to FIGS. 1 and 5, a bat grip device 10 and a bat grip device 100 is described. Bat grip devices 10, 100 may comprise in some preferred embodiments a handle conforming surface 14, 104 having a first and second extent, the first extent 16, 106 capable of being connected with the second extent 18, 108 so as to allow the handle conforming surface 14, 104 to be retainably positioned about a handle of a bat, such as about the circumference of the handle of the bat. In some applications, the first extent may not contact the second extent when retainably positioned about a handle of a bat, such as when the circumference of the handle exceeds the dimensions of the inner profile, for example if the diameter of the handle exceeds the diameter of the inner profile.

However, non-contact of the first and second extent does not detract from the features and advantages of the present invention. The provision of the retainably positioned first and second extents and further in some embodiments with reference to a fastening element, further described below, provides for the retained positioning of the bat grip device about the handle of a bat and so as to accommodate varying handle dimensions while keeping a preferred position on the handle of the bat. For example, if a bat handle is too wide, having a large diameter that would not allow the first and second extents to contact one another, the present invention can accommodate the larger handle wherein the fastening element will keep the first and second extents retainably positioned about the handle, and wherein a separation 20, 120 between the first and second extents accommodates the larger handle.

In some embodiments, a fastening element provides for the retained positioning of the bat grip device about the handle of a bat. In other embodiments, the invention may comprise a bat and having the features disclosed herein. Generally, however, the bat grip device is positioned about or is configured to the handle of a bat. It may have a position fixed about the handle of the bat, and in some embodiments be integral with the bat, while other alternative embodiments provide a bat grip device that is removably positioned about the handle of the bat.

In some embodiments, a fastening element provides for the retained positioning of the bat grip device about the handle of a bat. In one embodiment, an adjustable fastening element such as one or more straps, elastic materials, or Velcro fasteners may be provided that removably position the grip device about the handle of the bat. The fastening element may further retainably position the first and second extents as described above in order to further accomplish positioning the grip device. In one embodiment, a strap or Velcro fastener may be provided at one or more fastening points 22, 122 that in some embodiments connect the first and second extents of the device. In some preferred embodiments straps or fasteners wrap around the outer circumference of the device at the fastening points 22, 122.

In still alternative embodiments, straps or fasteners attach to the device at the fastening points. Embodiments of the invention also may preferably allow for the participant to determine where the one or more fastening elements will be positioned on the device in removably positioning the grip device about the handle of the bat, making the fastening points 22, 122 a flexible and changeable feature.

Now in reference to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, one embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 1 is described in top, side and end views. Separation 20 and first and second extents 16 and 18 may be more easily viewed in these figures. Furthermore, and in reference to FIGS. 6, 7 and 8, a second embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 5 is also described in top, side and end views. Separation 120 and first and second extents 106 and 108 may be more easily viewed in these figures. These figures describe and disclose two embodiments that may comprise features accommodating various sizes of bats, or may each accommodate varying sizes of participants' hands and grip, as further described below. These figures also further describe other features and aspects of the present invention as further described herein.

The invention in some embodiments may comprise a bat grip device 10 and bat grip device 100 having a plurality of grip retention elements. The plurality of grip retention elements, described in reference to FIGS. 1 through 4 as elements 24 and as elements 124 in reference to FIGS. 5 through 8, may be integral with a handle conforming surface 14, 104 and positioned longitudinally along the axis of the handle conforming surface as shown in the Figures. The longitudinal axis of the handle conforming surface 14, 104 may coincide with and be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat. Correspondingly, the plurality of grip retention elements 24, 124 may be positioned longitudinally along the axis of the handle of a bat.

In some embodiments, the grip retention elements 24, 124 may comprise finger retention elements. The finger retention elements are configured so that a participant may place a hand and fingers about the finger retention elements so that each finger is interposed between finger retention elements. In some embodiments, the grip retention elements 24, 124 may extend less than the circumference of the bat grip device, and in some embodiments, extend less than the circumference of the handle conforming surface. The grip retention elements 24, 124 in some preferred embodiments extend only a distance to interpose between fingers of the hands of a participant as a grip, while the hand of the participant may contact other portions of the bat grip device 10, 100, such as those portions of the bat grip device extending the remaining circumference.

