Title:
Golf practice foot stand
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf practice device includes a base having a substantially flat frontward portion upon which the user stands, a rearward portion and a raised platform protruding upwardly from the rearward portion. The raised platform includes a foot rest inclined generally forwardly and upwardly. The user supports one foot upon the elevated foot rest during a practice swing in order to allow him or her to detect improper balance or sway during the practice swing. The elevated foot rest can receive either the left or right foot of either a right-handed or left-handed user. The practice device can also be used in either a forward-facing stance or a side-facing stance, with either the right or the left foot elevated and is further usable with a multitude of other golf related or non-golf related exercises. In one preferred form, the foot rest's height or inclination angle, or both, are adjustable.



Inventors:
Shioda, Yoshihiko (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/279538
Publication Date:
04/29/2004
Filing Date:
10/24/2002
Assignee:
SHIODA YOSHIHIKO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B26/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUNTER, ALVIN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Charlotte (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golf swing practice device comprising: a base having a frontward portion upon which a user can stand, a rearward portion and a raised platform protruding generally upwardly from said rearward portion, said raised platform including a rearward foot rest on an upper portion thereof, at least a portion of said foot rest being inclined rearwardly and facing generally forwardly upon which the user can support a foot during a practice swing while standing on the other foot, thereby forcing the user to maintain proper balance without swaying during practice swinging.

2. A golf swing practice device according to claim 1, wherein said portion of said rearward foot rest is adapted to receive either the left foot or the right foot of the user.

3. A golf swing practice device according to claim 2, wherein said practice device is adapted for use by either a right-handed user or a left-handed user.

4. A golf swing practice device according to claim 1, wherein said practice device is adapted for use by the user facing at least partially sideways with respect to said foot rest.

5. A golf swing practice device according to claim 3, wherein said practice device is adapted for use by the user facing at least partially sideways with respect to said foot rest.

6. A golf practice device according to claim 3, wherein said frontward portion of said base is substantially flat.

7. A golf practice device according to claim 1, wherein the height of said foot rest is adjustable.

8. A golf practice device according to claim 1, wherein the angle of inclination of said foot rest is adjustable.

9. A golf practice device according to claim 7, wherein the angle of inclination of said foot rest is adjustable.

10. An exercise device, comprising a base, said base having a substantially open frontward portion upon which a user can stand, a rearward portion, and an elevated platform protruding generally upwardly from said rearward portion said elevated platform including an upper step portion inclined rearwardly and facing generally forwardly upon which the user can support a foot during a practice swing while standing on the other foot, thereby forcing the user to maintain proper balance without swaying during practice swinging.

11. An exercise device according to claim 10, wherein said exercise device is adapted for use by the user facing at least partially sideways with respect to said foot rest.

12. An exercise device according to claim 10, wherein said inclined upper step portion is adapted to receive either the left foot or the right foot of the user.

13. An exercise device according to claim 12, wherein said exercise device is adapted for use by the user facing at least partially sideways with respect to said foot rest.

14. An exercise device according to claim 10, wherein said exercise device is portable.

15. An exercise device according to claim 10, wherein said base is substantially flat.

16. An exercise device according to claim 10, wherein the height of said foot rest is adjustable.

17. An exercise device according to claim 10, wherein the angle of inclination of said foot rest is adjustable.

18. An exercise device according to claim 16, wherein the angle of inclination of said foot rest is adjustable.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to exercise or practice devices, and more specifically to those upon which a user may stand while conducting golf practice or performing other exercises.

[0002] It is well known that the sport of golf is frequently difficult to master, especially considering the multitude of golf swing techniques that must be executed properly in order to hit the ball. Most individuals who take up golf find it troublesome to focus on all of these various techniques simultaneously while swinging the club. In fact, golf has been characterized as one of the few sports where one's most feared opponent is one's self. Therefore, whenever a golfer can reduce the proper execution of a certain technique to a habit that does not require as much concentration, he or she can then focus on other techniques.

[0003] One of these important techniques in properly executing a golf swing is to maintain one's balance and not unduly sway side-to-side during the course of the swing. However, it is sometimes difficult for the golfer to detect whether he or she is unduly swaying or otherwise not maintaining proper balance during a golf swing.

[0004] Accordingly, the present invention provides a practice device that aids the golfer in developing the muscle skills, strength, and coordination needed to keep his or her balance, and to detect improper side-to-side sway. A golf swing practice or other exercise device according to the invention preferably includes a base having a frontward portion upon which the golfer or other user can stand, a rearward portion and a raised or elevated platform protruding generally upwardly from the rearward portion.

