Title:
Football teaching system and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A football teaching system and method is disclosed that promotes rapid learning by novice football players who are thereby able to better visualize offensive and defensive football formations and correct stances for the individual positions thereof. The system includes twenty-two life size, vertical, two-dimensional football player models that can each be positioned at the appropriate places in the field. The football player models are labeled with a position name so that each position is easily identifiable. Football players on the line may also be numbered for easy set up by the novice players. Each football player model is in the correct stance from a frontal and rear view, such as three-point or four-point stance, as would be appropriate for the position. The overall size of the football player models corresponds to the size of the novices. The system of the present invention allows novice football players to easily visualize opposing teams and team members, as well as their placement and names for much quicker understanding. Therefore, the coach can easily explain plays to novice players in terms such as running between the left tackle and left guard without confusing the novice players. The base portion preferably includes a mount for holding the football player model upright and may include an insertion member such as a spring-loaded spike or other means such as a weight with rounded bottom that biases the model to an upright position.



Inventors:
Driver, Keno D. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/260727
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
10/27/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
434/247, 434/251, 473/438, 473/444
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B69/34
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KENNETH L. NASH (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for teaching football to football learners on a field, comprising: a plurality of football player models with a respective frontal and rear view depicted on each of said plurality of football player models; each of said plurality of football player models being a similar average size as said football learners; each of said plurality of football player models being representative of respective football position; each of said plurality of football player models being positionable on said field according to said respective football position; each of said plurality of football player models being depicted in a selected stance in said respective frontal and rear view; each of said plurality of football player models comprising hollow stands with a substantially conical cross-section, said conical cross-section further comprising a smaller cross-sectional width at a top portion and a larger cross-sectional width at a bottom portion, and each of said plurality of football player models defining an opening in said bottom portion so as to be insertable into each to permit stacking of said plurality of football players.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein said plurality of football player models comprise a substantially flexible material.

3. The system of claim 1, further comprising an outwardly extending flange at said bottom portion to provide a base to ensure stability of each said football player model when positioned on said field.

4. The system of claim 1, further comprising: defensive and offensive teams formed by said football player models.

5. The system of claim 1, further comprising: a portion of said plurality of football player models being depicted in a three point stance for said respective frontal and rear views, and a portion of said plurality of football player models being depicted in a four point stance for said respective frontal and rear views.

6. The system of claim 5, further comprising: a portion of said plurality of football player models being depicted in an upright stance for said respective frontal and rear views.

7. The system of claim 1, further comprising: at least one label associated with each of said plurality of football player models.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein: said at least one label is removable from a respective of said football player models.

9. The system of claim 7, wherein: said at least one label is indicative of a football player position.

10. The system of claim 1, further comprising: at least one of said plurality of football player models defining an aperture therethrough to provide a handgrip.

11. A method for providing a teaching system for teaching football to football learners on a field, comprising: providing that said plurality of football player models may be positioned onto said field by a handgrip, said football player models being sized approximately the same as said football learners; providing that said plurality of football player models are positionable into a desired football position to form a football formation; providing that said plurality of football player models are positionable upright on said field; and providing that said plurality of football player models are hollow and profiled so as to be compactly stackable.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising: providing that a flange extends outwardly at a base of said plurality of football player models to provide stability.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising: providing said football player models with a position label for instructing said football learners of a position name relative to a specific position.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising: providing that said plurality of football player models are made in one-piece construction out of plastic or rubber.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising: providing that said plurality of football player models comprise a conical cross-section to enhance said compact stacking.

16. A system for teaching football to football learners on a field, comprising: a plurality of football player models mountable on said field; each of said plurality of football player models being representative of a respective football position; each of said football player models being sized to correspond to a size of said football learners; each of said plurality of football player models being positionable on said field according to said respective football position; a conical cross-section for said plurality of football player models wherein said plurality of football player models are hollow to permit stacking; and a base portion for each of said plurality of football player models for mounting said football player models such that said football player models are positioned uprightly with respect to said field.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein said base portion further comprises a base of said conical cross-section.

