Title:
Devices for training a person to dribble a basketball
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a device for training a person to dribble a basketball and includes a basketball support, a strap coupled to the basketball support, and an attaching means adapted to secure the strap to a support structure. The invention permits the user to save time by positioning the basketball for start of practice and supports the ball so that a mishandled dribble or a collision between the ball and an obstacle will not lead to a loose ball that has to be chased down.



Inventors:
Bourguet, Toby (Tucson, AZ, US)
Application Number:
10/189602
Publication Date:
01/08/2004
Filing Date:
07/03/2002
Assignee:
BOURGUET TOBY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven Thrasher (Richardson, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A device for training a person to dribble a basketball (the device), comprising: a basketball support; a strap coupled to the basketball support; and an attaching means adapted to secure the strap to a support structure, the attaching means coupled to the strap.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the basketball support is a net.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the net comprises a thin, resilient fabric.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein the thin, resilient fabric is nylon.

5. The device of claim 3 wherein the thin, resilient fabric is a micro-fiber.

6. The device of claim 3 wherein the thin, resilient fabric is a synthetic polymer.

7. The device of claim 1 wherein the basketball support comprises a plurality of interconnected cords.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein the strap comprises a material having elasticity.

9. The device of claim 8 wherein the material having elasticity is rubber.

10. The device of claim 8 wherein the material having elasticity is a synthetic polymer.

11. The device of claim 1 wherein the basketball support is a nylon basketball covering.

12. The device of claim 1 wherein the strap comprises a rope.

13. The device of claim 1 wherein the attaching means are spheres attached to one end of each strap.

14. The device of claim 13 wherein the spheres are adapted to be inserted into support structures having elongated slots therein.

15. The device of claim 1 wherein the attaching means comprises hooks adapted to be connected to a support structure, having a means for receiving hooks.

16. The device of claim 1 wherein the attaching means comprises loops adapted to be connected to a support structure, having a means for receiving loops.

17. The device of claim 1 wherein the attaching means comprises handles.

18. The device of claim 1 wherein the support structure comprises a pole.

19. The device of claim 1 wherein the support structure comprises a wall.

20. The device of claim 1 wherein the support structure comprises a bleacher.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] Generally, the invention relates to the field of physical education, and more particularly, to physical education and sports training devices.

STATEMENT OF A PROBLEM ADDRESSED BY THIS INVENTION

[0002] Interpretation Considerations

[0003] This section describes the technical field in more detail, and discusses problems encountered in the technical field. This section does not describe prior art as defined for purposes of anticipation or obviousness under 35 U.S.C. section 102 or 35 U.S.C. section 103. Thus, nothing stated in the Statement of a Problem Addressed by This Invention is to be construed as prior art.

[0004] Discussion

[0005] Basketball coaches and players often find that dribbling skills need to be initially taught or improved. New players or those without developed hand-eye coordination frequently have difficulty learning to dribble a basketball and need additional practice to perfect their technique. Unfortunately, the players who need the most practice are typically the same players who are most likely to mishandle the ball while dribbling—particularly young players. Sometime these players completely loose control of a basketball, or even bounce the basketball off a foot. At other times, a person dribbling a basketball simply cannot control the basketball while trying to perfect more advanced ball handling techniques. The underlying source(s) of basketball control problems is quite varied, and may be due to poor muscle coordination, limited practice time, or poor hand-eye coordination, for example.

[0006] Whatever the cause of the dribbling difficulty, valuable training time is lost whenever the player has to stop and retrieve the errant ball. This can have the additional and cumulative effect of frustration and embarrassment for a player who is trying to develop dribbling skills. This not only discourages a beginning player from learning basic skills, but also discourages more advanced players from trying to learn more effective and advanced basketball handling techniques.

[0007] One consequence of loosing a basketball is that a mishandled basketball may be lost or destroyed when it gets away from the user. Also, a mishandled basketball can interrupt training activity of other players, such as when a basketball enters another player's practice space. Sometimes players must dodge the basketball or stop to retrieve the basketball (for the person who mishandled it). Worse yet, the errant basketball can strike another player who is unaware of the oncoming basketball, thus generating possible injury and liability situations.

[0008] Accordingly, to overcome these and other disadvantages associated with existing basketball dribbling training, it would be advantageous to have a device that holds a basketball in place while an athlete in training learns to dribble. Such a device would keep the basketball suspended near the athlete in training and would quickly return the basketball to a convenient starting position whenever the athlete looses control of the ball for any reason. The invention disclosed herein provides such a device.

