Tennis practice device using simulation
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The device allows a beginner to learn the game, or an advanced player to develop new skills by simulating ball movement from the time that the opponent strikes the ball until the first bounce of the bail in the player's court. At this time a real ball is delivered at a speed and trajectory preset by the player. This simulation allows the practicing player to interact with the device in preparing stance and having a fluid back swing and swing of the tennis racket. The real ball having been struck by the player hits a large catch net located immediately in front of the device. The devise can be used in an enclosure the size of a one car garage or small basement, allowing use during rain or winter months.

Parkinson, Paul (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, US)
Daniel, Peter (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, US)
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International Classes:
A63B69/40; A63B69/38; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
1. A device for practicing the game of tennis comprising a. A device that simulates an opponent striking tennis ball and also simulates the movement of the ball through the first bounce on the players court. b. Said device delivers a real tennis ball at the time of said simulated bounce at a speed and trajectory preset by the player. A circuit panel comprising timing components that operates simulated ball movement and coordinate real ball delivery for said tennis practice device



[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] This invention relates to a machine utilized for the practice of the game of tennis in small enclosures.

[0003] 2. Prior Art

[0004] Prior art practice machines for the game of tennis are designed to be used on a tennis court in good weather by throwing a tennis ball the length of a tennis court, over tennis net. By watching the ball approach, a practicing player can time his/her stance and back swing in anticipation of the arrival of the ball, U.S. Pat. No. 3,989,245, Augustine.

[0005] Back swing and swing must be a fluid motion. Several machines are on the market, however all are designed to utilize a fill tennis court. Existing machines can be slowed down, placed close to the player, and deliver a ball representing the ball flight after the first bounce. This is not practical because in the game of tennis the player has to anticipate the movement of the ball and prepare stance and begin back swing to strike the approaching ball precisely at the right time in a fluid motion. Existing machines placed close to the player give no indication of when a ball will be delivered.


[0006] By using simulation of the flight of the ball from the time a simulated opponent strikes the ball until the first bounce, a player can anticipate when the ball will be delivered and prepare stance and back-swing to coincide with the ball delivery. By utilizing a catch net placed immediately in front of the device a player can watch the simulated movement of the ball, prepare for the arrival of the real ball at the time of the first bounce, and hit the ball which then strikes the catch net. Practicing the game can be done in a small enclosure similar to the size of a one-car garage. Weather conditions are not a factor, allowing the player to learn the game or improve skills during winter months or rainy days


[0007] FIG. 1 shows a hinge pin used for manually setting the elevation for ball delivery.

[0008] FIG. 2 shows a locking mechanism for holding the selected elevation in place.

[0009] FIG. 3 shows a left mounting plate for the motors and wheels.

[0010] FIG. 4 shows a right mounting plate for the motors, wheels, and elevation setting.

[0011] FIG. 5 shows a rod, which extends outside of the cover to manually adjust elevation after the locking mechanism is released.

[0012] FIG. 6 shows a bell-crank which rotates, releasing one ball while holding all remaining balls.

[0013] FIG. 7 shows a rod that connects the bell-crank to a solenoid.


[0014] A Plexiglas tube 2Âľ ID holding 18 tennis balls is inserted vertically into the top of the device. The balls fall, and there is room for three at a time going into the ball chute inside of the device. The remainder stay in the tube, falling into the device one at a time as a ball is ejected. The balls in the device compress the upper micro-switch lever, completing the circuit and allowing the circuit board to operate at such time as 120-volt power is applied. When the device is turned on the circuit board delays for 14 seconds, allowing time for the player to get into position. At that time the circuit board illuminates the first light, simulating that an opponent has struck the ball. One half second later the circuit board illuminates the second light, simulating that the ball is crossing the tennis net. One half second later the circuit board illuminates the third light, simulating that the ball is bouncing. At that time the circuit board provides power to a solenoid which, through a rod (FIG. 7) pulls on the bell-crank (FIG. 6) releasing a single ball. The upper arm of the bell-crank simultaneously moves into the tube thus holding all other balls.

[0015] The released ball moves down the tube and strikes the lever on the lower micro-switch, resetting the circuit board. The ball proceeds down the tube and is ejected by two counter-rotating wheels (FIG. 8) spun by two electric motors. The speed and trajectory of the ball has been preset by the player before beginning play (FIGS. 1,2,3,4,5). Having been reset, the circuit board repeats the procedure after a delay of 4 seconds. The procedure is repeated over and over until there are no more balls in the system. As the last ball is ejected the upper micro-switch lever is released, having no more balls holding it closed, and the circuit board shuts down.


[0016] The device provides a tennis player with a means of improving skills when not able to utilize a tennis court due to weather conditions such as rain or months of winter weather. This devise simulates the flight of the ball, allowing the player to prepare his/her stance and back-swing and then delivers a real ball for the player to strike, with said ball then hitting a catch net. The player can utilize this device in a single car garage, basement, or similar enclosure in any weather.