Title:
Training device and method for practicing playing pool
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training device arranged for advantageous practice use by pool players for improving their playing skills. The device includes a central elongated narrow panel structure having adjustable overall length, and has a support leg adjustably attached at each end of the panel structure. The device can be positioned transversely on a pool table with each leg resting on a side rail of the table. In this position, a view by a player of only the cue ball and a selected object ball is possible, and an undesired view of the selected pocket is temporarily prevented while the player takes a shot. A combined training system and method steps useful for improving skills of a pool player are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Nagle, Garrett (Northport, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/429511
Publication Date:
11/11/2004
Filing Date:
05/05/2003
Assignee:
NAGLE GARRETT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Martin Smolowitz, Esq. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A training device useful for improving skills of pool players, the device comprising a central elongated rigid panel said panel being formed by two opaque mating parallel members which are adjustably clamped together by clamping means so as to provide a variable overall length; and leg means adjustably attached to an outer end of each said mating member by fastening means, so that the central panel overall length can be extended in a longitudinal direction and said central panel is movable perpendicularly relative to said leg means while being supported by each said leg means.

2. The training device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said central panel parallel members has a central elongated slot, and fastener means is provided in said slot to permit the two parallel members to be clamped rigidly together so as to provide a variable overall length.

3. The training device of claim 1, wherein each said leg means includes dual L-shaped members with a longer vertically extending portion of each leg member having a fastener means for adjustably attaching the leg member onto the outer end of said central elongated panel.

4. The training device of claim 1, wherein said central elongated panel is made of aluminum.

5. The training device of claim 1, wherein said central elongated panel structure is formed of a plastic material.

6. The training device of claim 1, wherein said central elongated panel structure is formed of wood.

7. The training device of claim 2, wherein said panel clamping means is a threaded bolt and wing nut.

8. The training device of claim 3, wherein said leg fastening means is a threaded bolt and wing nut.

9. A training system adapted for enhancing skills of a pool player, the system comprising: (a) a pool table having a flat upper playing surface, dual parallel side rails, and a plurality of pockets spaced apart along the side rails of the table; and (b) a training device as defined by claim 1 placed in a transverse upright position onto said pool table, so that each leg means of the training device rests on a side rail of said pool table and a vertical clearance space exists between the training device central panel lower edge and said pool table flat playing surface sufficient for a pool ball to pass through the space.

10. The pool player training system of claim 9, wherein said training device central panel consists of two parallel members clamped rigidly together by an adjustable clamping means provided in a central elongated slot so as to provide a variable overall length for the panel.

11. The pool player training system of claim 8, wherein each said leg includes dual L-shaped members, with the longer vertically extending portion of each leg member having an adjustable fastening means for attaching the leg onto an outer end of said central elongated panel.

12. A method for improving playing skills of a pool player, comprising the steps of: (a) on a pool table, having a cue ball and at least one object ball provided thereon, visually selecting an object ball to be propelled by a player into a selected pocket of the pool table by said object ball being struck by a cue ball; (b) placing a training device as defined by claim 1 in a transverse upright position onto said pool table at a location between said object ball and said selected pocket, so that said selected pocket is not visible to a player when in a crouched position prior to making a shot; and (c) stroking said cue ball with a cue stick end so that said cue ball strikes said object ball and knocks it into said selected pocket while said training device temporarily obscures the pocket from view by the player.

13. The pool playing skill improving method of claim 12, including moving said training device to a different location on said pool table before a player makes a shot by stroking said cue ball with the cue stick end.

14. The pool playing skill improving the method of claim 12, wherein the order of steps (a) and (b) are interchanged.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to a portable training device arranged for being conveniently and removably mounted on the side rails of a pool table and is useful for improving the skills of pool players. The invention also includes a training system and method steps for utilizing the training device for assisting players to improve their skills at playing pool.

[0002] When playing pool, the skill of a player in successfully hitting a cue ball with a longitudinally moving cue stick so that the cue ball strikes an object ball and propels it into a designated pocket of the pool table is a matter of good eye/hand coordination and skill for the player. The essential element in successfully executing such a pool shot requires the player selecting the intended pocket of the pool table and then striking the cue ball with the cue stick end and so as to propel the object ball into the selected pocket. However, most players when playing pool make the mistake of taking their eye off the object ball a split second before they shoot the cue ball in order to see if the object ball is going into the desired pocket. This mistake results in a miss, so the object ball does not drop into the desired pocket. But by using the training device of this invention such mistakes cannot happen, because at the time the shot occurs the player can see only the cue ball and object ball and not the pocket. With the training device and method of this invention, a player is conditioned to keep his or her eye on the cue and object balls during a shot, instead of looking at the pocket. In actual use, the inventive training device is manually positioned by the player transversely across the pool table at a desired location before making each shot. The training device and method of the invention is used for practice play only, and is never allowed in competition.