18. The system of claim 17, further comprising: a flange extending outwardly from said base portion.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein said plurality of football player models comprise a relatively pliable non-metallic material formed in one-piece construction.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein said one-piece construction is conducive to manufacturing said football players with a mold.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to football instruction and, more particularly, to apparatus and methods for increasing learning speed and understanding of football techniques.

2. Description of the Background

Conventional football instruction provides for placing a plurality of individuals at the various positions along the line-of-scrimmage whereupon the various positions are assigned. However, there are numerous positions for twenty-two players and it is difficult, especially for a young novice, to learn and remember what his and other respective positions are. More particularly, it is extremely difficult for the novice to remember exactly where he should move when a particular play is called.

The mere act of positioning twenty-two younger players in a formation can be an exercise in frustration both for the players and the coaches. Moreover, there is a significant time factor in which learning of football techniques is required so as to give a significant advantage for quick learning of football fundamentals. The training normally begins only after a certain date, only limited practice time is available, and the games must be played according to a schedule of limited span of time. Thus, the learning efficiency involved in teaching potentially confusing concepts can often be an essential basic factor in winning or losing a particular game and in having a winning or losing season.

There are numerous positions to learn within two different opposing offense and defense units. For example, on a typical offensive team each member has different tasks and duties that must be learned. One individual is designated as the center, two individuals are designated as the guards, two individuals are designated as the tackles, two individuals are designated as the ends, an individual is designated as the quarterback, two individuals are designated as the halfbacks, and an another individual is designated the fullback. Similarly, on the defensive team, individuals are given positions as the defensive linemen, linebackers, and in various positions within the defensive backfield. To properly instruct football novices in the techniques involved with the game of football, it has been necessary to teach them about the twenty-two various positions so that each individual will knows exactly where he or she should be positioned relative to the other players. This is often difficult to quickly grasp. As well, each position has a preferable, and sometimes required, starting stance that must be learned and which may be different from the starting stance that other positions use.

One problem with the dynamic aspects of carrying out play is that the relative static starting positions of the players are not well enough understood by novices so that communications relating to a particular location are difficult to understand, e.g., the play requires a run between the left tackle and left guard. When a plurality of individuals are positioned on a playing field, each being designated with a different position, it is difficult for a novice in the game of football to remember exactly which position the other individuals have been assigned. More particularly, it is extremely difficult for the novice quarterback, halfbacks or fullback to remember exactly where he should move when a particular play is called. Therefore, if the quarterback decides that the left half back should carry the ball between the left guard and the left tackle it is sometimes difficult for the novice left halfback to remember exactly where the left guard and left tackle is positioned. Thus, confusion often arises and the individual who is attempting to learn the game of football becomes frustrated and disappointed. As this is a group function, a good deal of group confusion can result in a team that is demoralized, does not show up for even the limited time of practice, and therefore spirals downwardly in relative ability as compared to other teams. Moreover, if individual novice players do not learn the plays within a short time, this failure to quickly understand impedes progress of the team as a whole.

Consequently, there remains a need for a football teaching system and method that permits an individual to quickly and thoroughly learn and visualize the basic formation, and his and others positions in it. In the amateur ranks it is also desirable that the system be available at relatively reduced levels of capital investment so that it is affordable by the team. Those skilled in the art have long sought and will appreciate the present invention which provides solutions to these and other problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The football teaching system and method of the present invention was designed to optimize practices, greatly increase the speed of learning and comprehension of novice players, and significantly decrease the frustrations of novice players and their coaches. The present invention overcomes the numerous problems inherent in the traditional approach utilized in instructing a group of players.

Therefore, it is one object of the present invention to provide an improved football training aid which greatly simplifies the understanding of basic techniques.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a training aid which clearly depicts the exact position of both the offensive and defensive players and may also depicts weaknesses or strengths that may be observed or produced in the opposing team formation, e.g., a hole in the defensive line.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a training aid which enables a novice football player to understand the positioning of the other players and to readily understand the movement of various plays.

