Title:
Adjustable sports-club trainer arrangement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A swing trainer apparatus for the teaching of a sport player the proper follow-through of a swing to hit a ball or puck. The swing trainer apparatus comprises a movable hanger assembly supporting a plurality of swing resistant straps and a support arrangement for adjustably supporting the hanger assembly, to permit the swing resistant straps to be moved for different sport players.



Inventors:
Orlando, Joseph M. (Gloucester, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/321292
Publication Date:
11/27/2003
Filing Date:
12/17/2002
Assignee:
ORLANDO JOSEPH M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/04; A63B69/00; A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Donald N. Halgren (Manchester, MA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A swing trainer apparatus for the teaching of a sport player the proper follow-through of a swing to hit a ball or puck, said swing trainer apparatus comprising: a movable hanger assembly supporting a plurality of swing resistant straps; a support arrangement for adjustably supporting said hanger assembly, to permit said swing resistant straps to be moved for different sport players.

2. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said movable hanger comprises a frame for supporting said straps in a vertical array.

3. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said support arrangement comprises a hanger post attached to said hanger assembly.

4. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 3; wherein said hanger post is vertically adjustable.

5. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 3, wherein said hanger post is rotatably adjustable about a vertical axis.

6. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 3, wherein said hanger post is supported on an elongated support arm.

7. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 6, wherein said support arm is supported on a main support post.

8. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 6, wherein said support arm is rotatable about a vertical axis of said main support post.

9. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 6, wherein said support arm is vertically adjustable with respect to said main post, by an adjustment bold disposed therebetween.

10. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 2, wherein said straps are supported in a configuration to define a homeplate shape for a player to swing a bat towards.

11. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 3, wherein said support arrangement is connected to an attachment bracket for securement to a basketball hoop.

12. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein said attachment bracket comprises an upper hoop bracket connector and a lower hoop bracket connector.

13. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 12, wherein said upper hoop bracket connector and said lower hoop bracket connector are securable to the upper and lower sides of a basketball hoop ring.

14. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 13, wherein said upper hoop bracket connector and said lower hoop bracket connector have an arrangement of radial arms extending from an upper and a lower post housing respectively.

15. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 14, wherein said arms have an outer end with a flange thereon to engage an outer edge of said ring.

16. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 14, wherein said upper hoop bracket connector and said lower hoop bracket connector are secured together on said ring by a plurality of bolts.

17. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein at least one of said straps has a swing target arranged thereon.

18. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said support assembly includes an elongated twistable and bendable spring therewith to minimize any shock of hitting said straps.

19. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 18, wherein said spring is arranged between a hanger post and a hanger assembly to permit a player from being injured while swing a bat or stick into said straps.

20. The swing trainer apparatus as recited in claim 16, wherein a hanger post from a frame carrying said straps is vertically arranged through said hoop connector brackets to permit said frame to be vertically adjusted with respect to said basketball ring.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to an apparatus for improving the swing of a player utilizing a sports bat, club or racquet, and is a continuation in part application of my co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/740,769 filed Dec. 19, 2000, and is incorporated herein by reference, in its entirety.

[0003] 2. Prior Art

[0004] The attainment of success in any sport requires concentration, muscle development and “follow-through”, particularly in those sports utilizing a bat, club, or a racquet. “Follow-through” may be defined as completing the swing of that bat, club or racquet through an arc from an initial start position, then around and into the strike zone, and thereafter maintaining that swing until the player's arm has been fully extended. The necessity for such follow-through is often a requirement for directing the ball or puck in the direction in which the player has intended and for providing the power to drive the ball or puck with maximum force. Such follow-through, though, is a difficult lesson to learn and to remember. Muscle memory would ensure that such follow through would take place if the player could in fact develop such a muscle memory capability.

[0005] The sports of baseball, golf, tennis, and hockey all require an arcuate and full swing of a bat, club, or racquet. Other body motion other than movement of the arm is also required. It is thus significant to instill in the player, a muscle memory so that such follow through becomes automatic.

[0006] There exists no arrangement or apparatus to instill upon the player, the reminder that the follow-through be undertaken each time, except for a coach or personal trainer who must otherwise be present during practice or playing and remind that player each time a swing is undertaken.

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus which will provide a sport player with the follow-through skills necessary which are not taught by the prior art.

[0008] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a sport skill training device which does not require assistance to operate.

[0009] It is still yet a further object of the present invention to provide a realistic sports swing training apparatus which is adaptable to a number of sports so that its use may be appreciated by a number of different players.

[0010] It is a still yet further object of the present invention to provide a sport training apparatus which is stepwise adaptable to the improving skill level of the particular player or user of that apparatus.

[0011] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a bat or racket swing training apparatus which is adaptable for attachment to existing sports equipment such as basketball hoops with minimal effort and equipment.

