Title:
Ball batting and kicking practice device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a ball hitting and kicking practice device. It includes: a.) a central elongated member having a proximal end and a distal end, b.) a ball attached to the distal end of the central elongated member, c.) a base located at the proximal end of the central elongated member, d.) at least one suction cup connected to the base, having a functional attaching end facing away from the ball; and, e.) at least one spring mechanism located between the ball and at least one suction cup and connected to at least one of the central elongated member and the base.



Inventors:
Hoffman, Daniel (Township of Washington, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/459319
Publication Date:
12/16/2004
Filing Date:
06/11/2003
Assignee:
HOFFMAN DANIEL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100062870GOLF CLUB ALIGNMENT MARKINGSMarch, 2010Pouliot et al.
20070037637Jym Pitch TrainerFebruary, 2007Jennings
20030232660Easy putterDecember, 2003Lusignan
20080009373AIR BATTING TEEJanuary, 2008Binder et al.
20060105857Athletic ball telemetry apparatus and method of use thereofMay, 2006Stark
20070232418Sport court perimeter boundaryOctober, 2007Ziemkowski et al.
20090124434SOCCER TRAINING AND MOTIVATION PROGRAMMay, 2009Abboud
20090124435Soccer Goal With Improved StabilityMay, 2009Ferrone
20100056292GOLF CLUB AND SHAFT REPLACING METHODMarch, 2010Sato et al.
20090023508Bowling Ball With Weight BlockJanuary, 2009Sposato
20020132679Golf club vertical holderSeptember, 2002Wilde et al.



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kenneth P. Glynn, Esq. (Flemington, NJ, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A ball hitting and kicking practice device, which comprises: a.) a central elongated member having a proximal end and a distal end; b.) a ball attached to said distal end of said central elongated member; c.) a base located at said proximal end of said central elongated member; d.) at least one suction cup connected to said base, having a functional attaching end facing away from said ball; and, e.) at least one spring mechanism located between said ball and said at least one suction cup and connected to at least one of said central elongated member and said base.

2. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said at least one spring mechanism is a coil spring.

3. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said at least one spring mechanism in a resilient spring material selected from resilient rubber, resilient elostomer, resilient plastic and combinations thereof.

4. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 3 wherein said at least one spring mechanism is an integral part of at least one of said elongated member and said base.

5. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said base is an elongated base formed at right angles to said central elongated member, and said base includes two suction cups connected thereto.

6. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 5 wherein said central elongated member and said base are a single integrally formed resilient unit.

7. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 6 wherein said at least one spring mechanism is a resilient spring material selected from resilient rubber, resilient elostomer, resilient plastic and combinations thereof.

8. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said central elongated member is a resilient flexible metal member that also acts as said at least one spring mechanism.

9. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said base is an elongated base formed at right angles to said central elongated member, and said base includes three suction cups connected thereto.

10. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 9 wherein said central elongated member and said base are a single integrally formed resilient unit.

11. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 10 wherein said at least one spring mechanism is a resilient spring material selected from resilient rubber, resilient elostomer, resilient plastic and combinations thereof.

12. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 9 wherein said central elongated member is a resilient flexible metal member that also acts as said at least one spring mechanism.

13. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said base is an elongated base formed at right angles to said central elongated member, and said base includes four suction cups connected thereto.

14. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 13 wherein said central elongated member and said base are a single integrally formed resilient unit.

15. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 14 wherein said at least one spring mechanism is a resilient spring material selected from resilient rubber, resilient elostomer, resilient plastic and combinations thereof.

16. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 13 wherein said central elongated member is a resilient flexible metal member that also acts as said at least one spring mechanism.

17. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 1 wherein said ball is removably attached to said distal end of said central elongated member.

18. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 5 wherein said ball is removably attached to said distal end of said central elongated member.

19. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 9 wherein said ball is removably attached to said distal end of said central elongated member.