Yet another object of the present invention is to eliminate the need of the linemen to stand in their various positions as the backs practice a variety of different plays.

A feature of one embodiment of the invention is a shape that is easily stackable for storage.

An advantage of the present invention is that a player can get a feeling for his position and can easily see the name and relative position of others.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the action that a player must take can be easily explained and visually understood or demonstrated in terms of the static, named, life-size cutouts.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the football models are easy to set up in the desired position.

These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the drawings, the descriptions given herein, and the appended claims wherein is disclosed a system for teaching football to football learners on a field that comprises a plurality of football player models in two dimensional form. Each of the plurality of football player models being of a type useable for a respective football position. Each of the plurality of football player models being positionable on the field according to the respective football position and each of the plurality of football player models being depicted in a selected stance. The plurality of football players are sized according to a respective size for the age of the football learners. The plurality of football players are substantially conical or at become smaller at the top and hollow so as to be stackable. The system includes both defensive and offensive of the respective football positions. A portion of the plurality of football player models are depicted in a three point stance, a portion of the plurality of football player models being depicted in a four point stance, while another portion of the plurality of football player models being depicted in an upright stance. Signs are associated with each of the plurality of football player models. In one embodiment, at least one of the signs is interchangeable with another position signs. For improved transportability, one or more of the plurality of football player models having a carrying element such as a handle.

In operation, the method comprises lifting each of a plurality of football player models and placing each of the plurality of football player models in a desired football position to form a football formation. The football player models may then be mounted on the field, and shown to the football learners for visually learning about the football formation.

In one mode, the football player models are positioned in a defensive position having one or more holes for learning to look for and to run an offensive play therethrough. The football player models have a position name for learning of the position names relative to a specific position. In another mode of operation, a plurality of football player models are provided in linesmen positions for teaching the football learners in backfield techniques. It is desirable that the plurality of football player models are provided in a size that corresponds to an age of the football learners.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevational frontal view of an offensive team of life-size football models in accord with the present invention:

FIG. 2 is an elevational rear view of the offensive team of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an elevational frontal view of a defensive team of life-size football models in accord with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an elevational rear view of the defensive team of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an elevational frontal view of a typical life-size football model silhouette in accord with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a side view, partially in section, of the football model of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a top view, partially in section, of the football model of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is an elevational view of a football model mount in accord with the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an elevational view, partially in section, of another embodiment of a football model mount in accord with the present invention;

FIG. 10 is an elevational view, partially in section, of spring-loaded mounting shafts for securing the football model mount of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an elevational view of a model with spring-loaded mounting shafts;

FIG. 12 is an elevational view of another embodiment of the football model of FIG. 11 with spring-loaded mounting shafts;

FIG. 13 is an elevational view, partially in section, of a football model with weight mounted in the base to keep the football model in position and upright;

FIG. 14 is an elevational view, partially in section, of a side view of the football model of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an elevational front view of a pylon type football player model in accord with another possible embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 15A is a side view of the pylon type football player of FIG. 15 along lines 15A-15A in accord with another possible embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 16 is an elevational rear view of a pylon type football player model of FIG. 15 in accord with another possible embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 16A is a side view of the pylon type football player of FIG. 16 along lines 16A-16A in accord with another possible embodiment of the present invention;

While the present invention will be described in connection with specific embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents included within the spirit of the invention and as defined in the appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1-4, some of the general concepts of football teaching system, in accord with the present invention, are illustrated. FIG. 1 shows a frontal view of offensive team 12 having the various typical positions indicated therein and FIG. 2 shows the corresponding rear view of offensive team 12. Preferably for reduced costs, offensive and defensive teams use one or two common cutout two-dimensional silhouettes or shapes, such as that illustrated in FIG. 5-FIG. 7 of cutout or model 14. Different images, such as the three-point and four-point stance can be painted onto the same silhouette of model 14, as discussed hereinafter. Alternatively a silk screen or other inexpensive method of producing an image can be used. It is also desirable to have at least one standing silhouette for the positions which typically begin from a standing stance, as also discussed hereinafter. By reducing the number of different silhouettes require, manufacturing and storage costs are kept to a minimum. However, if desired, more of the silhouettes of several football models 14 could be different.