[0012] It is a further object of the present invention which is rotatably adaptable for left or right handed players.

[0013] It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a swing trainer which is heightwise variable for different height players.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The present invention comprises an improved, movably supported swing trainer apparatus for instructing a player of baseball, tennis, hockey or golf, in the lessons of “following through” with the swing of their bat, racquet, club or stick.

[0015] The swing trainer apparatus of the present invention comprises a vertically supported hanger assembly comprised of a housing, a plurality of downwardly extending flexible, spaced-apart swing resistant straps supported within that housing. The housing has an upper portion defined as a hanger assembly with an elongated, bendable spring, extending vertically therefrom. The bendable spring has an upper end which is attached to a vertically adjustable hanger post. The hanger post is adjustably lockable within a generally cylindrically shaped post-bearing housing. The post bearing housing is arranged on the distal end of a support arm. The support arm has a proximal end which is fixedly attached to an enclosure bearing. The enclosure bearing is a generally cylindrically shaped housing which is vertically adjustable on a main support post.

[0016] The main support post may be telescopable, and is vertically adjustable itself into a post housing arranged about the lowermost end of the support post. The post housing is a generally cylindrically shaped member having a lower end which is fixedly attached to a support post base. The support post is heightwise adjustable with respect to the post housing, through a plurality of spaced apart openings which receive a lower adjustment bolt therethrough. The lower adjustment bolt rides on the upper edge of the post housing to permit the vertical adjustment of the support post with respect to the post housing. A support post is swingable with respect to the lower post housing, to permit the entire assembly to be rotated about the vertical axis of the support post.

[0017] The main support post preferably also has a plurality of vertically spaced apart adjustment openings near its uppermost end. An upper adjustment bolt is arranged through the enclosure bearing to engage successively any one of the spaced apart adjustment openings in the upper end of the support post, to permit the support arm to be vertically raised or lowered with respect to that main support post.

[0018] The frame of the hanger assembly as aforementioned supports a plurality of generally horizontally arranged strap support rods and vertically disposed swing resistant straps arranged thereon. That frame assembly may have a peripheral shape which defines in one embodiment wherein a “home plate” shape is configured as its “footprint” so as to provide a player or user of this apparatus, with a realistic and proper geometric and spacial swing area in which a baseball would likely travel for that player to swing at.

[0019] The plurality of vertically disposed swing resistant straps have a foremost strap or straps which may present a target thereon. Such a target in one preferred embodiment, may be the representation of a baseball. Such a target representation may of course be adjusted vertically depending upon the height of the player being instructed.

[0020] The hanger post in the post bearing on the distal end of the support arm may be rotated about its vertical axis 180 degrees so as to provide that target to an alternatively handed player that is a left handed player or a right handed player.

[0021] When a player being instructed to follow-through with his or her swing, the bat or sports racquet will swing through the swing resistant straps thus providing the muscle tone and memory, to encourage such a follow through for proper playing of the sport. The vertically disposed bendable spring arranged between the upper side of the hanger assembly and the lower portion of the hanger post will yield and may twist somewhat so as to not provide too much resistance and injure the player during long practice sessions.

[0022] The swing resistant straps are hung in a parallel array on a plurality of removable parallel strap support rods. Initial practice with this apparatus, may consist of only utilizing several parallel support rods with the swing resistant straps thereon. Each of the swing resistant straps may be held in an overlapping relationship to the strap support rods and held in that position by a fastener, such as a rivet. Those flexible straps may be changed, and may be slidably adjustable on those support rods in the support rod axial direction of those as desired by the player being trained.

[0023] A further embodiment of the present invention may consist of the hanger post and hanger assembly being vertically supported on an attachment bracket arrangement. The attachment bracket arrangement is comprised of an upper hoop bracket connector and a lower hoop bracket connector. The upper hoop bracket connector and the lower hoop bracket connector mate about the ring of a basketball hoop, so as to provide the swing trainer assembly to be utilized on an existing piece of sports equipment, such as a basketball hoop with its typical backboard and basketball hoop support post supporting that assembly.

[0024] The attachment bracket arrangement or bracket connector in this embodiment comprises a lower post bearing in the lower hoop bracket connector, and an upper post bearing for receipt of the upper portion of the hanger post therethrough. A receiving opening extends through the lower post bearing so as to permit an adjustment bolt to be received through the adjustment hole and into the receiving openings in the upper end of the hanger post. This permits the hanger post to be vertically adjustable with respect to the connector bracket arrangement attached to the basketball hoop. The lower hoop bracket connector and the upper hoop bracket connector may each have a plurality of radially directed arms which are in vertical alignment with one another on either side of the basketball hoop. Each radially directed arm may have an opening therethrough for receipt of a connector bolt. The arms each have a flange or lip on their radially outer or distalmost end to engage the outer periphery of the basketball hoop to lock that connector arrangement therearound. The connector bolts secure the upper hoop bracket connector to the lower hoop bracket connector both connectors thus being securedly fixed to the basketball hoop.

