Title:
Training bat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training bat comprising a first end forming a handle, a second end having a substantially uniform outer diameter, and at least one step portion, positioned between the handle and the second end, having an outer diameter, wherein the at least one step portion has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.



Inventors:
Decelle, Robert (Haverhill, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/175830
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
07/05/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B59/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080108451Golf shaft with an adhesive layerMay, 2008Han
20050101421Cone clip racquet pickMay, 2005Marangoni
20070293347Integrated structure of golf club head and striking faceDecember, 2007Lai et al.
20080020873Projectile deviceJanuary, 2008Miller et al.
20020082099Golf green trainerJune, 2002Chang
20080125250Inside Structure of Dimple for Golf BallMay, 2008Lee
20100087283REAR MOUNTABLE CUTTER DEVICE FOR A HUNTING ARROWApril, 2010Mackey Jr. et al.
20010000507Ball for baseballApril, 2001Uchida et al.
20070207883FLYING DISC WITH GRIP SURFACESSeptember, 2007Kenner
20090318251NOVEL TENNIS BALLDecember, 2009Limerkens et al.
20030054906Breakaway basketball goalMarch, 2003Allshouse et al.



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY & LARDNER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A training bat comprising: a first end forming a handle; a second end having a substantially uniform outer diameter; and at least one step portion, positioned between the handle and the second end, having an outer diameter, wherein the at least one step portion has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.

2. The training bat of claim 1 wherein the at least one step portion is comprised of a first step having an outer diameter and a second step having an outer diameter wherein the outer diameter of the second step is smaller than the outer diameter of the first step.

3. The training bat of claim 2 wherein the first step has a length and the second step has a length that is greater than the length of the first step.

4. The training bat of claim 3 wherein the second step has an outer diameter substantially the same as an outer diameter of the handle.

5. The training bat of claim 4 wherein the at least one step portion is constructed and arranged to reduce vibration in the bat when the bat is used to strike a ball.

6. The training bat of claim 5 further comprising a flange positioned between the handle and the at least one step portion.

7. The training bat of claim 6 wherein the at least one step portion has a length that is substantially one-half of the length of the second end.

8. The training bat of claim 7 having a weight that is greater than the weight of a conventional bat.

9. The training bat of claim 8 wherein the training bat is composed of aluminum.

10. The training bat of claim 8 wherein the training bat is composed of a single member of solid aluminum.

11. A training bat comprising: a first end forming a handle; a second end having an outer diameter; a first step having an outer diameter that is smaller than the outer diameter of the second end; and a second step having an outer diameter that is smaller than the outer diameter of the first step, wherein the first step is positioned between the second end and the second step.

12. The training bat of claim 11 wherein the length of the second end is longer than the length of the second step.

13. The training bat of claim 12 further comprising a flange positioned between the handle and the second step.

14. The training bat of claim 13 wherein the second step has an outer diameter substantially the same as an outer diameter of the handle.

15. The training bat of claim 14 wherein the second end has a substantially uniform outer diameter.

16. The training bat of claim 15 wherein the first step and the second step are constructed and arranged to reduce vibration in the bat when the bat is used to strike a ball.

17. The training bat of claim 16 wherein the training bat is composed of aluminum.

18. The training bat of claim 17 wherein the training bat is composed of a single member of solid aluminum.

19. A training bat comprising: a first end forming a handle; a second end having an outer diameter; at least one step portion, positioned between the handle and the second end, having an outer diameter, wherein the at least one step portion has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end; and a flange positioned between the handle and the at least one step portion.

20. The training bat of claim 19 wherein the at least one step portion is comprised of a first step having an outer diameter and a second step having an outer diameter that is smaller than the outer diameter of the first step.

21. The training bat of claim 20 wherein the first step has a length and the second step has a length that is greater than the length of the first step.

22. The training bat of claim 21 wherein the second step has an outer diameter substantially the same as an outer diameter of the handle.

23. The training bat of claim 22 wherein the at least one step portion is constructed and arranged to reduce vibration in the bat when the bat is used to strike a ball.