[0003] Various training devices have been previously developed in efforts to improve the skill of billiards and pool players. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 223,208 to Disston and U.S. Pat. No. 2,010,282 to Wannemacher each disclose movable bar structures containing adjustable apertures used for making practice shots by billiards or pool players for improving their game skills. Also, U.S. Pat. No. 3,724,849 to Pierce discloses a billiards training apparatus for placement on a billiard table, the apparatus having various openings arranged for receiving a cue stick for practice in striking a cue ball at suitable spots on the ball. U.S. Pat. No. 4,268,033 to Fontaine discloses a cue ball aiming device arranged for positioning adjacent to an object ball to assist a player in stroking the cue ball so that it strikes the object ball at the desired angle. Further, U.S. Pat. No. 3,178,181 to Burnett, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 3,210,079 to Tryon and U.S. Pat. No. 3,317,208 to Birkic each disclose a training device for bowlers which is positioned transversely across a bowling alley so as to permit a bowler to view his or her approach and also to prevent a bowler from seeing the pins until after a ball is delivered, and thereby assist bowlers in improving their skills. Although the prior art teaches various aiming devices for pool players and devices for temporarily preventing bowlers from seeing specific pins before a ball is released, the prior art does not teach or suggest providing a training device and system advantageously useful for billiards or pool players as provided by the present invention.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0004] This invention provides a portable training device which includes a central elongated, opaque, narrow panel having sufficient rigidity and length to extend transversely across a pool table. The central panel has a support leg adjustably attached at each end, each leg being sized so that when the training device support legs are each resting on the pool table side rails, a vertical space exists between the bottom edge of the central panel and the pool table playing surface. This vertical space can vary in height, such that the device central elongated panel never touches the table playing surface, but provides a sufficient clearance space for the cue ball and object balls to pass under the panel during use. Such vertical clearance space must exceed the pool ball diameter by 0.25-1.0 inch. This configuration for the inventive training devices permits a player to execute all desired shots without any interference from the device.

[0005] The training device central panel is formed of two elongated adjacent parallel members, with at least one member being provided with a central elongated slot and a suitable clamping arrangement for length adjustment as needed to match the width of a pool table. Each adjacent member has a support leg provided at its outer end for positioning and supporting the training device on the side rails of the pool table and to permit the vertical adjustment of the panel height relative to the pool table playing surface. The device is constructed of a narrow rigid material such as metal, opaque plastic, wood, etc. Whenever the training device of this invention is placed in a transverse upright position onto a pool table and the dual legs of the device rest upon the side rails of the pool table, a combination training system is provided which permits a player to practice various shots and improve his or her game skills. When properly used the training device prevents a player from seeing a designated pocket immediately before making a shot, so that the skill of a pool player in making an accurate shot can thereby be advantageously enhanced. This combination training system includes a pool table with the training device placed on the table in a transverse upright position so that the device dual legs each resting on a side rail of the pool table. Because the training device central panel is made adjustable in overall length using suitable clamping means, it can be utilized on pool tables of varying widths.

[0006] The method for a player utilizing the training device of this invention includes two basic steps. First, before the training device is placed transversely on a pool table, a player standing in an upright position in front or at the side of the table may sight both the cue ball and an object ball, and have a full view of the manner in which he or she intends to execute a particular shot to propel the object ball into a designated pocket of the table. Next, when ready to attack the object ball, the player places the inventive training device transversely upright onto the side rails of the pool table at a location so as to prevent the player sighting the pool table designated pocket when the player is in a crouched position ready to make a shot. At this time before making the shot, the player's eyes will be at a level above the lower edge of the training device central panel so as to prevent his or her sighting the designated pocket. By using the training device, the player is able to maintain concentration and orientation on the cue ball and the object ball free from any distraction of also prematurely sighting the pool table designated pocket. Therefore, before stroking the cue ball with the cue stick, the player will sight more accurately and intently on the cue ball and the spot where it must strike the object ball, and thereby increase the probability that the object ball will be propelled into the desired pocket of the pool table. If desired, these two basic method steps may be performed in the reverse order with similar results in player training. It is emphasized that the training device and method steps of this invention are utilized for practice and training purposes only, and are never used in any competitive pool game situation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING

[0007] This invention will be described with reference to the following drawings, in which:

[0008] FIG. 1. is a perspective view of the training device of this invention;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken at section 2-2 of FIG. 1;

[0010] FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the training device placed in a desired transverse location on a pool table so as to provide a combination training system; and

[0011] FIG. 4. shows an elevation sectional view of the training device and system in use by a player on a pool table, taken at section 4-4 of FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

[0012] FIG. 1 illustrates the training device 10 which includes a central elongated panel 11 formed of a narrow but rigid opaque material, and has a support leg 12 adjustably attached at each end of the panel. Each leg 12 is L-shaped and includes dual upper elongated portions 12a attached to the panel and dual base portions 12b which can rest on a side rail 13 of a pool table, as further shown by FIG. 2. The legs 12 attached to each end of the training device 10 are made adjustable relative to panel 11 by suitable fastener means 14, so as to enable the height “h” of the device central elongated panel 11 lower edge 11c to be adjusted above the pool table upper surface 13a as desired by the player, such as within a range of 3-4 inches. The fastener means 14 includes threaded bolt 14a, extending through slot 15 provided in upper elongated leg portion 12a, dual washers 14b, and a wing nut 14c so that legs 12 can be adjustably but securely attached to the panel 11. Alternatively, the slot 15 could be provided in each outer end of the elongated panel 11 and oriented perpendicular to the panel length.

