Title:
Tennis teaching shade
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided herein is a shading device useful in conjunction with wheeled carts which are used by tennis instructors to train students. A shading device according to the invention is adapted to be retrofitted to existing tennis ball storage carts. Use of the present invention provides a tennis ball storage cart having a shaded area external to the left or the right side of the cart, where an instructor may stand, shaded from the sun while serving balls to a student or otherwise observing court activity. By use of the invention, an instructor may spend many hours instructing students on sunlit days without being effected by the harmful effects of the sunlight.



Inventors:
Saludo, Nimrod E. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/973462
Publication Date:
04/17/2003
Filing Date:
10/10/2001
Assignee:
SALUDO NIMROD E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B71/00; B62B5/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher J. Whewell (Georgetown, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A device useful for shading a cart which comprises: a) a first generally U-shaped member which defines a first plane; b) a second generally U-shaped canopy-supporting member which defines a second plane; c) means for securing said first member and said second member together, said means for securing being configured so that said first member, second member and means for securing all reside only within the first plane or the second plane, and wherein a single angle is defined by the intersection of said first plane and said second plane.

2. A device according to claim 1 further comprising: d) a canopy disposed about said second member.

3. A device according to claim 1 in which said angle is any angle in the range of 45 degrees to 120 degrees.

4. A device according to claim 1 in which said angle is any angle in the range of 60 degrees to 100 degrees.

5. A device according to claim 1 in which said angle is about 80 degrees.

6. A device according to claim 1 in which said means for securing said first member and said second member together is slidably engageable with at least one of said first member or said second member.

7. A device according to claim 1 wherein the frame members are all of a single construction.

8. A device according to claim 1 in which only the second generally U-shaped member is slidably engageable with the means for securing, and the first generally U-shaped member and securing means are of a single construction.

9. A device according to claim 1 in which only the first generally U-shaped member is slidably engageable with the means for securing, and the second generally U-shaped member and securing means are of a single construction.

10. A device according to claim 1 in which said canopy comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: wood, plastic sheet, metal sheet, screens, canvas, vinyl sheet, cotton, linen, and PVC.

11. A wheeled cart useful as a teaching aid for tennis instruction which comprises: I) a storage compartment configured in a generally rectangular solid configuration comprising: i) a front wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface; ii) a rear wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface, and having an upper portion and a lower portion; iii) a left side wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface; iv) a right side wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface; v) a floor portion; vi) an open top portion; vii) a handle means disposed at said upper portion of said rear wall portion; and II) a shading means which comprises: a) a first generally U-shaped member which defines a first plane; b) a second generally U-shaped canopy-supporting member which defines a second plane; c) means for securing said first member and said second member together, said means for securing being configured so that said first member, second member and means for securing all reside only within the first plane or the second plane, and wherein a single angle is defined by the intersection of said first plane and said second plane, wherein said first member is attached to said storage compartment at a location selected from the group consisting of: the right side wall portion or the left side wall portion; and d) a canopy disposed about said second member, so as to provide a shaded region to an area external to the storage compartment in a location selected from the group consisting of: the right side of said cart or the left side of said cart.

12. A wheeled cart according to claim 11 in which said angle is any angle in the range of 45 degrees to 120 degrees.

13. A wheeled cart according to claim 11 in which said angle is any angle in the range of 60 degrees to 100 degrees.

14. A wheeled cart according to claim 11 in which said angle is about 80 degrees.

15. A device according to claim 11 in which said means for securing said first member and said second member together is slidably engageable with at least one of said first member or said second member.

16. A device according to claim 11 wherein the frame members are all of a single construction.

17. A device according to claim 11 in which only the second generally U-shaped member is slidably engageable with the means for securing, and the first generally U-shaped member and securing means are of a single construction.

18. A device according to claim 11 in which only the first generally U-shaped member is slidably engageable with the means for securing, and the second generally U-shaped member and securing means are of a single construction.