In alternative embodiments, the grip retention elements 24, 124 may extend the circumference of the handle conforming surface, and accordingly other portions of the participants hands may contact or interact with the grip retention elements 24, 124 in accordance with the features and objectives of the present invention. The use of the device may be adapted to any particular swing technique or batting instruction or style.

In some preferred embodiments, an upper plurality of grip retention elements 26, 126 and a lower plurality of grip retention elements 28, 128 are provided. In some embodiments these upper and lower pluralities are each referred to as upper plurality of finger retention elements and lower plurality of finger retention elements, respectively. Each upper and lower portion are configured corresponding to one hand and fingers of a participant and may accommodate a left or right handed participant.

A fulcrum element 30, 130 may be configured between the upper and lower plurality of grip retention elements. In some embodiments the fulcrum element 30, 130 comprises a hand positioning fulcrum element. The fulcrum element 30, 130 is designed to assist in achieving the objectives of the present invention. In still further embodiments, the fulcrum element may comprise a bat acceleration element corresponding to the center of gravity of the bat. Each of these features is further described below.

The plurality of grip retention elements 24, 124 may be positioned along the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device, an axis that may coincide with or be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat or the handle conforming surface. The plurality of grip retention elements 24, 124 may be oriented in a plane perpendicular to and positioned radially about the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device, an axis that may coincide with or be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat or the handle conforming surface.

In alternative embodiments, the grip retention elements 24, 124 may be oriented in a plane oblique to the perpendicular position to the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device, an axis that may coincide with or be the longitudinal axis of a handle of a bat or the handle conforming surface. The grip retention elements oriented in a plane oblique to the perpendicular position to the longitudinal axis would simply be configured at an angle respective of the grip retention elements 24, 124 described in the figures.

One objective in the orientation of the grip retention elements is to accommodate preferred grip positions of the fingers and hands of the participant. Orientations of the grip retention elements oriented in a plane oblique to the perpendicular position to the longitudinal axis might allow a participant to modify their swing such that, for example, the motions of the upper and lower hands and arms can be modified in initiating and during the swing. In still further embodiments, the upper plurality of grip retention elements, in some embodiments comprising finger retention elements, may be oriented independently of the orientation of the lower plurality of finger retention elements. Many other objectives in swinging the bat may be obtained with such orientations as may be appreciated by one skilled in the art.

In still further embodiments of the invention, recessed retention elements 32, 132 are positioned along the longitudinal axis of the bat grip device as a further aid in assisting the participant with the proper grip. The recessed retention elements 32, 132 may provide a feature by which the participant's hands, and in some embodiments fingers, may contact the handle of the bat. In still further embodiments, the combination of the recessed retention elements 32, 132 and the grip retention elements 24, 124 provide enhanced grip characteristics, swing features, and other features and objectives of the present invention.

As previously described, a fulcrum element 30, 130 may be configured between the upper and lower plurality of grip retention elements. The fulcrum element 30, 130 serves to provide a moment or pivot about which the participant may focus the movement and forces of the upper and lower hands and arms. In some embodiments, the fulcrum element allows for particular aspects of batting instruction that may focus upon recognized needs for achieving the forward and rearward motions necessary to achieve the proper swing. In some aspects of batting, the instructed motions manifest to achieve assisting the participants in understanding what it means to rotate the bat about its center of gravity, to create a push-pull force in the swing, and to achieve what some would describe as a ‘force coupling’ of participant with the bat during the swing. In one example, as the participant initiates their swing, the participant may be taught at a point in the swing to pull or adjust the swing so as to feel a pull of the lower hand, and the participant may be taught at a point in the swing to push or adjust the swing so as to feel a push of the lower hand. Accordingly the coupling of the forces for each hand aid in creating a swing of the bat that may considered to rotate about the center of gravity of the bat, and such as may be determined in combination with the grip and connection of the participant to the bat. In still further embodiments, the fulcrum element may comprise a bat acceleration element, affecting and creating movement of the bat as described above. In still additional embodiments, the bat acceleration element may correspond to the center of gravity of the bat as would be understood from the physics and mechanics of the swing in relation to the participant and the swung bat.

In still further embodiments, the combination of the fulcrum element 30, 130 with other aspects of the invention, such as the recessed retention elements 32, 132 or the grip retention elements 24, 124, or both, or further features of the invention in combination, provide enhanced grip characteristics, swing features, and other features and objectives of the present invention.