20. The ball hitting and kicking practice device of claim 13 wherein said ball is removably attached to said distal end of said central elongated member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a practicing device for ball sports, such as baseball, softball, soccer and other ball sports. Specifically, the present invention relates to a device that is removably attachable to a flat surface, For example, a vertical or horizontal surface, via one or more suction cups. The user can then strike the ball with a bat, hand or foot repeatedly for practice. The ball, being mounted to one or more components of the device, recovers via a spring mechanism.

[0003] 2. Information Disclosure Statement

[0004] The following patents are exemplary of the art relating to ball practice devices:

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,472 describes a baseball batting aid or trainer, which comprises a hand-held rigid handle having an elongated extension with an outer base portion at its free end. There is also a flexible, preferably extensible member co-extending with the extension, the extensible member being affixed adjacent one end with respect to the extension and adjacent the opposed end to a baseball or like target object, the tether and extension being arranged to retain the target object in engagement on the case portion of the elongated extension whereby the trainer may be used to hold the target object in a selected position before a batter to facilitate practice by, and training of the batter.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,071,122 describes a batting training apparatus for improving the batting performance of a baseball batter, the apparatus having a plurality of baseball-simulating targets placed within a simulated strike zone and mounted for rotation about a vertical axis in response to being struck by a baseball bat, a plurality of illuminating lamps associated one with each one of the targets, to simulate a particular pitch, a timer for measuring the time between illumination of the selected lamp and the commencement of movement of the target in response to being struck by the baseball bat to indicate the reaction time of the batter, and a counter for counting the number of revolutions of the target about the vertical axis to indicate the quality of the strike upon the target by the baseball bat.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,282,615 describes a new and improved tethered-ball, hitting practice apparatus is disclosed that includes a base member, a vertical support member connected to and supported by the base member, a tether-assembly-retaining member connected to and supported by the vertical support member, and a tether assembly connected to and supported by the tether-assembly-retaining member. The tether assembly includes a tether cord and a spindle for adjusting the tether cord length. The spindle stores and pays out the tether cord and permits a portion of the tether cord to hang freely from the apparatus. A connector is provided to connect the freely hanging tether cord portion to a ball. The tether-assembly-retaining member includes guide elements for guiding a portion of the tether cord from the spindle to the freely hanging tether cord portion. In addition, the tether-assembly-retaining member includes a hollow body portion having an open end and an orifice in a side portion of the hollow body portion. In this respect, the tether cord guide elements include the open end and the side orifice of the tether-assembly-retaining member. The vertical support member has an adjustable length. The ball can be connected to the freely hanging tether cord portion be either a rubber band or a strap having a loop and pile connector. In addition, combined ball holder and dispenser can be connected to the vertical support member.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,467,978 describes a baseball batting training device provided with a base plate which is anchored to the ground by spikes, cork-shaped ground engaging pins or various other types of ground anchoring systems. A vertically extending hollow tube is mounted to a plate spaced from the base by rubber isolators. An L-shaped tube has one arm inserted in the vertical hollow tube with a rubber collar affixed about the inner tube. The vertical tube is provided with several vertical spaced pairs of holes for receiving a pin therethrough for adjusting the height of the horizontal arm of the tube. A ball is mounted to a flexible support arm and other rubber components provide damping of torque forces generated when the ball is batted thereby preventing the base from being dislodged from the ground.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,928,092 describes an invention that provides a baseball support device for holding a baseball in position for batting practice. The device has a base shaped like home plate. A first support strut is engagable with an engagement lip on the base such that the first support strut extends upwardly in a vertical attitude. A swing arm assembly, having a second support strut and a third support strut connected by an integral horizontal arm, is rotatably engaged with the first support strut, either end. The base includes a handle and an three battery type clips for holding the first support strut and the swing arm assembly when the invention is disassembled for travel or storage.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,989,137 describes a ball striking device that is adapted to be mounted on a vertical mounting surface having retention structure thereon. This device includes a clip removably attached to and suspended from the retention structure of the vertical mounting surface. A mounting member having a substantially horizontally extending support arm provided with a free end and a substantially vertically extending pivot leg is engageable with the clip and the vertical mounting surface. A ball is attached directly to the free end of the support arm and is adapted to be struck by a moving object. An elastic arrangement extends between the pivot leg and the vertical mounting surface for establishing the position of the ball before being stuck and controlling the return of the ball after being stuck.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 6,033,323 describes a batting training device defined by a spherical member 15 having a through-opening 20 concentric with a central axis 22 and two elongated tether members 25 that pass through the through opening 20. Each elongated tether 25 has a first end 34 secured to a handle 40 and a second end 36 secured to a securement member 45. The handles 40 are provided for being grasped by a coach or a training in assistant (not shown). The securement member 45 is provided for securing the batting training device 10 to a stationary object such as a chain-link fence.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 6,086,488 describes a batting training system having a ball supported by a tether from a horizontal arm that includes a ball capturing device for capturing the ball after it is struck and preventing the ball from spinning rapidly around the horizontal arm after being struck by a batter.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 6,142,889 describes a tethered ball-type batting practice apparatus comprised of a non-resilient first tether portion, a swivel, a linearly resilient second tether portion, a ball and a moderately flexible sleeve is disclosed. The hollow, lightweight ball cooperates with the resilient second tether portion to reduce the likelihood of the ball being torn from the tether, while giving a batter the authentic feel of having hit a standard ball. The moderately flexible sleeve prevents the tether from wrapping around the batter's bat. And, the resilient second tether portion permits the swivel to work more efficiently in preventing the tether's twisting.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 6,435,989 describes a ball-like target, representative of a ball to be used in actually playing a sport to be taught, for use in teaching batting and catching to new players. The ball-like target is attached to an apparatus that allows a trainer to control the target's speed and attitude of presentation to a trainee. The trainer can then explain in whatever detail is necessary for the trainee to understand the instructions being provided and the trainee can respond accordingly. The device improves training efficiency by allowing the trainer to retain possession and control of the ball. The ultimate results for the trainee are improved eye-hand coordination, many practice swings at an actual ball per unit time, immediate feed back on the result of each swing, and improved self-confidence as more and more contact is made by the bat with the ball, especially in young ball players.