SELECTED OVERVIEW OF SELECTED EMBODIMENTS

[0009] The invention provides technical and operational advantages as a device for training a person to dribble a basketball. One preferred device includes a basketball support, a strap coupled to the basketball support, and an attaching means adapted to secure the strap to a support structure. Thus, the invention holds the basketball in a general area during dribbling practice. A basketball support is a means that secures a basketball to straps that are adapted to connect to various supporting structures. This basketball support holds the ball during dribbling practice and serves as an attaching point for a strap or other coupling means that allow normal motion and response for a basketball being bounced in a local space.

[0010] Of course, other features and embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. After reading the specification, and the detailed description of the exemplary embodiment, these persons will recognize that similar results can be achieved in not dissimilar ways. Accordingly, the detailed description is provided as an example of the best mode of the invention and it should be understood that the invention is not limited by the detailed description. Accordingly, the invention should be read as being limited only by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Various aspects of the invention, as well as an embodiment, are better understood by reference to the following EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF A BEST MODE. To better understand the invention, the EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF A BEST MODE should be read in conjunction with the drawings in which:

[0012] FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of the invention as a basketball being supported by a basketball support that is coupled to a strap;

[0013] FIG. 2 shows an alternative embodiment of the attaching means;

[0014] FIG. 3 depicts the invention with a basketball held in place by a basketball support that is suspended from two support structures; and

[0015] FIG. 4 shows a more detailed support structure embodiment that is adapted to receive an attaching means.

AN EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF A BEST MODE

[0016] Introduction

[0017] The invention provides inventive embodiments that provide for training a person to dribble a basketball. Specifically, the invention makes it possible for a person to practice dribbling without having to stop to retrieve an errant basketball. In a preferred embodiment, elastic straps are coupled to a basketball support. This basketball support can be a net, a bag or some other covering to hold the ball.

[0018] Further connected to each elastic strap is an attachment means that suspends the invention from a support structure. This ensures that the basketball stays in place, very near the athlete in training, regardless of the level of expertise of the athlete. The support structure could be one or more poles, walls, bleachers or other structure that would lend motion stability to the device and serve to keep the ball at the proper position for dribbling practice. Accordingly, an athlete of any skill level can train to develop and improve basketball dribbling skills without fear of loosing a ball, injury, or liability.

[0019] Interpretation Considerations

[0020] When reading this section (An Exemplary Embodiment of a Best Mode, which describes an exemplary embodiment of the best mode of the invention, hereinafter “exemplary embodiment”), one should keep in mind several points. First, the following exemplary embodiment is what the inventor believes to be the best mode for practicing the invention at the time this patent was filed. Thus, since one of ordinary skill in the art may recognize from the following exemplary embodiment that substantially equivalent structures or substantially equivalent acts may be used to achieve the same results in exactly the same way, or to achieve the same results in a not dissimilar way, the following exemplary embodiment should not be interpreted as limiting the invention to one embodiment. Likewise, individual aspects (sometimes called species) of the invention are provided as examples, and, accordingly, one of ordinary skill in the art may recognize from a following exemplary structure (or a following exemplary act) that a substantially equivalent structure or substantially equivalent act may be used to either achieve the same results in substantially the same way, or to achieve the same results in a not dissimilar way.

[0021] Accordingly, the discussion of a species (or a specific item) invokes the genus (the class of items) to which that species belongs as well as related species in that genus. Likewise, the recitation of a genus invokes the species known in the art. Furthermore, it is recognized that as technology develops, a number of additional alternatives to achieve an aspect of the invention may arise. Such advances are hereby incorporated within their respective genus, and should be recognized as being functionally equivalent or structurally equivalent to the aspect shown or described.

[0022] Second, the only essential aspects of the invention are identified by the claims. Thus, aspects of the invention, including elements, acts, functions, and relationships (shown or described) should not be interpreted as being essential unless they are explicitly described and identified as being essential. Third, a function or an act should be interpreted as incorporating all modes of doing that function or act, unless otherwise explicitly stated (for example, one recognizes that “tacking” may be done by nailing, stapling, gluing, hot gunning, riveting, etc., and so a use of the word tacking invokes stapling, gluing, etc., and all other modes of that word and similar words, such as “attaching”).

[0023] Fourth, unless explicitly stated otherwise, conjunctive words (such as “or”, “and”, “including”, or “comprising” for example) should be interpreted in the inclusive, not the exclusive, sense. Fifth, the words “means” and “step” are provided to facilitate the reader's understanding of the invention and do not mean “means” or “step” as defined in 112, paragraph 6 of 35 U.S.C., unless used as “means for functioning—” or “step” for—functioning—” in the claims section.