[0013] As also shown by FIG. 1, the training device central elongated panel 11 includes two parallel members 11a and 11b, with at least one member 11a having a central longitudinal slot 16. The parallel members are held together by two suitable clamping means 18 such as threaded bolt and wing nut and useful for adjusting overall length of the dual mating members 11a and 11b of the device to accommodate the width of a pool table. The training device panel and legs may be constructed of a lightweight metal such as aluminum, an opaque plastic, or wood. Whenever the training device 10 is placed transversely upon the side rails of a pool table 20 as shown by FIG. 3, a combination training system is provided which is advantageously useful for improving the skills of a pool player.

[0014] The present invention also includes the basic method steps required for successfully using the training device and combination system by a pool player for improving his or her skills by a training process. In this process, a player first decides which object ball is to be struck by the cue ball to force the object ball into a selected pocket of the pool table. The training device 10 is next positioned transversely across the width of the pool table 20 so that the device legs 12 each rest uprioghtly upon the side rails 22 of the table as shown by FIG. 3, with sufficient vertical space being provided between the device lower edge and the pool table upper playing surface to permit pool balls to pass freely through the space. The player then moves the device 10 to a desired position “A” along the table length so that when making a shot it is not possible for the player to see the desired pocket 23. The shot is made by the player stroking the cue ball 24 with a cue stick end (not shown), and causing the cue ball to strike the object ball 26 and knock it along dotted line 25 into the pocket 23.

[0015] Alternatively, the player may stroke the cue ball 24 so that it strikes object ball 28 and knocks it along dotted line 27 into pocket 29. It is pointed out that these two basic training method steps may be suitably performed in the reverse order to that described, i.e. the training device 10 may be first placed onto the pool table and then the cue and object balls placed on the table in desired locations prior to making the shot(s).

[0016] The basic method steps for using the training device of this invention to improve player skills is further shown by FIG. 4. A player “P” may decide to strike a particular object ball 26 or 28 with cue ball 24 for knocking the object ball into pocket 23 or 29. The player positions the training device 10 on pool table 20, so that the pocket 23 is not visible beneath the clearance space “h” below the device 10 when the player in a crouching position immediately prior to making the shot with cue stick 30. As mentioned previously, these method steps may be reversed by first placing the training device 10 transversely on the pool table 20, and then placing the cue ball and object ball(s) at various locations on the pool table.

[0017] During use of the training device 10, it can be readily moved along the length of the pool table 20 from near one end to near the other, depending upon which pockets of the pool table a player wishes to direct a particular object ball during practice. For example, if the player wishes to send the object ball into a pocket located on the table right side, he or she may first view the location of the cue ball, the object ball and the desired pocket by standing at an appropriate location along the table length and sighting the best shot angle for executing the shot for striking the object ball with the cue ball and knocking the object ball into the desired pocket. Next, the player may place the training device of the invention transversely on the pool table at a location between the object ball and the pocket, such as one-third the length of the pool table away from the pocket and in a direction towards the opposite end of the table. The optimum position for the training device is one where the device blocks the player's view of the designated pocket when the device is in a desired position on the table, and the player is in a crouched position ready to execute the shot, as shown by FIG. 4. If desired, during practice situations, the training device 10 may be maintained in a stationary position on the table and the cue ball and object balls located randomly on the table by the player prior to making various desired practice shots.

[0018] The training device combination system and method steps of this invention are useful for advantageously training a pool player, by enabling the player to concentrate solely on the desired line of action for the cue stick, cue ball and object ball for each successful shot. This arrangement is accomplished without any undesired visual distraction that usually occurs when the designated pocket is also in the line of sight of the player. The same sequence steps can be repeated by the player by moving the training device further along the pool table length prior to knocking another object ball into any other pocket on the pool table.

[0019] This invention will be further described by use of the following example.

EXAMPLE

[0020] A training device for pool players is provided having a central elongated opaque and rigid panel structure formed by two parallel mating members, with one member having an elongated slot extending longitudinally 50-75% of the length of the member. A leg bracket is adjustably attached to the outer end of each mating member. The two members are clamped together in a parallel mating arrangement by utilizing a threaded bolt and wing nut extending through the elongated slot, so that the overall length of the training device is made adjustable. The training device can be placed extending transversely across the width of a pool table with the support legs resting on the table side rails, and the central panel structure lower edge being located above the pool table playing surface by a height of 3-4 inches sufficient for a ball to pass through. Other suitable dimensions for the training device include: 1

Overall length, in.  48-56
Overall height, in.  10-12
Panel member thickness, in.0.20-0.30
Panel materialDarkened opaque plexiglass

[0021] During training usage by a player, the training device is conveniently moved along the length of the pool table to any desired location before a player makes each shot to strike an object ball with the cue ball, so as to develop a high level of consistency in knocking the object ball into a desired pocket of the pool table.

[0022] Although this invention has been described broadly and also in terms of preferred embodiments, it is understood that modifications and variations can be made all within the scope as defined by the appended claims.