Reviewing the various models 14 shown, such as center 16, it will be noted that each model 14 preferably has numbers on each shoulder. Center 16 is the only player to have three numbers. The numbers are used to allow novice team members to assemble the offensive line 20 in their correct positions. Thus, center 16 has a “0” (zero) to indicate it is the middle position. This is easy to remember. Center 16 has a “1” on one shoulder, its left shoulder, and a “2” (two) on its opposite shoulder, the right shoulder. The “1” corresponds to another “1” on the shoulder of the adjacent left guard 22 so that a novice merely has to match “1” with “1” to place left guard 22 in proper perspective with the center 16. Left guard 22 has a “3” on its opposite shoulder that will match to the “3” on the shoulder of left tackle 24. Left tackle 24 has a “5” on its opposite shoulder that will match the “5” on the shoulder of left tight end 26. Thus, a novice group of players can quickly learn to assemble the left side of offensive line 20. Likewise, right guard 28 has a “2” and a “4” on its shoulders, right tackle 30 has a “4” and a “6” on its shoulders, and right tight end 32 has a “6” and an “8” on its shoulders, respectively. These numbers can be easily matched by novice team members, including school children age players, to build the right side of offensive line 20 in the same manner as discussed previously with respect to the left side of offensive line 20. It will also become clear to novice players in putting up the line that all offensive team members are in a straight line along the line of scrimmage and lined up with ball 18.

These numbers on the shoulders of the models 14 may be permanently attached to the models 14 or the numbers may be removable, for reasons discussed hereinafter. For instance, the shoulders may have a hook and ladder type connection, e.g., VELCRO® connection, for attaching the numbers. Other connecting means could also be used such as zippers, buttons, and the like. The numbers may be used on the rear of the models 14 as shown in FIG. 2 either in addition to or instead of use of the numbers from the front view as per FIG. 1. It will be noted that the numbers on the rear of the models 14 corresponds to the number on the front of the models 14.

The models 14, such as center 16, are pictured front and rear, see FIG. 2, in an ideal stance for easy learning and remembering of the desired stance for the particular position. For instance, center 16 is ideally in a squat position, with head straight with both hands on the football. Center 16 preferably is the only model 14 shown to have contact with football 18. The football is held firmly by center 16 on the line of scrimmage and is position between the legs of the center 16. From the frontal and rear view, it can be seen that the legs are spread out so that the feet are closely adjacent to the feet of the adjacent position to thereby improve the blocking effect. Thus, the models 14 are used to teach not only the relative position or location on the field but also the proper stance of the particular position.

The word or label “center” is printed in the middle of chest area 34 of center 16 as per FIG. 1 and at the rear of models 14 at an easily viewed position such as position 36 on the buttocks so that center 16 is easily identifiable from both sides. The word or label “center” may be permanently mounted on center 16 or it may be attached by various removable means such as buttons, zippers, clear pouches, or hook and ladder type connectors, just as the numbers on the shoulders. The purpose behind this is that it may be desirable for the name tags to be removable for various reasons. For instance, in manufacturing it will be less expensive to produce each model 14 as identical as possible. Thus, where possible, as with guards, tackles, and fullback 72 (no shoulder numbers), the models will be virtually identical except for labels and shoulder numbers thereby reducing manufacturing costs. Another purpose served would be to allow novice team players to be tested by having to place the labels in the proper position, thereby providing the coach with feedback as to whether the player has actually learned the names of the positions or not. Other purposes and uses for removable name tags would also no doubt be developed by those using the system of the present invention.

Going over other models in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, right guard 28 is the first player to the right of the center. As discussed above, the number two (2) is on the left shoulder and the number four (4) is on the right shoulder. The word or label “Right Guard” appears in middle chest area 38 from the front and preferably on the buttocks at position 40 from the rear view. Right guard 28 is in a squat position, feet apart, with both hands on the ground, with the head held up and looking in a straight line. It will be understood that a visual picture constantly available for viewing is very helpful for novice players. The rear view shows the number two (2) on the left shoulder and the number four (4) on the right shoulder. From the rear view, the feet are spread apart, both hands on the ground, fingers in a curved position with the thumbs acting as support. The head is in a straight line forward and substantially even with the shoulders.

