Title:
Tennis stroke trainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The Tennis Stroke Trainer is designed to allow one person to practice any type of tennis stroke and follow through of the racket at any height chosen. Each model purchased determines what height is used. The Tennis Stroke Trainer is designed to be used indoors at one's home or office but can be used anywhere. The Tennis Stroke Trainer is the combination of a metal spring of desired size cohered to a rod of desired length which on the other end of said rod is directly cohered to a tennis ball, thus comprising the entire moving part of this apparatus. The designed angled positioning of said spring in the spring mount which is attached to the base provided is at angles ranging from twenty to eighty degrees from horizontal, thus creating the desired action of the moving ball.



Inventors:
Cathcart, Robert Dale (Alpine, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/798212
Publication Date:
11/01/2001
Filing Date:
03/05/2001
Assignee:
CATHCART ROBERT DALE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B69/38; (IPC1-7): A63B69/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert D. Cathcart (Alpine, CA, US)
Claims:

What I claim as my invention is:



1. Combining a metal spring with an attachment inside the spring to cohere and support a rod of desired length where the other end of this rod is directly cohered and attached to a tennis ball, allowing said spring to be inserted and fastened into a hole of sufficient diameter, depth and angle ranging from twenty to eighty degrees from horizontal either on the portable base provided or in another horizontal fixed position to allow one person to practice various tennis strokes repetitively in a relatively small area, indoors or outside.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] “Not Applicable.”

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] “Not Applicable.”

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

[0003] “Not Applicable”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Many apparatus have been invented for the purpose of simulating the stroking of a tennis ball to compare with actual tennis play. Doing this to provide the realistic feel along with the repetition needed to quickly learn or perfect tennis strokes and skills. These apparatus range from belts and elastic bands, balls launched from a tee, vertically mounted apparatus or metal guides to complex mechanisms that slide horizontally with multiple springs, air pistons, rigid bases and mounts. Similarly all of these inventions see that more repetition is crucial for quick and precise learning. The user must be able to practice all types of strokes and follow through with the tennis racket. The actual location of the ball needs to change to promote correcting one's stance. This slight change also demands one's attention. Doing this while having the same feel and experience as on the tennis court. Other problems faced are trying to mimic the actual flight, variable speeds and heights of the ball. The varying speed is translated into varying resistance which is felt upon hitting the ball. The varying heights may require cumbersome adjustments of the apparatus. To get all of this in one compact system may require a large complex apparatus. But then one may be faced with marketing an immobile, expensive system.

[0005] The solutions may be to provide a small, lightweight apparatus that provides easy mobility, usage and storage. An apparatus that instantly varies the direction, resistance and speed of the ball from slow speeds to service speeds upon immediate demand by the user. An apparatus that actually moves, forcing the user to correct one's stance with small steps. An apparatus that can easily be changed to different heights to allow for any type of stroke. One that provides for extreme repetition, up to fifty strokes per minute. An apparatus which strongly urges one to keep one's eye on the ball. One that trains one to always hit the ball in the center of the racket. One that trains one to not hesitate when stroking the ball. One that is easily affordable so numerous units may be used to simulate different heights of the ball at one time. One that can be used in a small area in the comfort of one's home or office as well as anywhere else. These said solutions are all administered by the Tennis Stroke Trainer. The unique design and angled placement of the spring apparatus allows for the similar resistance of the ball as felt in hitting a ball during a real game of tennis.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Weighing less than ten pounds, the Tennis Stroke Trainer is a small, lightweight portable or fixed apparatus which can be used indoors or outdoors. Different models provide for different heights of the ball to accommodate every type of stroke. The low cost of each model makes them easily affordable. The Tennis Stroke Trainer is the combination of a spring cohered to a support rod on one end with a tennis ball cohered to the other end of the support rod. This apparatus is inserted into the provided portable base at angles ranging from twenty to eighty degrees from horizontal. The angle of the apparatus is demonstrated in the provided drawing. This designed angle prevents interference with racket follow through as well as enhancing the speed of the ball. For a fixed location one may secure the base to the flooring material or actually drill a hole of sufficient depth, width and angle and then insert and secure the apparatus to the flooring material.