[0025] Thus, such a hanger assembly may vertically support a plurality of swing resistant straps from an existing sports apparatus such as a basketball hoop, while providing the same vertical adjustment with respect to those swing resistant straps and also providing the bendable spring arranged between the lower portion of the hanger post and the upperpost portion of the hanger assembly to permit the yielding of that assembly as a bat or racquet is pushed through the swing resistant straps.

[0026] The invention thus comprises a swing trainer apparatus for the teaching of a sport player the proper follow-through of a swing to hit a ball or puck. The said swing trainer apparatus comprises a movable hanger assembly supporting a plurality of swing resistant straps; a support arrangement for adjustably supporting the hanger assembly, to permit the swing resistant straps to be moved for different sport players. The movable hanger may comprise a frame for supporting the straps in a vertical array. The support arrangement may comprise a hanger post attached to the hanger assembly. The hanger post may be is vertically adjustable. The hanger post may be rotatably adjustable about a vertical axis. The hanger post may be supported on an elongated support arm. The support arm may be supported on a main support post. The support arm may be rotatable about a vertical axis of the main support post. The support arm may be vertically adjustable with respect to the main post, by an adjustment bold disposed therebetween. The straps may be supported in a rectilinear configuration to define a baseball game “homeplate” shape for a player to swing a bat towards. The support arrangement may be connected to an attachment bracket for securement to a basketball hoop. The attachment bracket may comprise an upper hoop bracket connector and a lower hoop bracket connector. The upper hoop bracket connector and the lower hoop bracket connector are securable to the upper and lower sides of a basketball hoop ring. The upper hoop bracket connector and the lower hoop bracket connector have an arrangement of radial arms extending from an upper and a lower post housing respectively. The arms may have an outer end with a flange thereon to engage an outer edge of the basketball hoop ring. The upper hoop bracket connector and the lower hoop bracket connector are secured together on the ring by a plurality of bolts. At least one of the straps may have a swing target arranged thereon. The support assembly may include an elongated twistable and bendable spring therewith. The spring is preferably arranged between a hanger post and a hanger assembly to permit a player from being injured while swinging a bat or stick into the straps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] The objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent when viewed in conjunction with the following drawings in which:

[0028] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a swing trainer apparatus constructed according to the principles of the present invention;

[0029] FIG. 2 is a perspective of the hanger assembly and the swing resistant straps in an enlarged viewing thereof, similar to that shown in FIG. 1;

[0030] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of a swing resistant strap and its strap support rod arranged therewith; and

[0031] FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a further embodiment of the present invention wherein the hanger assembly and swing resistant strap arrangement may be fixedly and adjustably attached to an existing sports apparatus such as a basketball hoop assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0032] Referring now to the drawings in detail and particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown the present invention which comprises a movably supported swing trainer apparatus 10 for instructing a player of baseball, tennis, hockey or golf, in the lessons of “following through” with the swing of their bat, racquet, club or stick.

[0033] The swing trainer apparatus 10 of the present invention comprises a vertically supported hanger assembly 12 comprised of a housing 14, a plurality of downwardly extending flexible, spaced-apart swing resistant straps 16 supported within that housing 14. The housing 14 has an upper portion defined as a hanger assembly 18 with an elongated, bendable and twistable coil spring 20 extending vertically therefrom. The bendable spring 20 has an upper end which is attached to a vertically adjustable hanger post 22, as shown in FIGS. 1 and. 3. The hanger post 22 is adjustably lockable within a generally cylindrically shaped post-bearing housing 24, shown in FIG. 1. The post-bearing housing 22 is arranged on the distal end of a support arm 26. The support arm 26 has a proximal end which is fixedly attached to an enclosure bearing 28. The enclosure bearing 28 is a generally cylindrically shaped housing which is vertically adjustable on a main support post 30, as represented in FIG. 1.

[0034] The main support post 30 may be telescopable, and is vertically and rotatably adjustable itself into a post housing 32 arranged about the lowermost end of the support post 30. The post housing 32 is preferably a generally cylindrically shaped member having a lower end 34 which is fixedly attached to a support post base 36, which base 36 may be movably supported on wheels, not shown for clarity. The support post 32 is heightwise adjustable with respect to the post housing 34 through a plurality of longitudinally spaced apart openings 38 which receive a lower adjustment bolt 40 therethrough. The lower adjustment bolt 40 slidably rides on the upper edge 42 of the post housing 32, as shown in FIG. 1, to permit the vertical (and rotational) adjustment of the support post 30 with respect to the post housing 32, as represented by the arrows “H” and “R” respectively. The support post 30 is thus swingable with respect to the lower post housing 32, to permit the entire assembly to be rotated about the vertical axis “V” of the support post 30.