24. The training bat of claim 23 wherein the at least one step portion has a length that is substantially one-half of the length of the second end.

25. The training bat of claim 24 wherein the handle is further comprised of a butt-end having a diameter larger than the outer diameter of the handle, positioned as a portion of the first end of the bat proximal to a user of the bat.

26. A training bat comprising: a first end forming a handle; a second end having a substantially uniform outer diameter; and means, positioned between the handle and the second end, for reducing vibration of the bat when the bat is engaged in striking a ball, wherein the means for reducing vibration has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.

27. A method of striking a ball with a training bat, the method comprising: contacting a ball with a bat, the bat having a first end forming a handle, a second end having a substantially uniform diameter, and at least one step portion, positioned between the handle and the second end, having an outer diameter, wherein the at least one step portion has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention are directed to an apparatus for use in athletic training, and more particularly to a training bat for use in baseball or softball batting practice.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Training bats are traditionally used by baseball or softball players to improve individual batting performance in preparation for play in actual competitive situations. Training bats have been designed to assist in batter performance, many of them having shock absorbance members, thinner contact surfaces to increase hand-eye coordination, or weights to improve batter strength. Examples of such bats are described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,246,894; U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,908; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,280,353.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to improved training bats which provide, inter alia, improved shock absorbing properties and allow the batter to better his or her follow-through speed and hand/eye coordination.

In general, in one aspect, the invention provides a training bat comprising a first end forming a handle, a second end having a substantially uniform outer diameter, and at least one step portion, positioned between the handle and the second end, wherein the at least one step portion has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.

Implementations of the invention may include one or more of the following features. The at least one step portion can be comprised of a first step having an outer diameter and a second step having an outer diameter, wherein the outer diameter of the second step is smaller than the outer diameter of the first step. The second step can have a length that is greater than a length of the first step. The outer diameter of the second step can be substantially the same as the outer diameter of the handle.

Further implementations of the invention may include one or more of the following features. The at least one step portion can be and is desirably constructed and arranged to reduce vibration in the bat when the bat is used to strike a ball. The training bat may be further comprised of a flange positioned between the handle and the at least one step portion. The at least one step portion can have a length that is substantially one-half of the length of the second end. The training bat can have a weight that is substantially the weight of a conventional bat. The training bat can be composed of aluminum.

In general, in another aspect, a training bat is comprised advantageously out of a single piece of aluminum forming a handle, a second end having a substantially uniform diameter, and means, positioned between the handle and the second end, for reducing vibration of the bat when the bat is engaged in striking a ball, wherein the means for reducing vibration has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.

In general, in another aspect, the invention provides a method of striking a ball with a training bat, the method comprising contacting a ball with a bat, the bat having a first end forming a handle, a second end having a substantially uniform diameter, and at least one step portion, positioned between the handle and the second end, having an outer diameter, wherein the at least one step portion has an outer diameter smaller than the outer diameter of the second end.

The invention will be more fully understood after a review of the following figures, detailed description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the figures which are incorporated herein by reference and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a training bat in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a training bat in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a training bat in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a training bat in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention provide a training bat for use by a batter in the game of baseball or softball. Embodiments also serve as a tool for improving a batter's hand-eye coordination. Further, embodiments serve as tools for reducing vibration in a bat when a bat makes contact with a ball.

Referring to FIG. 1, a training bat 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention includes a first portion 12 located near a first end 11, a flange 14, a step portion 16 and a second portion 22 located near a second end 13. The step portion 16 is constructed and arranged to reduce vibration in the bat when the bat is used to strike a ball. The step portion 16 can have a first step 18 and a second step 20. The flange 14 is constructed and arranged to repel additional vibration that may occur in the bat when the bat strikes a ball. Referring to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, chamfers 21 and 23 are located at the positions on the bat 10 where the first step 18 and the second step 20 begin. In one embodiment, chamfers 21 and 23 are at a substantially 45 degree angle with the surface of the bat, but in other embodiments, chamfers that form other angles may be used. The first portion 12 can be configured as a handle having a butt end 24. The butt end 24 can prevent a batter's hands from slipping off the end of the handle 12. The second portion 22 includes a contact surface for use in striking a ball.