[0015] Notwithstanding the prior art, the present invention is neither taught nor rendered obvious thereby.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention is a ball hitting and kicking practice device. It includes: a.) a central elongated member having a proximal end and a distal end; b.) a ball attached to the distal end of the central elongated member; c.) a base located at the proximal end of the central elongated member; d.) at least one suction cup connected to the base, having a functional attaching end facing away from the ball; and, e.) at least one spring mechanism located between said ball and said at least one suction cup and connected to at least one of said central elongated member and said base.

[0017] The spring mechanism may be a separate component or be an integral part of one of the other components. For example, the spring may be a coil spring alternatively, the ball hitting and kicking practice device of the present invention may have at least one spring mechanism that is made of a resilient spring material selected from resilient rubber, resilient elostomer, resilient plastic and combinations thereof. This may be a single bar or rod spring or may be of any other functional shape.

[0018] In other embodiments, the present invention the ball hitting and kicking practice device spring mechanism may be an integral part of at least one of the elongated member and the base, in whatever shape either or both may take. For example, the base and elongated member may be a single rubber or plastic inverted “T” and it may be flexible in toto to also act as a spring.

[0019] In some preferred embodiments, the ball hitting and kicking practice device of the present invention includes an elongated base formed at right angles to the central elongated member, and the base includes two suction cups connected thereto.

[0020] The present invention device may have at least one spring mechanism that is a resilient spring material selected from resilient rubber, resilient elostomer, resilient plastic and combinations thereof. Alternatively, the ball hitting and kicking practice device central elongated member may be a resilient flexible metal member that also acts as at least one spring mechanism.

[0021] In other embodiments, the ball hitting and kicking practice device base may be an elongated base formed at right angles to the central elongated member, and the base includes three suction cups connected thereto. It could be triangular, circular, or otherwise.

[0022] In yet other embodiments, the ball hitting and kicking practice device base may be an elongated base formed at right angles to the central elongated member, and the base includes four suction cups connected thereto. For example, the base could be circular, oval, square or rectangular.

