Title:
Apparatus for developing ball skills
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for developing ball skills comprises a ball. The ball is connected to an elastic link by a first swivel which is connected to the ball by a flexible member anchored in the ball by a disc located between a bladder of the ball and a skin of the ball.



Inventors:
Shirley, Vernon Ernest (Kempton Park, ZA)
Vosloo, Wessel Johann (Kempton Park, ZA)
Application Number:
10/479242
Publication Date:
10/14/2004
Filing Date:
05/21/2004
Assignee:
SHIRLEY VERNON ERNEST
VOSLOO WESSEL JOHANN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/148, 473/576
International Classes:
A63B43/00; A63B63/00; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B5/22; A63B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Apparatus for developing ball skills comprising: a ball; and a first swivel connected to the ball by a flexible member which is anchored to the ball by a first anchor located between a skin of the ball and a bladder of the ball; characterized in that the first anchor is covered by the skin, in that the flexible member extends through the skin and is made of a flexible material which is not resiliently flexible.

2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the ball is one of a rugby ball, football, soccer ball, basketball, netball and cricket ball.

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the flexible member comprises one of a section of string, rope and cord.

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the flexible member comprises a section of string formed in a loop.

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first anchor comprises one of a disc, button and washer and wherein the flexible member is secured to said one of a disc, button and washer.

6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein a first member of the swivel is connected to the flexible member and wherein a second member of the swivel is connectable to one end of a flexible link.

7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the flexible link comprises an elastic band.

8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the link is adjustable in length.

9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein another end of the link is connected to securing means for securing the link at said other end to a second anchor.

10. Apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein the securing means comprises one of a band, loop and glove.

11. Apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein a second swivel is provided between the link and the securing means.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] THIS invention relates to apparatus for developing sport skills, more particularly ball control skills in a game wherein a ball is played by a passing player to another player by hand or with a foot of the passing player, such as rugby and football.

[0002] In South African patent 93/7681 to James Gilbert (Rugby Footballs) Ltd, there is disclosed apparatus for developing ball skills comprising a rugby ball which is connected to first and second cords via a swivel and a rigid ring fast with the ball to stand proud from one end of the ball. A problem associated with this apparatus is that the rigid ring hay cause injuries, especially facial injuries to a user, when the ball is pulled back by the cords in use.

[0003] In U.S. Pat. No. 5,772,542 to Gideon et al there is disclosed a tether for a ball. The tether comprises an elastic cord utilizing differential spring constants to reduce the possibility of failure of the tether. In GB2280613A in the name of Fox, Kevin J there is also disclosed a tether for a ball comprising an elastic cord extending from the ball.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an alternative apparatus for developing ball skills with which the applicant believes the aforementioned disadvantages may at least be alleviated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] According to the invention there is provided apparatus for developing ball skills, the apparatus comprising:

[0006] a ball; and

[0007] a first swivel connected to the ball by a flexible member anchored in the ball.

[0008] The ball may be in the form of a rugby ball, a football, a soccer ball, a basket ball, a netball ball, a cricket ball etc.

[0009] The flexible member may comprise a section of rope, string, cord or the like formed in a loop.

[0010] The section may be anchored in the ball by a first anchor located under a skin of the ball.

[0011] The first anchor may comprise a disc, button, washer or the like and the flexible member may be secured to the button, washer or the like.

[0012] The first anchor may be located between the skin of the ball and an inflatable member or bladder of the ball.

[0013] The swivel may be connected at one end thereof to the flexible member. Another end thereof may be connectable to one end of a flexible link. The flexible link may be interchangeable with another flexible link of a different length, for example.

[0014] The flexible link may be non-resilient, for example in the form of a flexible rope, cord or the like, alternatively it may be resiliently flexible, for example in the form of an elastic band.

[0015] Securing means for securing another end of the link to a second anchor may be provided at the other end of the link.

[0016] The securing means may comprise a band, loop or the like, a glove or any other suitable means for securing the link at said other end to said second anchor.

[0017] The second anchor may be part of the body of a player, alternatively it may be an external or separate object.

[0018] A second swivel may be provided between the link and the securing means.

[0019] The length of the link may be adjustable.

[0020] The invention also includes within its scope a practice kit comprising:

[0021] a ball connected to one end of a flexible link;

[0022] the link being connected at another end thereof to securing means for securing the link to an anchor;

[0023] a separate target comprising a device sensitive to impact by the ball; and

[0024] an indicator connected to the device for automatically providing an indication when the target has been hit.