Right tackle 30 of FIG. 1 is the second player to the right of center 16. On the right shoulder is the number six (6). The number four (4) is embedded in the left shoulder. The word or “Right Tackle” is written in the middle of chest area 42. The head is held straight and both eyes are focused. The knees are slightly bent with both hands on the ground.

The rear view of right tackle 30 in FIG. 2 shows the number four (4) on the left shoulder and the number six (6) on the right shoulder. The word “Right Tackle” is written preferably on buttock region 43. Right tackle 30 is in a bent position, with head and shoulder evenly aligned, both hands on the ground.

Right tight end 32 is the third player to the right of the center 16. The frontal view of FIG. 1 shows the number eight (8) on the right shoulder. On the left shoulder is the number six (6). The word “Right Tight End” is preferably centered on the chest at region 44. The right arm is held in a ninety degree angle with clenched fist. The left arm is anchored on the ground. The head is held straight with both eyes focused. Tight end 32 is also in a squat position.

The rear views of right tight end 32 shows the number six (6) on the left shoulder and the number eight (8) on the right shoulder. The words “Right Tight End” preferably appear in the center of the buttock such as region 46. The right arm is held in a 90 degree angle with clenched fist. The left hand is planted firmly on the ground. Tight end 32 is also in a squat position with both feet spread apart.

Left guard 22 of FIG. 1 is the first player to the left of the center 16. The number one (1) is on the right shoulder and the number three (3) is on the left shoulder. The word “Left Guard” preferably appears in the middle chest area in region 48. Left guard 22 is in a squat position, feet apart, with both hands on the ground, with the head held up and looking in a straight line:

The rear view of left guard 22 of FIG. 2 shows the number three (3) on the left shoulder and the number one (1) on the right shoulder. The word “Left Guard” is preferably written on the buttock at region 50. The feet are spread apart, both hands on the ground, fingers in a curved position with the thumbs acting as support. The head is in a straight line even with the shoulders.

Left tackle 24 of FIG. 1 is the second (2) player to the left of the center 16. On the right shoulder is the three (3). The number five (5) is embedded in the left shoulder. The word “Left Tackle” is preferably written in the middle of the chest area at region 52. The head is held straight and both eyes are focused. The knees are slightly bent with both hands on the ground.

The rear view of left tackle 24 in FIG. 2 shows the number five (5) on the left shoulder and the number three (3) on the right shoulder. The word or label “Left Tackle” is preferably written on the buttock at region 54. Left tackle 24 is in a bent position, with head and shoulder evenly aligned, both hands on the ground.

The frontal view of left tight end 26 shown in FIG. 1 is the third player to the left of the center 16. The frontal view shows the number seven (7) on the left shoulder. On the right shoulder is the number five (5). The word or label “Left Tight End” is centered on the chest preferably at region 56. The left arm is held in a ninety degree angle with clenched fist. The right arm is anchored on the ground. The head is held straight with both eyes focused. The Left Tight End is also in a squat position.

The rear view of left tight end 26 in FIG. 2 shows the number seven (7) on the left shoulder and the number five (5) on the right shoulder. The words “Left Tight End” appears in the center of the buttock at region 58. The left arm is held in a 90 degree angle with clenched fist. The right hand is planted firmly on the ground. The Left Tight End is also in a squat position with both feet spread apart.

In some cases, a wide receiver may be found as the last player on the offensive line of scrimmage. If used, then the frontal view shows the word “Wide Receiver” is centered on the chest. The Wide Receiver is in an upright sprint position with the head slightly high.

In the frontal view of FIG. 1, quarterback 60 is positioned behind the center 16 and has the word “Quarterback” printed in the middle of the chest area at region 62. He is in an upright stance with both hands extended forward in a ready position to received the football. The rear view from FIG. 2 shows the word “Quarterback” preferably positioned in the middle of his shoulder pads at region 64.