[0024] Exemplary Devices

[0025] FIG. 1 is a an operational view of a device for training a person to dribble a basketball (the device) 100 showing components that are physically closest to the user athlete in training. A basketball 110 (not necessarily part of the invention) is held in place by a basketball support 140. In this embodiment, the basketball support 140 is a net. In other embodiments, the basketball support could take some other equivalent form such as a plurality of interconnected cords, a bag, or a basketball covering, for example. In this figure, the basketball support 140 is made of a thin resilient fabric, such as nylon. For purposes of this invention, resilient means that the fabric is at least capable of withstanding repetitive mechanical impact with a rough surface over a substantial period of time, such as ten, twenty, or fifty hours. Although the material in this preferred embodiment is nylon, the fabric could also be some other thin, resilient fabric, such as a synthetic polymer, a micro-fiber, or some other material of equivalent form. Of course, although the basketball support 140 is illustrated in FIG. 1 as only covering a portion of the basketball 110, it is understood that a basketball support 140 may cover the entire basketball 110, or a plurality of portions of the basketball 110.

[0026] Attached to the basketball support 140 in the present embodiment is a tightening strap 120 that holds the basketball 110 in place in the basketball support 140. The tightening strap 120 is preferably positioned so that it encircles the basketball 110 above the equator of the basketball (not pointed out). This positioning allows the tightening strap 120 to at least comprise a circular opening that is smaller in diameter than the equator of the basketball. Because the basketball support 140 of FIG. 1 covers over one-half of the basketball and the tightening strap 120 is situated as described above, the basketball will not pop out of the basketball support during a practice session.

[0027] The tightening strap 120 in this embodiment is preferably made of an elastic material, and in other embodiments of the invention the tightening strap 120 may take some other form such as a slip knot, a slide snap, or a circular tube through which a strap is pulled and tightened with any excess strap being used to attach the basketball support 140 to a structural support.

[0028] Attached to the basketball support 140, either directly or through the tightening strap 120, is a strap 130. The strap 130 is preferably an elastic material, but could also be made of other fabrics such as rope, for example. The strap 130 suspends the basketball support 140 from a support structure. An attaching means 150 is coupled to the strap to facilitate the connection of the strap to the structural support.

[0029] FIG. 2 shows a means for attaching a strap to a structural support 210. In this embodiment, the means for attaching the strap to the structural support (the means for attaching) 210 is a sphere 210 coupled to a strap 220 and adapted to slide into an elongated slot 250 of a structural support 230, such as a generally hollow pole, via an orifice 240 that is an enlargement of the elongated slot. Accordingly, the sphere 210 rests in a hollow portion of the structural support 230. In other embodiments, the attaching means could be some means that accomplishes an equivalent function such as loops adapted for attachment to a structural support, or hooks adapted for attachment to a structural support, for example. The structural support 230 could of course be embodied as something other than a pole, such as a wall, a bleacher, or an overhead beam, for example.

[0030] FIG. 3 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the invention 300 disposed in the field. In FIG. 3, a basketball 380 is held in place by a basketball support 310 as taught in FIG. 1. Thus, coupled to the support 310 is the strap 320 that is connected to a support structure 340 via an attaching means 330 as illustrated in FIG. 2 (not viewable in this Figure).

[0031] In the present embodiment, support poles 340 are each coupled to attachable bases 350. The attachable bases 350 are illustrated as having the appearance of half of a basketball, and of course any type of base that is capable of supporting a pole or other support structure could be used. In this example, the attachable base 350 has a handle 370 that is integrally molded with the attachable base 350. Preferably, the height of the basketball above the ground, “h”, can be easily adjusted to fit the needs of an athlete by moving the poles 340 further apart or closer together to adjust the distance between them. Alternative means of adjusting the height h are known in the art, such as the use of winches. In the present embodiment, the attachable bases 350 are hollow formed-plastic, and a filler cap 360 is provided to allow a user to fill an attachable base 350 with water, sand, or some other material to add weight to the attachable bases 350 and stability to the support structures 340.

[0032] FIG. 4 shows one preferred embodiment of the support structure 400 taken along cut line A-A of FIG. 3. In FIG. 3 the support structure is a pole 410, with an elongated slot 420 adapted for receiving an attachment means (not shown). In other embodiments, the support structure could be adapted in different ways to receive an attachment mean such as through hooks, eyebolts, or circular clamps, for example.

[0033] The pole 410 preferably has a spiraled edge 430 that allows the pole 410 to be firmly attached to an attachable base 440 by rotating the pole into a threaded-cylindrical receptacle 450 of the attachable base 440. A similar bolt-type type connection is made to attach or remove a filler cap 460 to an orifice 470. From FIG. 4 one can also see that a handle 480 is formed as a result of the molded opening 490 and provides for easy transport of the attachable base 440. Of course, the handle 480 may be shaped to adapt to any size human hand, or to a means for moving the attachable base 440. In addition, it should be understood that the attachable base may have one or more wheels mounted thereon in order to assist with the moving of the attachable base 440 across a surface.