Title:
Table tennis automatic ball server backstop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A backstop for an automatic ball server has a frame, a net and a curtain. The frame is adapted to be mounted on a table for table tennis. The net is mounted on the frame and is mounted around the automatic ball server. An opening facing the table is defined in the net. The curtain is attached to the net to close the opening in the net, has a gap defined in the curtain through which the automatic ball server can serve balls and is comprised of multiple strips. Each strip has a proximal end attached to the net and a free distal end to allow the ball pass through the curtain and into the net when the ball strikes the curtain. Accordingly, a ball striking the net is slowed down, and the ball can be kept from sticking in the net or rebounding onto the table.



Inventors:
Lu, Sheng-nan (Shulin City, TW)
Ko, Chen-chun (Shulin City, TW)
Application Number:
10/447470
Publication Date:
12/02/2004
Filing Date:
05/28/2003
Assignee:
Shin Zu Shing Co., Ltd.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/04; A63B69/38; (IPC1-7): A63B69/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COOPER & DUNHAM LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A backstop for a table tennis automatic ball server mounted on one end of a tennis table with two ends, and the backstop comprising: a frame adapted to be mounted on the end of the table tennis table with the automatic ball server; a net mounted on the frame to be adapted to mount around the automatic ball server and having an opening adapted for facing the tennis table; and a curtain attached to the net to close the opening in the net, comprised of multiple strips having a free distal end and a proximal end attached to the net and a gap adapted for the automatic ball server serving balls through the gap.

2. The backstop as claimed in claim 1, wherein the strips are resilient.

3. The backstop as claimed in claim 2, wherein each resilient strip has a width adapted to equal a ball for table tennis.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a backstop, and more particularly to a backstop for a table tennis automatic ball server and having a net backstop and a curtain to slow the speed of the balls striking the net backstop.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] With reference to FIG. 4, a table tennis automatic ball server (40) is mounted on one end of a table tennis table (50) to serve balls to a person standing at the other end of the table (50) to practice table tennis. To catch and collect returned table tennis balls quickly and conveniently, a backstop (41) is mounted around the end of the table (50) and encloses the automatic ball server (40). When a person returns a table tennis ball to the end of the table (50) with the automatic ball server (40), the ball will strike and be blocked by the backstop (41). The returned table tennis balls will be collected in a gutter (42) on which the automatic ball server (40) is mounted and will be fed into the automatic ball server (40) automatically, such that the automatic ball server (40) can serve balls to the user continuously.

[0005] However, the returned table tennis ball may stick in the backstop (41) when the ball strikes the backstop (41) at a high speed. In addition, the balls easily rebound onto the table and do not go into the gutter (42) when the balls strike the backstop (41) at a high speed. The ball sticking in the backstop (41) or rebounding onto the table will not drop into the gutter (42) and will not be fed into the automatic ball server (40). This is inconvenient for a person using the automatic ball server (40).

[0006] To overcome the shortcomings, the present invention provides a backstop with a curtain to mitigate or obviate the aforementioned problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The main objective of the invention is to provide a backstop for an automatic ball server, which has a curtain to slow the speed of a returned ball striking the backstop to ensure that the balls are fed into the automatic ball server automatically and completely. The backstop has a frame, a net and a curtain. The frame is mounted on a table tennis table. The net is mounted on the frame and is mounted around the automatic ball server. An opening is defined in the net. The curtain is attached to the net to close the opening in the net and has a gap defined in the curtain through which the automatic ball server serves table tennis balls. The curtain has a proximal end attached to the net and a free distal end to allow the balls to pass through the curtain and into the net when the balls strike the curtain. The curtain slows the balls before the balls strike the net. The balls traveling at a slower speed will not stick in the net, and the curtain also keeps the balls from rebounding off the net onto the table. The curtain ensures that the returned balls are collected in a gutter on which the automatic ball server is mounted and are fed into the automatic ball server completely.

[0008] Other objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table tennis table with an automatic ball server and a backstop in accordance with the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the automatic ball server and the backstop in FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is an operational front plan view of the backstop in FIG. 1; and

[0012] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a table tennis table with an automatic ball server and a conventional backstop in accordance with the prior art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0013] With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a backstop for a table tennis automatic ball server (10) comprises a frame (11), a net (12) and a curtain (20). The table tennis ball server comprises a serving assembly (not numbered) and a gutter (not numbered). The table tennis table (50) has two ends (not numbered). When practicing table tennis a person mounts an automatic ball server (40) on one end of the table (50) and stands at the other end of the table. The backstop frame ( 1) is mounted at the end of the table (50) with the automatic ball server (40). The net (12) is mounted on the frame (11) around the automatic ball server (10). The net (12) has an opening (not numbered) facing the table (50). The structure of the frame (11) and the net (12) is the same as the conventional frame and net and are not further described.

[0014] The curtain (20) is attached to the net (12) to close the opening in the net (12) and has a free distal end (not numbered), a proximal end (not numbered) and a gap (not numbered). The proximal end is attached to the net (12), and the gap is defined in the curtain (20) to allow the automatic ball server (10) to serve balls through the gap. The curtain (20) is comprised of multiple strips (not numbered). Each strip has a proximal end attached to the net (12) and a free distal end. Optionally, each strip is resilient and has a width equal to a ball for table tennis.

[0015] With further reference to FIG. 3, a ball (31) returned to the end of the table (50) with an automatic ball server (10) will strike at least one strip of the curtain (20) before entering the net (12). Because the strips of the curtain (20) have free distal ends, the ball (31) will push the strip away from the opening in the net (12). Accordingly, the ball (31) can pass through the curtain (20) and enters the net (12). The ball (31) will be stopped by the net (12) and drop into the gutter (13) on which the automatic ball server (10) is mounted. With bumping with the curtain (20), the ball (31) will slow down when the ball (31) strikes the curtain (20), and this can keep the ball (31) from sticking in the net (12). In addition, the curtain (20) will keep a ball (31) rebounding off the net (12) from escaping from the net (12). This ensures that the returned balls (31) can be collected in the gutter (13) and fed to the automatic ball server (10). Accordingly, a person does not need to collect the balls (31) manually, and the automatic ball server (10) is more convenient and efficient.

[0016] Even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of the invention, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts within the principles of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.