Halfback 66 is positioned behind quarterback 60 as indicated in FIG. 1 or FIG. 2. Halfback 66 will have the words “Halfback” printed preferably in the middle of the chest area of the player at region 68. Like one of the tight ends, halfback 66 will be in a three-point stance with one hand anchored to the ground. The rear view of FIG. 2 shows halfback 66 in a three (3) point stance and the word “Halfback” appears in the center of the buttock at region 70.

Fullback 72 is positioned behind quarterback 60 as indicated in FIG. 1 or FIG. 2. Fullback 72 will have the words “Fullback” preferably printed in the middle of the chest area of the player at region 74. Like several linemen as discussed earlier, fullback 72 is in a four-point stance with both hand anchored to the ground. The rear view of FIG. 2 shows fullback 72 in a four (4) point stance and the word “Fullback” appears in the center of the buttock at the region 76.

In the frontal view of FIG. 1, tailback 78 is positioned behind quarterback 60. Tailback 78 will have the words “Tailback” printed in the middle of the chest area of the player preferably at region 80. Tailback will be in a upright stance with both hands resting on its thigh pads.

In a rear view as per FIG. 2, tailback 78 in a upright stance and the word “Tailback” appears in the center of the shoulder pads at the region 82.

Referring now to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, there are seen the various models 14 used for the defensive team 13.

Defensive tackles 102 have the word “Defensive Tackle” on the center of the chest at region 104. Like several previous models 14, the right arm is held in a ninety degree angle with clenched fist and the left arm is anchored on the ground to provide a three point stance. The head is held straight with both eyes focused. The Defensive Tackle is also in a squat position.

The rear view of FIG. 4 shows the words “Defensive Tackle” on the center of the buttock at the region 106. The Defensive Tackle has both feet spread apart. Preferably two defensive ends 108 are positioned as indicated in the frontal view of FIG. 3 wherein each defensive end 108 preferably shows the word “Defensive End” on the center of the chest at region 110. Defensive end 108 is in an upright position with both hand extended forward and legs spread apart in a wide stance. The head is held straight with both eyes focused. Optionally, the right arm may held in a ninety degree angle with clenched fist while the left arm is anchored on the ground. In FIG. 4 each defensive end 108 shows the words “Defensive End” on the center of the buttock or top of the shoulder. The right arm is held in a 90 degree angle with clenched fist. The left hand is planted firmly on the ground. The Defensive End is also in a squat position with both feet spread apart.

Defensive middle linebackers 112 are positioned behind the defensive line as indicated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4. Defensive middle linebackers 112 have the word “Middle Linebacker” printed in the middle of the chest area at region 114. Defensive middle linebackers 112 are preferably in an upright stance with both hands extended forward. Rear view FIG. 4 shows the words “Middle Linebacker” printed in the middle of the shoulder pads at region 116.

In FIG. 3 a frontal view of defensive outside linebackers 118 is shown. Defensive outside linebackers 118 have the word “Outside Linebacker” printed in the middle of the chest area at region 120. They are in an upright stance with both hands extended forward. A rear view from FIG. 4 shows the words “Outside Linebacker” printed in the middle of the shoulder pads at region 122.

In FIG. 3 a frontal view of cornerbacks 122 and safety 124 is shown in a typical respective position with respect to other defensive players. These defensive players will have the word “Cornerbacks” and “Safety”, respectively, printed in the middle of the chest area at respective positions 126 and 128. In FIG. 4 a rear view is show cornerbacks 122 and safety 124 with respective labels at 130 and 132. They are in an upright stance. Cornerbacks 122 preferably have one hand extended forward and one hand resting on its thigh.

The above stances are the presently possible stances and are typical of those used for the respective positions. Should different stances be preferred, cut-outs or models players can be manufactured in those stances. The above is simply given as one possible embodiment of the invention and those skilled in the art may possibly make changes therein that are still intended to be covered by this specification, including the claims appended hereto.