[0007] One hits the ball with a tennis racket at the desired pace. The ball goes forward to hit the base or floor and bounces back to hit the floor in front of the base and then bounces back again almost hitting the base or floor in front of this apparatus. As the ball returns it is now traveling slow enough to hit. The ball is hit as it briefly passes the original resting position. The speed and weight of the returning ball when hit creates the resistance which feels very similar to balls hit in a real game of tennis. The follow through of the racket is not encumbered by this apparatus. One person can learn or practice various tennis strokes while hitting the tennis ball with extreme repetition. The speed of the ball is governed by the force of the user's previous stroke. Hitting the tennis ball in motion as it returns creates the resistance which feels similar to hitting a ball during real play. The slight movement of the base requires the user to adjust one's stance with small steps. The fast returning ball trains one to not hesitate and to keep one's eye on the ball. The resistance of the returning ball when hit strongly urges one to hit the ball in the center of the racket. Hitting the ball in the center of the racket is crucial for power and control of the ball in a real game of tennis. During a real tennis game a hard hit ground stroke, net volley or serve will cause the returner's racket to vibrate badly or turn in one's hand. This vibration or turning in one's hand is caused by the resistance of the ball in flight but more importantly it is caused because one did not hit the ball in the center of the racket. Due to the resistance of the ball the Tennis Stroke Trainer also causes the racket to vibrate or turn in one's hand if the ball is not hit in the center of the racket. When hit in the center of the racket, there is little or no resistance. This strongly urges one to always hit the ball in the center of the racket. The level of vibration lets the user feel just how much off center the ball was hit. The intense repetitive action of hitting the tennis ball (traveling with varying degrees of resistance) allows one to help improve their tennis strokes and reflexes while strengthening arm and wrist muscles. This allows one to learn, improve and strengthen one's various tennis strokes indoors without having to chase tennis balls. This allows one person to practice various tennis strokes indoors during severe weather conditions, day or night in the comfort of one's home or office. This allows one person to receive extreme repetition of each stroke practiced to promote a reflexive tennis stroke. The Tennis Stroke Trainer accelerates the learning curve drastically due to the extreme amount of precise repetition which can be achieved. Up to fifty strokes can be performed in one minute. A beginner can now learn or practice various tennis strokes in the privacy of one's home to avoid embarrassment on the tennis courts.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0008] There is only one drawing depicting a elevation view. The Tennis Stroke Trainer is shown assembled with the portable base and also shown separate from the portable base. Each component used is listed, numbered and described.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The Tennis Stroke Trainer is the combination of a portable base, a metal spring, the cohering of the support rod on one end of said spring where the opposite end of the support rod may similarly be attached to a tennis ball. The spring is attached to the portable base at angles ranging from twenty to eighty degrees from horizontal. Different models provide for different lengths of the support rod translating to different heights of the ball. This creates an apparatus for the purpose of learning and practicing various tennis strokes indoors or outside. For portable use a portable base is provided. If portability is not required, this apparatus as mentioned above may be inserted and firmly fastened into a hole of sufficient diameter, depth and angle which is drilled into the flooring material at the home, office, business or tennis court.

[0010] The portable base used in conjunction with this apparatus is made of any material of sufficient weight or strength to support the Tennis Stroke Trainer. In this model we use particle board or plywood. The portable base for this model is ½ inches to 1″ thick and is 23 and ½ inches square. The base is painted green with white lines as to mimic the appearance of a tennis court.

[0011] Attached to the base is the spring support. The spring support is made of any economical material with sufficient strength. The spring support in this model is wood that is 2 inches thick, 4 inches wide and 6 inches to 7″ long. A hole is drilled into the spring support at various angles ranging from twenty to eighty degrees from horizontal to hold the spring at the desired angle. It's function is to hold and support the spring. The spring support is attached to the base with screws. This portable base can be sold as part of the Tennis Stroke Trainer for portable use. For fixed use, the Tennis Stroke Trainer is sold minus the portable base.

[0012] The spring is inserted into the hole of the spring support and is secured by screws. In the case of a non-portable or fixed base, the Tennis Stroke Trainer can be sold separately from the portable base. In this model, the spring with a cohering rubber rod polymer inside and supporting rod with ball attached is designed to be sold separately from the base for fixed locations and for different types of tennis strokes. It then can be inserted into a fixed base or the provided portable base. The spring can vary in size or form as to have sufficient strength to support the rod and ball. In this model the spring is 1 inch by 7 inches times 0.135 inches.

[0013] Inside the spring any cohering material of sufficient strength and flexibility can be used to secure the support rod to the spring. In this model a ¾″ rubber rod polymer of solid or liquid form is used and is inserted inside the spring. The function of the rubber rod inside the spring is to support and securely cohere the support rod to the spring. The opposite end of this support rod supports the ball. A rubber sleeve or any protective material may be placed over the support rod at the top of the spring to protect the support rod from spring abrasion or near the ball for racket abrasion when hit improperly.

