Title:
Ball-tossing apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ball-tossing device is disclosed including a declining ball alley having side walls for ball containment, a ball entrance end capable of securing a ball track extension, wherein the ball track extension is bracketed to a rear end for supplying additional balls, a motor assembly for receiving and further containing the balls from the entrance end, a declining front ball track attached to the ball alley for receiving balls from the motor assembly, and an adjustable ball angle deflector at a bottom end of the ball track, wherein the adjustable ball angle deflector allows for an outward projection of balls having varying weights to a user.



Inventors:
Brophy, Art (Davie, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/226947
Publication Date:
02/26/2004
Filing Date:
08/23/2002
Assignee:
BROPHY ART
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/38; A63B69/40; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUDEN, MCCLOSKY, SMITH, SCHUSTER & RUSSELL, P.A. (FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A ball tossing device, comprising: a declining ball alley having side walls for ball containment; a ball entrance end capable of securing a ball track extension, wherein said ball track extension is bracketed to a rear end for supplying additional balls; a motor assembly for receiving and further containing said balls from said entrance end; a declining front ball track attached to said ball alley for receiving balls from said motor assembly; and an adjustable ball angle deflector at a bottom end of said ball track, wherein said adjustable ball angle deflector allows for an outward projection of balls having varying weights to a user.

2. The ball-tossing device according to claim 1 wherein said motor assembly includes a bearing attached to a circular rotating ball release

3. The ball-tossing device according to claim 1 wherein said motor assembly can be raised for a faster timed release of balls from said ball alley to said front ball track.

4. The ball-tossing device according to claim 1 wherein said motor assembly can be lowered for slower timed release of balls from said ball alley to said front ball track.

5. The ball-tossing device according to claim 2 wherein said circular rotating ball release can be raised to allow for variable timed release intervals for balls to said front ball track.

6. The ball-tossing device according to claim 2 wherein said circular rotating ball release can be lowered to allow for variable timed release intervals for balls to said front ball track.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to devices for enabling a baseball player to practice striking a ball. Specifically, the present relates to an original device for positioning a ball, particularly a baseball, in a position desired by a batter and for automatically delivering successive balls to the same position after each ball is struck by the batter.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The main object of the present invention is to develop and improve hand-eye coordination for players in the field of tennis, softball and baseball, by gravitationally feeding and automatically delivering balls at various timed intervals to a set location for the individual player. The present invention provides a tool for the players in these fields to consistently work at developing quick hand speed, building strength in driving the ball. The present invention can be used at all ages and all levels from T-ball to the professional leagues in order to improve the proper mechanics of the user. Many machines in the past have attempted to develop hitting skills and have only proven moderate success in developing hand-eye coordination, correct stance, and bat speed. Generally, the prior art machines propel and hurl a ball at various speeds, angles, and curves, but such machines are very limited and often require another person to feed the unit. The present invention has many new improvements, such as the ability to throw tennis balls, softballs, and baseballs at variable timed intervals along an attached downward ball track and then passing across an angled deflector attached to the bottom of the track for creating the correct arc and outward projection.

[0003] Accordingly, what is lacking is self-operated portable, inexpensive device for tossing balls that facilitates the development of solid basic mechanics and proper contact in hitting a moving object, has variable speed, and permits varying time intervals for a ball to be deflected up and outward to the hitter and driven into a net or an open field, then returning back to an original position for the next ball to be delivered.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention eliminates the above-mentioned needs for a ball tossing apparatus by providing a ball-tossing device that is supported by an adjustable stand gravitationally feeding a number of balls in an inclined position. At a front release point, attached to an outer sidewall, there is an adjustable height electronic motor controlling the variable time-release intervals. A bearing with a round wheel turns and releases balls substantially evenly to an attached front declining ball track, where balls roll downward and pass over an adjustable ball angle deflector. The adjustable ball angle deflector can increase the pitch angle to compensate for various size balls and weights for correct outward movement and ball projection.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the ball-tossing apparatus of the present invention including a ball track extension.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 showing a motorized ball release.