FIG. 5-7 discloses some features of model 14 aside the view found thereon. In FIG. 5, a basic shape or outline is provided that may be used for models that are in the 3-point or 4-point stance discussed above. The same or preferably a taller model 14 is preferably used for those models in standing positions as noted above. Model 14 may be mounted by various types or placements of shoes or stand 150 as discussed subsequently along with other some other possible mounting techniques. A top view of model 14 in FIG. 7 and side view is shown in FIG. 8 shows that model 14 is essentially a two-dimensional figure because the width is quite small as compared to the length and breadth and images are preferably shown only on the front and back. The width will be selected for sufficient strength depending on the type of material used. Plastic, wood, or metal sheet or other materials could be used and would be selected for strength, manufacturing costs, and ease of transportation. The interior may be filled if desired with light weight material such as foam. For instance, the width may be 1 inch whereas the height is 30 to 70 inches, depending on the size players. However in the weight mounted embodiment of FIG. 13 and FIG. 14, the width may preferably be somewhat wider but still appear substantially rectangular from the side so as to form a 2-D figure. The breadth from the frontal or rear view may range approximately from 15 to 40 inches. In other words, models 14 are essentially, flat two-dimensional cut-outs for each position represented. Preferably handles are available for easy carrying and a presently inexpensive handgrip 152 is simply provided through head or upper portion 154.

FIG. 8 discloses a possible shoe or stand 150 and model foot or edge region 156 with notches or grooves 158 for slidably mating by insertion into clamp portion 160 in shoe or stand 150. In this embodiment, stakes, screws, or the like 162 may be used for securing shoe or stand 150 to the ground by insertion through holes 161, if necessary due to high winds. Shoes or stands 150 can be selected to have a substantial length (one to two feet), if desired, to typically avoid the need for stakes during normal weather conditions. As well, poles could be used with the model being mounted therebetween, if desired.

FIG. 9 discloses one possible embodiment using spring-loaded stakes 164 in shoes or stand 150. Spring-loaded stakes 164 are normally in an up position due to spring 166 but may be compressed by stepping on pad 166. At a desired depth preferably spring-loaded lock members 168 snap into a locking position to hold rods 170 in a locked or extended position. Lock members 168 could be rods, pins or other members. In this embodiment, lock members easily release by pressing on lock tabs 172 to release rod 170. Lock tabs 172 are biased by spring 174. FIG. 10 depicts a larger view of spring-loaded stakes 164. A notch or hole 180 may be used at a desired position along rods 170 into which detent or rod or catch 182 after rod 170 is extended a certain distance downwardly. As indicated in FIG. 9, to connect foot or edge 156 a spring-loaded pull down member 176 is used in this embodiment. Pull down member 176 is biased upwardly and may be pulled down and rotated ninety degrees to fit into latch groove 178.

In FIG. 11, model 14 is shown with spring-loaded stakes 168 positioned in a central portion 186 of model 14. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 12, model 14 is shown with spring-loaded stakes 168 at a more outwardly position and permanently secured to model 14. In this embodiment, one spring-loaded stake is extended such that rod 170 extends into the earth to secure model 14 in position.

FIG. 13 and FIG. 14 show another possible embodiment of the invention that includes model 214. Model 214 is shaped from the front and rear substantially the same as model 14 and embodiments thereof discussed hereinbefore. Model 214 is held in position on the field by weight 216 in base portion 218 and is also held upright thereby as discussed below. Base portion 218 may be built to include other types of weights but preferably includes chamber or section 220 formed therein that may be filled with weighting material such as sand, gravel, or the like. For this purpose, if desired, an opening may be provided in the bottom or side 223 of base portion 218 with opening means such as zipper 222 shown in FIG. 14. As well, the opening for filling could be a plug or the like that would give internal access to section 220. Although weight would add to shipping costs, model 214 could be made with the weight permanently in position, as desired.