[0023] In some embodiments of the present invention, the ball hitting and kicking practice device, the ball may be removably attached to the distal end of the central elongated member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] The present invention should be more fully understood when the specification herein is taken in conjunction with the drawings appended hereto wherein:

[0025] FIG. 1 illustrates a top view of one preferred embodiment of the present invention device having a unistructurally formed base and elongated member, and having two suction cups;

[0026] FIG. 2 shows a top view of an alternative present invention device having a single suction cup;

[0027] FIGS. 3 and 4 show front views of present invention in the form of triangular base/three suction cups and square base/four suction cups respectively; and,

[0028] FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of the present invention device with multiple springs, a removable, replaceable ball, and a spring stop.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

[0029] FIG. 1 shows a top view of present invention ball batting and kicking device 1. It includes a ball 3 attached to the distal end of central elongated member 5. The proximal end of central elongated member 5 is connected to base 7. In this embodiment, base 7 forms an inverted “T” with central elongated member 5. Base 7 itself is horizontally elongated (or vertically elongated, if mounted 90° off from FIG. 1 orientation). Base 7 has opposing ends 9 and 11, from which hollow attachment collars 17 and 19 extend. These have suction cups 13 and 15 permanently attached to each, respectively. Device 1 may be attached to a wooden fence, an outdoor wall or an indoor wall, or any other flat surface wherein a user may swing a bat at ball 3 for practice.

[0030] Central elongated member 5 and base 7 of present invention device 1 is formed of a thick (three quarters inch to 2 inch) vulcanized rubber or synthetic material that acts as its own spring so that when ball 3 is hit, it will swing away and recover.

[0031] FIG. 2 shows a top view of an alternative embodiment present invention device 50. Ball batting and kicking device 50 includes a ball 51. This could be a baseball, a softball, or a larger ball, such as a soccer ball. Further, ball 51 is attached to central elongated member 53 at distal end 55. Ball 51 may be permanently attached or it may be removably attached to central elongated member 53. At proximal end 57 of central elongated member 53 is spring 59, and this is also connected to neck 61 of suction cup 63, e.g. by threading, screw, ratchet bolt, heat weld, or other known affixing method/device. Suction cup 63 includes a quick release tab 65. Device 51 may be mounted to any flat surface, especially a vertical or horizontal surface, and used for batting and kicking practice. In FIG. 2 it is attached to wall 67.

[0032] FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 each show front views of present invention devices 100 and 200 in triangular and square configurations, respectively. In FIG. 3, base 101 is triangular and has attachment screws 113, 115, and 116, respectively connecting suction cups 107, 109, and 11 to base 101. These suction cups respectively include quick release tabs 121, 123, and 125. They function in a manner similar to the suction cups described above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. Likewise, the suction cups described below with respect to FIGS. 4 and 5 function in a similar manner.

[0033] Extending outwardly from base 101 of FIG. 3 is central elongated member 105, behind and connected to ball 103.

[0034] FIG. 4 shows device 200 with a square base 201, suction cups 207, 209, 211, and 213, central elongated member 205, and soccer ball 203 attached thereto.

[0035] FIG. 5 shows a top view of an alternative embodiment present invention device 300. It includes a base 301, and central elongated member 303 and springs 305 and 307. Spring 305 is located at the proximal end of central elongated member 303 and spring 307 is located in the middle of central elongated member 303. At the distal end of central elongated member 303 is threaded head 309. Ball 311 has matching threading 313 and has been tightly screwed onto central elongated member 303. In this embodiment, base 301 includes a disk 315 with a conical cutout that acts as a stop to prevent spring 305 and central elongated member 303 from bending to far. This keeps ball 311 off a wall or other area to which device 300 might be attached.

[0036] Extending from base 301 and embedded in base 301 are connecting collars 317 and 319. Attached thereto are suction cups 321 and 323, as shown, with release tabs 325 and 327.

[0037] Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.





 
Previous Patent: Golf shoe accouterment

Next Patent: Hand-eye trainer