[0035] The main support post 30 preferably also has a plurality of vertically spaced apart adjustment openings 42 near its uppermost end, as shown in FIG. 1. An upper adjustment bolt 44 is arranged through the enclosure bearing 28 to engage successively any one of the spaced apart adjustment openings 42 in the upper end of the support post 30, to permit the support arm 26 to be vertically raised or lowered with respect to that main support post 30.

[0036] The frame 14 of the hanger assembly 12 as aforementioned, supports a plurality of generally horizontally arranged strap support rods 50 and vertically disposed swing resistant straps 16 arranged thereon, as may be seen in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. That frame assembly 12 may have a peripheral shape or contour which defines in one preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 1, wherein a “home plate” shape is configured as its “footprint” 52, so as to provide a player or user of this apparatus 10 with a realistic and proper geometric and spacial swing area in which a baseball would likely travel for that player to swing.

[0037] The plurality of vertically disposed swing resistant straps 16 have a foremost strap 54 or straps which may present a target 56 thereon. Such a target in one preferred embodiment, as represented in FIGS. 1 and 2, may be the representation of a baseball 58. Such a target representation may of course be adjusted vertically depending upon the height of the player being instructed.

[0038] The hanger post 22 in the post bearing 24 on the distal end of the support arm 26 may be rotated about its vertical axis 180 degrees, as represented by arrows “A”, so as to provide that target to an alternatively handed player that is a left handed player or a right handed player.

[0039] When a player being instructed to follow-through with his or her swing, the bat or sports racquet will swing through the swing resistant straps thus providing the muscle tone and memory, to encourage such a follow through for proper playing of the sport. The vertically disposed bendable and twistable coil spring 28 arranged between the upper side of the hanger assembly 18 and the lower portion of the hanger post 22 will yield and may twist somewhat so as to not provide too much resistance and injure the player during long practice sessions.

[0040] The swing resistant straps 16 are hung in a parallel array on a plurality of removable parallel strap support rods 50 as represented best in FIG. 2. Initial practice with this apparatus, may consist of only utilizing several parallel support rods 50 with the swing resistant straps 16 thereon. Each of the swing resistant straps 16 may be held in an overlapping relationship to the strap support rods 50 and held in that position by a fastener, such as a rivet 60, as shown in FIG. 3. Those flexible straps 16 may be changed, and may be slidably adjustable on those support rods 50 in the support rod's 50 axial direction of those as desired by the player being trained.

[0041] A further embodiment of the present invention may consist of the hanger post and hanger assembly 12 being vertically supported on an attachment bracket arrangement 70, as shown in FIG. 4. The attachment bracket arrangement 70 is comprised of an upper hoop bracket connector 72 and a lower hoop bracket connector 74. The upper hoop bracket connector 72 and the lower hoop bracket connector 74 mate about the ring 76 of a basketball hoop 78, so as to provide the swing trainer assembly to be utilized on an existing piece of sports equipment, such as a basketball hoop with its typical backboard and basketball hoop support post 80 supporting that assembly 12.

[0042] The attachment bracket arrangement or bracket connector 70 in this embodiment comprises a lower post bearing 82 in the lower hoop bracket connector 74, and an upper post bearing 84 for vertical and rotatable adjustable receipt of the upper portion 86 of the hanger post 12 therethrough. A receiving opening 88 extends through the lower post bearing 82 so as to permit an adjustment bolt 90 to be received through the adjustment hole 88 and into the receiving openings 92 in the upper end of the hanger post 12. This permits the hanger post 12 to be vertically adjustable with respect to the connector bracket arrangement 70 attached to the basketball hoop 78. The lower hoop bracket connector 74 and the upper hoop bracket connector 72 may each have a plurality of radially directed arms 94 which are in vertical alignment with one another on either side of the basketball hoop ring 76. Each radially directed arm 94 may have an opening 96 therethrough for receipt of a connector bolt 98. The arms 94 each have a flange or lip 100 on their radially outer or distalmost end to engage the outer periphery of the basketball hoop ring 76 to lock that connector arrangement therearound. The connector bolts 98 secure the upper hoop bracket connector 72 to the lower hoop bracket connector 74, both connectors 72 and 74 thus being securedly fixed to the ring 76 of the basketball hoop 78.

[0043] Thus, such a hanger assembly may vertically support a plurality of swing resistant straps from an existing sports apparatus such as a basketball hoop, while providing the same vertical adjustment with respect to those swing resistant straps and also providing the bendable spring arranged between the lower portion of the hanger post and the upperpost portion of the hanger assembly to permit the yielding of that assembly as a bat or racquet is pushed through the swing resistant straps.