19. A device according to claim 11 in which said canopy comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: wood, plastic sheet, metal sheet, screens, canvas, vinyl sheet, cotton, linen, and PVC.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to the field of the sport of tennis. More particularly, it relates to a wheeled cart in which a plurality of tennis balls are stored for use by an instructor of tennis in teaching students.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Tennis is a well-known popular sport played in many countries of the world. As is well-known, the sport can be played with either two opponents or two teams of two, wherein the playing field is divided into regions in which each player may stand, and in which the court is divided into tow portions by a net. The sport of tennis involves the volleying of a ball between the opponents and over the net, using tennis racquets, which are well-known in the art. The sport of tennis involves various techniques used by each player for returning a volleyed tennis ball back to the opponent player(s). Two of these techniques are known as the forehand stroke and the backhand stroke.

[0003] As in many other sports, tennis often requires years of practice for an individual to become a skilled player. While practicing the sport is in itself beneficial towards becoming a better player, and even more popular method of becoming a better player involves the use of a qualified tennis instructor, which is often preferably a professional tennis player.

[0004] Professional tennis players are highly qualified to teach novice tennis players to improve their skills. Many of the methods which tennis instructors employ to teach novice tennis players to improve their skills involve actually being on the tennis court at the time of instruction. Such instruction commonly includes the instructor serving one or more tennis balls to the student immediately after giving a verbal instruction on a form or technique. Since it is often the case that repetitive practice is a beneficial teaching method, tennis instructors often find it desirable to serve multiple tennis balls to their students.

[0005] Serving multiple tennis balls to a student naturally requires a reservoir or storage site for the plurality of balls which are to be served to the student. According to the prior art, one popular means for storing a plurality of tennis balls which are intended to be served to a student is a wheeled basket means, similar in appearance to a common shopping cart. Using such a storage means enables the instructor to easily store over 100 balls which may be served to the student.

[0006] During the serving of the balls to the student, and especially in hot climates, it is often the case that the instructor and student are exposed to direct sunlight. While in the case of students, they may only be exposed to direct sunlight for a time equal to the duration of their lesson, the situation is quite different for the instructor, who may teach several students on the same day and is thus exposed to direct sunlight for the entire day. The effects of prolonged exposure to sunlight are well-documented, and it is reasonable to conclude that the less time a person spends in direct sunlight, the better. Thus, if a shading means for blocking the sun's rays were available to tennis instructors, which shading means enabled the instructor to carry out their teachings uninhibited, such a shading device would be welcomed by many tennis instructors, particular those who work in southern climates where the sun is especially hot during the summer months. If such a shading device were attachable to a ball cart, then the instructor would have access to the tennis balls necessary to carry out the lesson, while keeping themselves shaded.

[0007] While the prior art contains many shading devices, none have thus far addressed the problem of exposure to the sun faced by instructors teaching tennis in the open sun. U.S. Pat. No. 4,865,381 teaches a sunshade attachment that is adapted to be mounted to a beach chair, which comprises: a) a first generally U-shaped member; b) a pair of clamps mounted on said first U-shaped member for releasably attaching said first U-shaped member to a desired structure; c) a second generally U-shaped canopy supporting member releasably attachable to said first U-shaped member; d) a canopy formed of opaque material covering said members; and e) means for releasably securing said members together. However, such a device is unsuitable for use in teaching tennis lessons using a ball cart. The present invention provides an article which is adapted to fit to existing ball carts, which article can effectively shade a tennis instructor from the harmful effects of the sun's rays while giving tennis lessons for extended periods.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In accordance with satisfying the above-described deficiency in the prior art, the present invention provides a device useful for shading a cart which comprises a first generally U-shaped member which defines a first plane, a second generally U-shaped canopy-supporting member which defines a second plane, and a means for securing the first member and the second member together. The means for securing is configured so that the first member, second member and means for securing all reside only within the first plane or the second plane, and wherein a single angle is defined by the intersection of said first plane and said second plane. There is a canopy which is disposed over the second member, to provide shade.