[0007] FIG. 3 is another isometric view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0008] FIG. 4 is a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0009] FIG. 5 is a partial side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0010] Referring now to FIG. 1, the preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated as ball-tossing apparatus 10. Ball-tossing apparatus 10 includes ball container 1 for holding and serving a number of balls to individual players. An extension track 5 to the rear of ball container 1 is mounted to a release point. A motor assembly 2 having a bearing and a circular rotating wheel 6 extending from the inner most side of motor assembly 2, turns and releases the balls in a forward motion along the attached track 3 to the user at various timed intervals. A perpendicular arm 2A is attached to the outer side of motor assembly 2, and is then slid into a side bracket 2B that is mounted to the outer side wall of ball container, allowing motor assembly 2 and the attached circular rotating wheel 6 (as it rotates and touches each ball) to be raised or lowered for various ball sizes and further allows for the variable speed timed release. A set screw on the attached side bracket to ball container 1 can be used to lock the desired position as circular round wheel 6 turns and releases each individual ball at the designated timed release. The balls then move forward and downward across ball track 3. Attached to the end of ball track 3 is a bracket 7 with front and back set screws 7a and 7b and curved angle ball deflector 4. By loosening one set screw and tightening the other, the user can automatically change the angle of curved ball deflector 4, varying the preferred angle of deflection for the various ball sizes.

[0011] Referring now to FIG. 2, a top view of the ball container 1 containing balls 8 to be released is mounted to the front release point, and motor assembly 2 with circular rotating wheel 6 extending from the inner most side of motor assembly 2, releases balls 8 along downward angled attached ball track 3, which progress forward and pass over upward curved ball angle deflector 4 to be served to the user at various intervals.

[0012] Referring now to FIG. 3, ball container 1 includes a number of balls 8 loaded therein, a front release point mounted on the outer side wall, motor assembly 2 with circular round rotating wheel 6 to restrain balls 8 and turning and then releasing each ball at various timed intervals to attached downward angled ball track 3 gravitationally increasing a downward and forward motion across adjustable ball angle deflector 4 to the desired delivery zone for the user.

[0013] Referring now to FIG. 4, ball extension track 5 can be an added feature if a larger space area is available and is attached to the rear bracket of ball container 1 for holding a number of balls 8 progressing toward motor assembly 2. A bearing with attached circular rotating round wheel 6 turns and rotates, releasing each ball forward across front track 3 at equal and variable timed intervals. A perpendicular arm is attached to the outer side of motor assembly 2 and sliding into a bracket 2b on the outer sidewall of container 1 at the release point, thus allowing motor assembly 2 to be raised or lowered for variable ball sizes and further also allowing for a variable desired faster or slower timed release. By raising motor assembly 2, turning circular wheel 6 will slightly touch the ball, thus releasing at a faster interval, whereas lowering motor assembly 2 causes more ball touch and thus contains each ball longer as it turns to a slower release interval. A set screw on side arm 2a will lock the desired position. At the point of release, the ball progresses downward across ball track 3, which is attached to the bottom end by bracket 7 and front and back set screws 7a and 7b. By loosening one set screw and tightening the other, curved angle ball deflector 4 will change its angle of deflection up or down, varying the preferred angle to accommodate for the various weights and ball sizes for the individual player.

[0014] Referring now to FIG. 5, balls 8 in the container 1 are shown progressing forward and being released at timed intervals by motor assembly 2 having attached rotating wheel 6 rotating and releasing each ball downward along front track 3, a perpendicular arm 2b attached to motor assembly 2 allowing motor assembly 2 to be raised, thereby releasing each ball faster. Lowering motor assembly 2 will produce a slower rate. To compensate for various ball sizes, a set screw on motor assembly 2 can lock the desired position so that as individual balls are released, they progress downward along attached ball track 3 and attached ball deflector 4. Set screws 7a and 7b determine the angle of release; loosening one set screw and tightening the other will vary the desired angle of pitch for balls of various size and weight.

[0015] Although only a few exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that numerous modifications are to the exemplary embodiments are possible without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this invention as defined in the following claims.