Now in reference to FIGS. 9 and 10, methods of swinging a bat are further disclosed. As previously described, these methods further comprise and disclose methods of batting instruction and methods of swing technique, as would be understood by those skilled in the art. In one embodiment, a method of swinging a bat is disclosed beginning with the step 100 of providing a plurality of grip retention elements about the handle of a bat, in some embodiments finger retention elements. The following step of swinging would provide for the participant 102 gripping an upper plurality of the grip retention elements with a first hand, and then step 104 gripping a lower plurality of the grip retention elements with a second hand, followed by step 106 accelerating the bat by application of force to the bat whereby application of force is directed to the bat through the grip retention elements. Further steps are disclosed throughout this application and in view of the functionality described with regard to the bat grip device.

Now in reference to FIG. 10, in some embodiments, a method of swinging a bat is disclosed initiated by the step of 200 providing a fulcrum element, and in some embodiments a hand positioning fulcrum element, configured between upper and lower plurality of grip retention elements about the handle of a bat. This step is followed by the step 202 of gripping an upper plurality of the grip retention elements with a first hand, and step 204 gripping a lower plurality of the grip retention elements with a second hand, followed by step 206 accelerating the bat about the fulcrum element, whereby accelerating the bat is provided by application of force directed to the bat through the grip retention elements and through the fulcrum element.

Manufacturing methods and products by process are clearly defined as features of the present invention, and may further be disclosed as methods of manufacturing bat grip devices, consistent with the present invention as previously described. As previously mentioned, the methods of swinging a bat equally apply to methods of batting instruction and swing technique, and as such methods of doing business are further disclosed.

As can be easily understood from the foregoing, the basic concepts of the present invention may be embodied in a variety of ways. It involves techniques as well as one or more apparatus, device and assembly, as well as devices, assemblages and several apparatus that may provide for the appropriate techniques. In this application, the techniques of the present invention in some embodiments are disclosed as part of the results shown to be achieved by the various devices, assemblages and several apparatus described and as steps that are inherent to utilization. They are simply the natural result of utilizing the devices, assemblages or several apparatus as intended and described. In addition, while some devices and apparatus are disclosed, it should be understood that these not only accomplish certain methods but also can be varied in a number of ways. Importantly, as to all of the foregoing, all of these embodiments are encompassed by this disclosure.

Further, each of the various elements or steps of the invention may also be achieved in a variety of manners. This disclosure should be understood to encompass each such variation, be it a variation of an apparatus embodiment, a method or process embodiment, or even merely a variation of any element of these. Particularly, it should be understood that as the disclosure relates to specific features of the invention, the words for each feature may be expressed by equivalent apparatus, device, assembly or method terms—even if only the function or result is the same. Such equivalent, broader, or even more generic terms should be considered to be disclosed for each element, step, or action. Such terms can be substituted where desired to make explicit the implicitly broad coverage to which this invention is entitled. As but one example, it should be understood that all actions or functions may be expressed as a means for taking that action or achieving that function, or as an element which causes that action or has that function. Similarly, each physical element disclosed should be understood to encompass a disclosure of the action or function which is facilitated by that physical element.

Any acts of law, statutes, regulations, or rules mentioned in this application for patent; or any patents, publications, or other references mentioned in this application for patent are hereby incorporated by reference. In addition, as to each term used it should be understood that unless its utilization in this application is inconsistent with such interpretation as would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art from this disclosure, common dictionary definitions should be understood as incorporated for each term and all definitions, alternative terms, and synonyms such as contained in the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, second edition are hereby incorporated by reference. However, as to each of the above, to the extent that such references, information or statements incorporated by reference might be considered inconsistent with the patenting of the invention, such as contradicting disclosed features ascertained by a reading of these patent documents, such information and statements are expressly not to be considered incorporated by reference and more particularly as not made by the Applicant. Furthermore, as to any dictionary definition or other extrinsic evidence utilized to construe this disclosure, if more than one definition is consistent with the use of the words in the intrinsic record, the claim terms should be construed to encompass all such consistent meanings.

Furthermore, if or when used, the use of the transitional phrase “comprising” is used to maintain “open-end” disclosure herein, according to traditional disclosure and claim interpretation. Thus, unless the context requires otherwise, it should be understood that the term “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, are intended to imply the inclusion of a stated element or step or group of elements or steps but not the exclusion of any other element or step or group of elements or steps. Such terms should be interpreted in their most expansive form so as to afford the applicant the broadest coverage legally permissible.





 
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