[0009] The shading device above is especially well suited for use in conjunction with a ball storage cart used by tennis instructors. Thus, another aspect of the present invention is a wheeled cart useful as a teaching aid for tennis instruction which comprises a storage compartment that is configured in a generally rectangular solid configuration having an open top into which tennis balls may be placed for storage or retrieved. The storage compartment comprises a front wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface, a rear wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface and an upper portion and a lower portion, a left side wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface, a right side wall portion having an inner surface and an outer surface, a floor portion, an open top portion, a handle means disposed at said upper portion of said rear wall portion, and a shading means. The shading means comprises a first generally U-shaped member which defines a first plane, a second generally U-shaped canopy-supporting member which defines a second plane, and a means for securing the first member and the second member together. The means for securing is configured so that the first member, second member, and means for securing all reside only within the first plane or the second plane, and wherein a single angle is defined by the intersection of said first plane and said second plane. The first member is attached to the storage compartment at a location selected from the group consisting of: the right side wall portion or the left side wall portion. Preferably, There is a canopy which is disposed over the second member, to provide shade to an area external to the storage compartment in a location selected from the group consisting of: the right side of said cart or the left side of said cart.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] In the annexed drawings:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ball cart with an article according to one form of the invention attached;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a ball cart according to the prior art;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a shading article according to the invention including a canopy;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a shading article according to the invention without a canopy; and

[0015] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a disassembled shading article according to the invention without a canopy.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] Referring to the drawings and initially to FIG. 1 there is shown a perspective view of a wheeled cart usefull for storing tennis balls or the like which is provided with a shading device 30 according to one aspect of the present invention. In this figure is shown the ball storage compartment 28 which includes a front wall portion 2, a rear wall portion 4, a left side wall portion 6, a right side wall portion 8, and floor portion 10. The top portion 12 is open by virtue of the absence of any wall portion. Thus, the ball storage compartment resembles an open box. There is a handle means 14 disposed at the upper portion of the rear wall 4. Each of the front wall portion 2, rear wall portion 4, left side wall portion 6, right side wall portion 8 and floor portion 10 includes an inner surface which faces the interior of the storage compartment and an outer surface which faces the exterior of the storage compartment.

[0017] The shading device comprises a first generally U-shaped member 16, a second generally U-shaped member 18 (FIGS. 3-5) and a first means for securing the members together 20a, and a second means for securing the members together 20b.

[0018] There is a means for attaching the first member to the inner portion of the left side wall portion 22. Also shown in FIG. 1 are wheels 24 and the canopy 26 disposed about the second generally U-shaped member.

[0019] In FIG. 2 there is shown a perspective view of a ball cart according to the prior art, which includes a ball storage compartment 28 which includes a front wall portion 2, a rear wall portion 4, a left side wall portion 6, a right side wall portion 8, and floor portion 10. The top portion 12 is open by virtue of the absence of any wall portion. Thus, the ball storage compartment resembles an open box. There is a handle means 14 disposed at the upper portion of the rear wall 4. Each of the front wall portion 2, rear wall portion 4, left side wall portion 6, right side wall portion 8 and floor portion 10 includes an inner surface which faces the interior of the storage compartment and an outer surface which faces the exterior of the storage compartment.

[0020] FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of shading device 30 according to one form of the invention which comprises a first generally U-shaped member 16, second generally U-shaped member 18, first means for securing the first generally U-shaped member to the second generally U-shaped member 20a, second means for securing the first generally U-shaped member to the second generally U-shaped member 20b, and canopy 26 disposed about the second generally U-shaped member.

[0021] FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the frame portion of a shading device 30 according to the invention which frame portion comprises a first generally U-shaped member 16, second generally U-shaped member 18, first means for securing the first generally U-shaped member to the second generally U-shaped member 20a, and second means for securing the first generally U-shaped member to the second generally U-shaped member 20b.

[0022] FIG. 5 shows and exploded view of the frame portion of a shading device 30 according to the invention which frame portion comprises a first generally U-shaped member 16, second generally U-shaped member 18, first means for securing the first generally U-shaped member to the second generally U-shaped member 20a, and second means for securing the first generally U-shaped member to the second generally U-shaped member 20b.

[0023] The present invention generally comprises a framework comprising two generally U-shaped members which are connected to one another by a pair of means for securing the members together, and in which there is a canopy disposed about one of the members.