Generally, the step portion 16 is comprised of one or more steps, where a first step is a section of the step portion having a diameter smaller or larger than the diameters of the respective steps surrounding the first step. For example, each of the first portion 12, first step 18, second step 20, and second portion 22 has a respective outer diameter. The first step 18 of the at least one step portion 16 can have an outer diameter that is smaller than the outer diameter of the second portion 22. The second step 20 can have an outer diameter that is smaller than the outer diameter of the first step 18. In one embodiment of the invention, the outer diameter of the second step 20 is substantially the same as the outer diameter of the first portion 12.

The first portion 12, first step 18, the second step 20, and the second portion 22 have respective lengths. In an embodiment of the invention, the length of the first step 18 is smaller than the length of the second step 20. The length of the step portion 16, for example, can be substantially one-half of the length of the second portion 22, or one-third of a length 26, shown in FIG. 1, comprised of the combined lengths of the second portion 22 and the step portion 16. The length of the training bat 10 can be any of a number of lengths, including but not limited to a length of 30 inches, 32 inches, 34 inches or 35 inches. A longer bat 10 generally has a longer first step 18, whereby the length of the bat is proportional to the overall weight of the training bat 10. The second step 20 remains substantially the same length for any one of the plurality of lengths of the bat 10. In embodiments of the invention, the length of the first step 18 is substantially equal to the length of the second step 20. In still further embodiments, the length of the first step 18 can be larger than the length of the second step 20. Embodiments of the invention according to these dimensions have been shown to exhibit a substantially reduced vibration of the bat when the bat strikes a baseball, thus increasing the comfort of the batter holding the training bat. Other embodiments of the invention having different lengths and other outer diameters can also be achieved.

The training bat 10 can have a weight that is substantially the same weight as a conventional bat. In other embodiments, the bat may be designed to have a weight that is less than or, advantageously, greater than the weight of a conventional bat. In parlance, one embodiment may be a “+8” bat, e.g., a 30″ bat having a weight of 38 ounces.

In one embodiment, the training bat is composed of aluminum. Other embodiments of the training bat may be composed of other materials, including, but not limited to, steel, aluminum alloys, beryllium, wood, plastic, or combinations of materials. Preferably, the training bat 10 is composed of a single member of solid aluminum; however, hollow or tubular members can be employed.

The training bat 10, or any portion thereof, may have a surface color that identifies a length and a weight of the bat. For example, the training bat 10 may have a red, blue or black surface to identify a bat that is 30 inches in length and 38 ounces in weight. The user of the bat can therefore more readily identify the proper bat for his/her particular training use.

By way of example, in one embodiment of the invention, the training bat 10 having an overall length of 30 inches and a weight of 38 ounces has a first portion 12 having a length of approximately 12.763 inches and an outer diameter of 1.154 inches. The first step 18 has a length of 2.578 inches and an outer diameter of 1.014 inches, while the second step 20 has a length of 3.297 inches and an outer diameter of 0.876 inches. A flange 14, positioned between the handle 12 and the second step 20, has a width of 0.522 inches. The first end 12 has a length of 10.09 inches and an outer diameter of 0.812 inches. Further, a butt end 24 can be included having a width of 0.66 inches and an outer diameter of 1.25 inches.

In FIGS. 3 and 4, common elements appear having the same number as that identifying respective elements in prior embodiments. FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the training bat 50 that includes a step portion 16 having a single step with a diameter less than the diameter of the second end 22. FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of the training bat 60 that can include a first end 12 adjacent to the step portion 16 without a flange positioned between the first end 12 and the step portion 16.

Having thus described at least one illustrative embodiment of the invention, various alterations, modifications and improvements will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Such alterations, modifications and improvements are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing description is by way of example only and is not intended as limiting. The invention's limit is defined only in the following claims and the equivalents thereto.