[0005] The preferred raised platform includes a height-adjustable foot rest on an upper or elevated portion thereof, with at least a portion of the foot rest preferably being adjustably inclined so as to face generally forwardly and upwardly. The user can then place one foot on the frontward portion and the other foot on the elevated foot rest during a practice swing in order to allow him or her to detect improper balance or undesirable sway during the practice swing or other exercise. As mentioned above, this also aids the user in developing his or her muscles and coordination to a level at which he or she may better control his or her balance as a matter of habit. Preferably, the elevated foot rest is adapted to receive either the left foot or the right foot of a user, regardless of whether the user is right-handed or left-handed. Also, either right-handed or left-handed users can elevate the right or the left foot alternatively during practice swings or other exercises.

[0006] In addition, the practice device according to the present invention is adapted for optional use by either the right-handed or left-handed users positioned in either a forward-facing stance or a wholly or partially side-facing stance, with either the right or the left foot elevated. Such side-facing stances are particularly advantageous for practicing golf swings encountered when the golfer's ball rests upon an incline. Finally, the present invention is also useful for a multitude of other exercises performed with holding exercise weights or other exercise devices.

[0007] Additional objects, advantages, applications, and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and the appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an exercise or practice device according to the present invention.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a three-quarter prospective view of the exercise or practice device of FIG. 1, and further illustrating an optional hinge indicated in broken lines.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a prospective view of the practice or exercise device of FIG. 1, showing the user's right foot supported upon the inclined and elevated foot rest.

[0011] FIG. 4 is a prospective view similar to that of FIG. 3, but showing the user's left foot supported upon the inclined and elevated foot rest.

[0012] FIG. 5 is a prospective view similar to that of FIG. 3, except that the user is holding weights (or other exercise devices) with his or her right foot supported upon the inclined and elevated foot stand.

[0013] FIG. 6 is a prospective view similar to that of FIG. 5, except that the user has his or her left foot supported upon the inclined and elevated foot rest.

[0014] FIG. 7 is a prospective view similar to that of FIG. 3 or 4, but illustrating the user in a side-facing stance.

[0015] FIG. 8 is a perspective view, illustrating a variation on the practice or exercise device of FIGS. 1 through 7, wherein either or both the height or the angle of the foot rest is adjustable.

[0016] FIG. 9 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 8, but illustrating still another embodiment of the adjustable foot rest.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] FIGS. 1 through 9 illustrate preferred embodiments of an exercise device used for practicing a golf swing or for performing other exercises according to the invention, shown merely for purposes of illustration. One skilled in the art will readily recognize, however, that the exemplary exercise device illustrated in the drawings can have a wide variety of other practice or exercise applications, as well as recognizing that these practice or exercise operations can be carried out using a practice or exercise device according to the principles of the present invention, but differing in construction from the exemplary embodiments shown in the drawings.

[0018] Referring initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, a practice or exercise device 10, according to the present invention, includes a base 12 having a generally flat frontward base portion 14 and a rearward base portion 16. A raised or elevated platform assembly 20 is disposed upon the rearward portion 16 and includes a foot rest 24 supported by lower support members 26 and upper support members 28. The foot rest 24 is preferably inclined in a generally forward-facing and upward-facing orientation.

[0019] As is illustrated only in FIG. 2, the base 12 can optionally also include a hinge 32 (shown in broken lines) at a generally intermediate location between the frontward base portion 14 and the rearward base portion 16. This optional hinge 32 allows the frontward base portion 14 to be pivoted or folded generally upwardly and rearwardly toward the elevated platform 20, thus providing for ease and convenience of transportation and compact storage. As a further option (not shown), a hinge can alternately be provided to allow the frontward base portion 14 to be pivoted or folded in the opposite pivotal direction, first generally rearwardly and downwardly and then rearwardly and upwardly to a position generally toward and beneath the rearward base portion 16, again for ease and convenience of transportation and compact storage.

[0020] In addition, as is depicted in the drawings, the frontward base portion 14 can optionally have base gripping surfaces 18, which can include high-friction or non-slip surfaces and can be either coplanar with the remainder of the forward based portion 14 or recessed therein. One skilled in the art will recognize that any of a number of other high-traction devices can be used for this purpose and that the gripping surfaces 18 can be flush with the frontward base portion 14 or recessed therein. The foot rest 24 also optionally can include similar platform gripping surfaces 19 thereon.

[0021] As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, in which the practice device 10 is used as a golf swing practice device, a user 40 can place the right foot 42 or left foot 44 on the frontward base portion 14, with the opposite foot being supported upon the foot rest 24. In this position, the user can practice his or her golf swing and will be readily able to detect improper swaying or undesirable balance-shifting since it will be difficult under these conditions for the user to remain upright while conducting a golf swing with one foot in such backward and elevated position. Such exercise or practice operations can be carried out by either left-handed or right-handed golfers, and it is recommended that the right and left feet 42 and 44, respectively, be alternately elevated during practice swings regardless of whether the golfer is left-handed or right-handed.

[0022] FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate an alternate foot elevation usage of the practice device 10. In these figures, the user 40 simultaneously holds one or more exercise weights 48 or any of a wide variety of other known exercise devices.