[0024] The generally U-shaped members and means for connecting them to one another (collectively “the frame members”) may be constructed of any material which is of sufficient strength to be attached to the wall of a basket or ball cart while supporting the weight of the remaining members of the frame and canopy. Preferred materials of construction include without limitation metals such as steel or aluminum, woods, and polymeric materials such as PVC, polypropylene, polyethylene, etc. In one preferred form of the invention the frame members comprise aluminum. In another preferred form of the invention, the frame members comprise PVC.

[0025] According to one preferred form of the invention, the frame members are constructed of hollow tubular stock, wherein the generally U-shaped members and means for securing them to one another are of such diameter to enable one to slidably fit into the other. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the inner diameter y of the first generally U-shaped member 16 is slightly larger than the outer diameter of the end x of the securing means 20a. Such dimensioning enables an adjustable height dimension for the shading device 30 when there are holes 31 disposed about the securing means 20a which may be selectively locked into a desired position by means of a pin 33 which passes through the diameter of the first generally U-shaped member 16 by selecting which hole the pin is disposed through when the securing means 20a is engaged in the first generally U-shaped member 16. Other means for providing an adjustable fit between concentric tubes known to those skilled in the art are functionally equivalent, such as a threaded screw being located at 33 which may be turned against the outer surface of the securing means 20a. Similar dimensioning may be effected for the end portions p and q of the securing means 20a and the ends of the second generally U-shaped member 18, as well as provisions 31 and 33 for adjusting the length L of the overhang of the canopy portion. The inner diameter of the first generally U-shaped member may be larger than the outer diameter of the securing means. The inner diameter of the securing means may be larger than the outer diameter of the first generally U-shaped member. The inner diameter of the second generally U-shaped member may be larger than the outer diameter of the securing means. The inner diameter of the securing means may be larger than the outer diameter of the second generally U-shaped member. Whichever dimensions are selected, for such an embodiment, the result is that the means for securing the first member and the second member together is slidably engageable with at least one of the first member or said second member, or both. According to yet another embodiment, the frame members may be all of a single construction. According to another form of the invention, only the second generally U-shaped member is slidably engageable with the means for securing and the first generally U-shaped member and securing means are of a single construction. According to another form of the invention, only the first generally U-shaped member is slidably engageable with the means for securing and the second generally U-shaped member and securing means are of a single construction. The invention also contemplates frame members having cross sections different from circular, including without limitation, square cross sections, rectangular cross sections, oval cross sections, hexagonal cross sections, etc.

[0026] The means for attaching 22 the first generally U-shaped member 16 to the side wall portion of the ball storage compartment 28 may be any means known to those skilled in the fastener arts, such as brackets and screws, clamps, rivets, twine, nylon zip-strips, wire ties, welds, etc. According to a preferred form of the invention, removable clamp brackets are employed.

[0027] The canopy portion 26 may be comprised of any material which is capable of blocking the rays of the sun, and includes without limitation wood, plastic sheet, metal sheet, screens, canvas, vinyl sheet, cotton, or other cloth materials. According to one preferred form of the invention, the canopy portion 26 comprises canvas. The canopy portion 26 may be affixed to the second generally U-shaped member 18 by means of stitching, glues, twine, ties, or a sleeve which is sewn-in to the fabric of the canopy portion 26 when a fabric is selected, so as to enable the canopy to be slid over the second generally U-shaped member 18 in a snug fit.

[0028] As mentioned above, the shading means comprises a first generally U-shaped member which defines a first plane, a second generally U-shaped canopy-supporting member which defines a second plane, and a means for securing the first member and the second member together. The means for securing is configured so that the first member, second member, and means for securing all reside only within the first plane or the second plane, and wherein a single angle is defined by the intersection of said first plane and said second plane. Preferably, the angle of intersection of the first and second planes is any angle in the range of about 45 to 120 degrees. More preferably, the angle of intersection of the first and second planes is any angle in the range of about 60 degrees to 100 degrees. In one preferred form of the invention, the angle of intersection of the first and second planes is about 80 degrees.