In upper section 226, model 214 is preferably substantially filled with lightweight material such as foam or other lightweight material. An outline of foam filling is indicated by 227 that may include stitching or the like to hold material, such as vinyl or other flexible, long-lasting and durable material, in surrounding relationship to the foam interior. The foam is preferably of a type that is somewhat flexible as well as light weight, such as rubber or plastic foam. The foam can be sufficiently firm to maintain the shape of model 214 rather than depending on an external outer region therefore.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 13 and 14, the width of model 214 may tend to be wider so that sufficient weighting material can be positioned at base portion 218 for more stability. However, the width is preferably kept to a minimum to reduce storage space. Preferably the weighting material is kept as close to the ground as possible for maximum effect. Model 214 therefore is held in an upright position by gravity acting on rounded bottom 224 as a biasing element to bias model 214 into an upright position. Bottom 224 preferably is rounded and may be rounded more or less semicircularly or arc-shaped, as desired. Some flattening of the arc defined by 224 may be used to increase upright stability, if desired. Increasing stability can also be accomplished by increasing the width. The point is that Model 214 will typically preferably automatically right itself if knocked down. Thus, if contact is made, either intentionally or unintentionally, with model 214 so as to knock it down, then model 214 simply rights itself automatically as the weight acts as a biasing element, by action of gravity, that tends to urge rounded bottom 224 to center in the general region of center point 228. If model 214 is made with durable materials, then model 214 can be designed to be knocked down repeatedly as desired. The light weight upper material is preferably resiliently firm enough to maintain its shape and the weighting material in base 218 returns model 214 to an upright position each time it is knocked down.

After filling of chamber 220 with weighting material such as sand, the sand will tend to conform to bottom 224 to have a substantially semi-circular cross-section or at least an arc-shaped cross-section. A steel or lead bar or other weight might also be inserted into a smaller chamber 220 to provide the same effect and with sufficient material to support and cushion the weight. As with other embodiments, model 214 is preferably made from a durable and somewhat pliable so that contact, either accidental or purposeful, will not be harmful.

FIGS. 15, 15A, 16 and 16A disclose football player model 300 which comprises another embodiment of the invention. In addition to other features discussed hereinbefore, football player model 300 is three-dimensional and hollow with a profile that preferably gradually and/or smoothly decreases in size. In this way, multiple football player models 300 can simply be stacked on top of each other by inserting each model into the bottom of another model. This permits compact storage of the football player models. In one preferred embodiment, aperture 302 provides a convenient handgrip. Football player model 300 may also comprise flange 304 at the bottom thereof so as to be stable on a football field. If desired, flange 304 or other portions of player model 300 may be weighted for stability. Flange 304 may also be provided with holes for stakes. Flange 304 may also comprise skids, rather than purely flat surfaces as shown. Preferably, football player 300 comprises flexible synthetic material which is long-lasting and durable such as, for example only, rubber, rubber-like, or plastic materials. If desired, the numbers, names, figures and the like may be permanently formed on the surfaces of football player model 300.

In operation, an embodiment of the present invention, a method is provided to assist coaches to help little league, junior high, high school, and other football players visualize their positions (both offensive and defensive) through the use of a set of preferably twenty-two life-sized (little league to adult) durable plastic (wood, metal or other) cut-outs of uniformed players in proper position and stance for their individual positions in different offensive and defensive formations and plays. It may be sufficient for some to have silhouettes or models with the names of the positions printed thereon.

In another embodiment, preferably a method is given to provide a turn key teaching system with preferably twenty two life-size football cut-outs of various stances and positions (such as five 3 point stances, four 4-point stances, two tight ends, one quarterback, one center, and ten upright stances) that feature carrying (handle) slots, interchangeable numbers and position signs with hook and loop fasteners, such as VELCRO® fasteners or other suitable fasteners (magnetic, clamp, etc), a footing support stand, and an offensive and defensive play book.

For handling and storage, opening 154, preferably in the tops of the helmets may be used for gripping and lifting. At the end of practice, the stand may be removed and/or stacked for easy storage.

The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention is illustrative and explanatory thereof, and it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes in the size, shape and materials, as well as in the details of the illustrated construction or combinations of features of the various football teaching system elements, may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.