[0023] In FIG. 7, the user 40 has the right foot 42 elevated on the inclined foot rest 24, with the left foot 44 placed on the preferably substantially flat forward base portion 14. However, the user 40 is standing in a side-oriented stance with respect to the practice device 10. Although FIG. 7 shows a right-handed golfer 40 with the right foot 42 being elevated in such side-facing stance, for example, it should be emphasized that the practice device can be used in any of a number of full or partial side-facing orientations with either the right foot 42 or the left foot 44 elevated, regardless of whether the user is right-handed or left-handed. Furthermore, any of these full or partial side-facing stances can also be used in conjunction with the exercise weights 48 or any of a plurality of exercise devices, in place of the golf club 46 shown for purposes of illustration FIG. 7.

[0024] FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate a variation upon the practice or exercise device 10, wherein the height of the foot rest 24, or its angle of inclination, or both, can be adjusted to suit a particular user or the user's intended purpose. In FIG. 8, the upper support members 28 are each formed of two portions 28a and 28b, with a generally vertical slot 52 being formed in either of the upper support member portions 28a or 28b for adjustably and slidably receiving a bolt or threaded pin 54 disposed at a fixed location on the other of the portions 28a or 28b. This arrangement allows the height of the foot rest 24 to be adjusted generally upwardly or downwardly and secured at a preselected height by tightening the nuts 56 on the bolts or threaded pins 54.

[0025] Thus, in FIG. 8, the user can adjust the vertical position of the foot rest 24 in accordance with his or her height, length of legs, or desired comfort level, preferably throughout a height range of approximately one to approximately 15 inches, with a suggested starting or trial height of approximately 5½ inches for beginners, when the user rests his foot to the side, such as is shown in FIG. 7. However, when using the invention as illustrated in FIG. 1 or 3, with the user's leg elevated to the rear, for example, it is suggested that the user choose a height range of approximately one to approximately 20 inches and that the user start with a height of approximately 10 inches for beginners. In this regard, it is generally suggested that the foot rest 24 be adjusted to the highest comfortable height, or progressively raised over time to such higher height, in order to strengthen the user's leg muscles and to develop proper balance and muscle memory for a variety of activities, such as the user's golf swing, for example. After such desired balance and muscle strengthening and memory goals have been achieved, the user can continue his or her exercise or practice at lower levels without undesirable body sway.

[0026] One skilled in the art will readily recognize that the height adjustability feature show in FIG. 8 can be also accomplished by way of any number of known arrangements other than by way of the elongated slots 52 and the bolts or pins 54. One example of which is shown in FIG. 9, wherein the upper support member portions 28a and 28b include a series of discreet holes 62, through which pins 64 can be selectively inserted in order to adjust the height of the foot rest 24 to any of a number of heights. Other examples will, of course, readily occur to such skilled artisans.

[0027] As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, the angle inclination of the foot rest 24 can also be made adjustable, either alone or in combination with the height adjustment capabilities illustrated in these figures. In an example of such arrangements, a pivot portion 72 is provided at each end of the foot rest 24. In particular, as shown in FIG. 8, either the pivot member 72 or the upper support member portion 28b can have an arcuate slot 74 formed therein, through which bolts or threaded pins 76 are adjustably and slidably received in order to allow the angle of inclination of the foot rest 24 to be selectively varied to suit the user's comfort, purpose or body size or type and secured by nuts 78, for example.

[0028] By providing such inclination angle adjustment capability, the present invention allows the user to accommodate his or her own individual height, leg length, comfort and desired purpose while practicing or performing exercises. In this regard, it is preferred that the angle of inclination of the foot rest 24 be adjusted over a range of approximately three to approximately 20 degrees, with most beginning users selecting an initial or trial angle of approximately eight degrees (with the foot rest 24 preferably elevated to approximately 5½ inches) when using the device 10 with the user's leg elevated to the side, as in FIG. 7, for example). A range of approximately three to approximately 60 degrees is recommended, with a suggested initial or trial angle of approximately 30 degrees being suggested (with the foot rest 24 preferably elevated to approximately 10 inches) when the user's leg is elevated to the rear, as in FIG. 3, for example. After the user's balance, muscle memory or technique improves, either or both of the height and inclination angles can be lowered, if desired, when performing maintenance practice or exercise, without undesirable sway.

[0029] One skilled in the art will readily recognize that other known height adjustment and/or angle adjustment arrangements can also be used, such as the example shown in FIG. 9, with discreet holes 62 being formed in portions 28a or 28b for receiving removable pins 64 (preferably with a knob or handle on one end, as shown) in order to retain the assembly and thus the foot rest 24 at a selected height or elevation. Of course a similar arrangement, with removable pins and a series of arcuately arranged holes, could also be used for adjusting the angle inclination of the foot rest 24, in place of the arcuate slot arrangement shown in the drawings.

[0030] The foregoing discussion discloses and describes merely exemplary embodiments of the present invention for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from such discussion, and from the accompanying drawings and claims, that various changes, modifications and variations can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.