[0014] The support rod which supports the ball is made of any material which has sufficient weight, strength or flexibility. The length of the rod varies for different types of tennis strokes. The selected length of this rod for each apparatus can vary to match the type of tennis stroke to be practiced. The length of this rod can vary from 8 inches to 12 feet. In this model we use a fiberglass rod. The fiberglass rod is supported and secured by the rubber polymer rod inside the spring. The other end of the fiberglass rod supports and is cohered to a ball.

[0015] The ball can be made of any material with sufficient weight, flexibility and durability. In this model we use a tennis ball. This ball is secured to the rod by any rubber polymer resin, glue or any other sufficient means to secure the fiberglass rod to the ball. The total weight of the ball creates the resistance to mimic a typical tennis ball approaching at high speeds. The combination of the portable base, metal spring, cohering of the support rod to the spring and attached ball creates the apparatus when portability is needed. The said combination minus the portable base is used for non-portable use.

[0016] One uses the Tennis Stroke Trainer by hitting the ball with a tennis racket. When hit with a firm stroke the ball moves fast. The permanently attached tennis ball moves forward to hit the floor or base in front of this apparatus, then the ball bounces off the floor or base and returns back past the original resting position to hit the floor in front of this apparatus. The ball then bounces back again to almost hit the floor or base in front of this apparatus. As the ball returns again the ball is now moving slow enough to hit. The ball is hit while the ball is still in motion. The ball is hit slightly after the ball passes the original resting position. The rhythm is hit, (bounces) one, two, hit, one, two, hit. This timing interval can mimic a fast volley. Thus training one with repetition to prepare early for one's stroke. The user is in control and can hit the ball at any pace or direction desired. The resistance and movement of the ball mimics real play. When hit at angles the ball goes cross court. The base provided is designed to look like a tennis court. The angle of the ball's direction in relationship to the base is similar to the angles needed on a real tennis court. Thus one can practice angled shots which mimic real play. This procedure is repeated again and again to get repetition of up to fifty times per minute. The previous stroke determines the speed, direction and resistance of the moving ball. Weight is also added to the tennis ball to create resistance similar to real play. In real play, if the ball is not hit in the center of the racket a fast moving ball creates enough resistance to vibrate one's racket or make it turn in one's hand. Likewise, the resistance of the ball on this apparatus will vibrate or turn one's racket if the ball is not hit in center of the racket. Thus with repetition this apparatus trains one to always hit the ball in the center of the racket. The base may even move slightly forcing one to keep adjusting one's stance and to pay attention, thus training one to adjust for strokes and to keep their eye on the ball. The fast moving ball does not allow one to hesitate, thus with repetition it trains one to not hesitate when stroking the ball. One can practice strokes at any height from low bouncing balls to net, overhead and service strokes. Weighing less than ten pounds, this easily portable or fixed apparatus has a simple, unique, lightweight and compact design allowing one person to practice various tennis strokes up to fifty times per minute while hitting a tennis ball with sufficient variable direction, resistance and velocity as to mimic a real game of tennis.

[0017] With repetition comes enhanced reflex actions to improve eye-hand coordination to hit the ball in the center of the racket. With repetition comes earlier preparation and the proper timing required to hit the approaching ball at the right time with the right amount of force. With repetition comes strengthened arm and wrist muscles. The Tennis Stroke Trainer can be used indoors allowing one to practice day or night. It can be used indoors during severe weather conditions which prevents one from playing tennis outdoors. One can watch television and practice tennis at the same time. By practicing indoors with privacy, one can avoid embarrassing performance experienced by beginners. Once proficient with the proper tennis strokes, one can play in public with confidence.

[0018] Repetition in properly stroking the tennis ball helps enhance the professionals' game also. The Tennis Stroke Trainer allows the professional to repetitively practice different strokes for different heights of the tennis ball. The resistance of the returning ball helps to strengthen arm and wrist muscles even more so for the professional. Repetition helps to imprint the proper reflex tennis stroke for the position of the ball returning. This apparatus allows one to practice proper movement of the feet. Hitting the ball while running is essential in the game of tennis. One can run in place or hit the ball as they pass this apparatus. The slight movement of the base may force the user to actually change one's stance with small steps. The Tennis Stroke Trainer allows one person to learn or practice most aspects of the game of tennis indoors or outdoors.

[0019] This apparatus can be used at tennis training schools. The instructor can observe and instruct many beginners at once with one on one training without having to furnish or pick up numerous tennis balls per student. Many different models of the Tennis Stroke Trainer may be set up to mimic drills to simulate real play. The person runs a set pattern to hit balls ranging from low bouncing balls to net and overhead shots. But most importantly the Tennis Stroke Trainer allows one person to practice the same stroke at the same height over and over. This is done to promote the appropriate reflexive stroke through repetition.