[0025] The separate target may comprise a target sheet which is securable against a support.

[0026] The indicator may comprise an audible and/or visible indicator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DIAGRAMS

[0027] The invention will now further be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying diagrams wherein:

[0028] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of the apparatus according to the invention;

[0029] FIG. 2 illustrates a first example of the apparatus in use, that is when a rugby player drop-kicks the ball;

[0030] FIG. 3 illustrates a second example of the apparatus in use, that is when a player place-kicks the ball;

[0031] FIG. 4 illustrates a third example of the apparatus in use, that is when a player passes the ball;

[0032] FIG. 5 illustrates a fourth example of the apparatus in use, that is when a soccer player practices his foot skills;

[0033] FIG. 6 illustrates a fifth example of the apparatus and a kit according to the invention in use, that is when a player practices to throw and hit a target with the ball; and

[0034] FIG. 7 is a more detailed diagram of a flexible member and first swivel forming part of apparatus.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0035] Apparatus for developing ball skills of a player is generally designated by the reference numeral 10.

[0036] The apparatus comprises a ball 12 resembling a ball such as that used in a game wherein a ball is played by one player to another by hand or with a foot of the passing player. Such games include rugby, various forms of football, soccer, basketball, netball etc.

[0037] The ball in FIG. 1 resembles a rugby ball. The ball is connected via a first swivel 14 to one end of a flexible link in the form of an elastic band 16. At another end thereof the link is connected via an optional second swivel 18 to a securing means in the form of a band 20. The link 16 is preferably adjustable in length. Alternatively, a plurality of interchangeable links of different lengths and with suitable attachment mechanisms may be provided.

[0038] The band 20 can be secured to an anchor 22 shown in subsequent figures. The band comprises a strip of a suitable fabric which can be closed and/or the size of an eye defined thereby may be adjusted by suitable fastening means such as the material 24 known in the trade under the name Velcroâ„¢.

[0039] As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 7, first swivel 14 is connected to the ball by a flexible member 50. The flexible member 50 comprises a section of rope 52 which is looped on itself. The ends of the section extend through an aperture 54 defined in a button 56 and are knotted together at 58. The knot 58 is big enough so as not to slip through the aperture 54. Upon manufacture of the ball, the button 56 is located between a skin or casing 60 of the ball and an inflatable member or bladder 62 of the ball. The member extends outwardly from the ball through a small hole in the skin of the ball. The first anchor is hence embedded in the ball, whether the ball is produced by a moulding process or whether the skin of the ball comprises a plurality of panels 12.1 and 12.2 which are hand or machine stitched together at seam 12.3.

[0040] A first loop 14.1 of swivel 14 is linked to the loop of rope 52. Link 16 is secured in any suitable manner to a second loop 14.2 of swivel 14.

[0041] The result is that swivel 14 is spaced from ball 12 by a length l of member 50.

[0042] In FIG. 2 a first use of the apparatus 10 is illustrated. The link 16 is anchored to an arm 26.1 of the player 26 and the player can practice drop-kicks. The link prevents the ball from being kicked away and after each kick the player can pull the ball back by the link and repeat the exercise.

[0043] In FIG. 3 a second use of the apparatus 10 is illustrated. The link 16 is anchored to an external anchor 22 and the player 28 can now practice place-kicks. Again the link prevents the ball from being kicked away and after each kick the player can pull the ball back by the link and repeat the exercise.

[0044] In FIG. 4 a third use of the apparatus 10 is illustrated. The link 16 is again anchored to an arm 30.1 of the player 30 and the player can practice ball passing skills. The link enables the player to pull the ball back after each pass and to repeat the exercise. It is believed that with the first swivel 14 which is spaced from the region of the ball to which the link is connected, possible injuries that may be caused by the ball returning to the user, may be reduced.

[0045] In FIG. 5 the apparatus is shown wherein the ball 32 resembles a soccer ball and wherein a player 34 practices ball passing and dribbling skills with his feet. The link may be anchored to an arm or a leg of the player 34.

[0046] In FIG. 6 a kit 35 according to the invention is illustrated. The kit comprises an apparatus 10 as hereinbefore described and a separate target sheet 36 which is erectable against a support 38. The target comprises a switch 40 which is sensitive to impact by the ball onto the target. The switch is connected in a circuit 42 comprising a power supply 44 and an indicator 46.

[0047] With the kit, a player may practice steps and/or procedures to throw a rugby ball into a line out, for example. When the ball 12 on the link hits the target 36, the indicator provides an audible and/or visible indication.