Title:
Lacrosse Head Netting Adjustment Mechanism
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lacrosse head includes an open frame having a throat portion for receiving a handle, a ballstop portion, a pair of opposing sidewall portions, and a scoop. The open frame includes a plurality of net attachment structures to facilitate attachment of a netting to the head. The lacrosse head also includes an adjustment mechanism disposed therein that is in communication with at least one net attachment structure to engage one or more straps of an attached netting. The adjustment mechanism is moveable between a retracted position and a securing position to allow a player to configure the pocket to meet their playing capabilities.



Inventors:
Schmidt, Joshua (Royal Oak, MI, US)
Winningham, Matthew (Royal Oak, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/670267
Publication Date:
08/02/2007
Filing Date:
02/01/2007
Assignee:
WARRIOR LACROSSE, INC. (Warren, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070191154RACQUET SPORT APPARATUS & METHODAugust, 2007Genereux et al.
20060270481Nine-Ball Billiard GameNovember, 2006Schmall
20080312010STEREOSCOPIC IMAGE CAPTURE WITH PERFORMANCE OUTCOME PREDICTION IN SPORTING ENVIRONMENTSDecember, 2008Marty et al.
20060270490Golf club head having a thin-type cover plate structureNovember, 2006Lo
20090069124BACKSTOP RETRIEVING DEVICES AND METHODS THEREOFMarch, 2009Forlini et al.
20020094890Adjustable basketball apparatusJuly, 2002White et al.
20090325733Golf balls containing ionomers and polyamines or tertiary polyamidesDecember, 2009Morken et al.
20090029798True aim putterJanuary, 2009Stellander
20090042662Club sitterFebruary, 2009Staszak
20090062031Connection for a golf club shaftMarch, 2009Holtzman
20040121862Training device for batting and pitchingJune, 2004Socci



Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARNER NORCROSS + JUDD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lacrosse head for attachment to a lacrosse handle, comprising: a throat portion for engaging the lacrosse handle; a ballstop portion; a scoop portion; a pair of opposing sidewall portions that extend generally between said throat portion and said scoop portion; a plurality of net securing mechanism formed in said ballstop portion, said pair of opposing sidewall portions, and said scoop portion for securing a netting; an adjustment mechanism communicating with at least one of said plurality of net securing mechanism and being moveable between a retracted position where a portion of said attached netting can move freely with respect to said respective net securing mechanism to allow adjustment of a pocket depth and a securing position where said portion of said attached netting is engaged by said adjustment mechanism to retain said attached netting in a fixed relationship with respect to the head.

2. The lacrosse head of claim 1, wherein said adjustment mechanism is disposed in said ballstop portion of the head.

3. The lacrosse head of claim 1, wherein said plurality of net securing mechanism consist of openings formed in the head that allow ends of string laces that form said netting to pass therethrough.

4. The lacrosse head of claim 3, wherein said adjustment mechanism consists of a plurality of screws that are each engageable with a respective one of said plurality of openings.

5. The lacrosse head of claim 4, wherein said ends of string laces are leather straps.

6. The lacrosse head of claim 5, wherein said plurality of screws can be loosened away from engagement with said leather straps to allow them to be moved with respect to said plurality of openings to adjust their length and change said pocket depth; and wherein said plurality of screws can be tightened into said securing position such that they engage said leather straps to retain said pocket depth in a fixed position.

7. The lacrosse head of claim 6, wherein said plurality of screws are disposed in said ballstop portion.

8. The lacrosse head of claim 7, wherein said plurality of screws extend at an angle generally perpendicular to an inner surface of said ballstop portion.

9. The lacrosse head of claim 4, further comprising: a tightening tool coupled to the lacrosse head, which is intended to engage the screws to move them between said retracted position and said securing position.

10. A lacrosse head for attachment to a lacrosse handle to define a handle/head axis, comprising: an open frame element including a ballstop portion, a scoop portion, and a pair of opposing sidewall portions; a throat portion extending generally rearwardly from said ballstop portion, said throat portion intended to engage the lacrosse handle; a plurality of openings formed in said frame element to facilitate attachment of a netting to the head; an adjustment mechanism in communication with a plurality of said plurality of openings, said adjustment mechanism being moveable between a retracted position and a net securing position; wherein in said retracted position, a player can adjust said netting, including a depth of a pocket; wherein in said net securing position, said adjustment mechanism extends into said plurality of openings to engage a portion of said netting that passes therethrough to retain it in a fixed position.

11. The lacrosse head of claim 10, wherein said netting consists of traditional netting with longitudinal straps that extend between said scoop portion and said ballstop portion.

12. The lacrosse head of claim 11, wherein said adjustment mechanism includes a plurality of screws that are moveable between said retracted position where said straps can move freely within said respective opening and said net securing position where said screws engage said straps to retain them in position.

13. The lacrosse head of claim 12, wherein said adjustment mechanism is disposed in said ballstop portion.

14. The lacrosse head of claim 13, wherein said adjustment mechanism consists of a screw in communication with each of said openings in said ballstop portion that is intended to receive one of said straps.

15. The lacrosse head of claim 12, further comprising: a tightening tool coupled to the lacrosse head, which is intended to engage the screws to move them between said retracted position and said securing position.

16. A lacrosse head, comprising: a throat portion for engaging a lacrosse handle; a ballstop portion; a scoop portion; a pair of opposing sidewall portions that extend generally forwardly from said throat portion to said scoop portion; a plurality of openings formed in said frame element to facilitate attachment of a netting to the head; an adjustment mechanism in communication with a plurality of said plurality of openings, and being moveable between a retracted position and a net securing position; and a tightening tool that is intended to engage said adjustment mechanism to effectuate movement between said retracted position and said net securing position.

17. The lacrosse had of claim 16, wherein said netting consists of traditional netting with longitudinal straps that extend between said scoop portion and said ballstop portion.

18. The lacrosse head of claim 17, wherein said adjustment mechanism includes a plurality of screws that are moveable between said retracted position where a player can adjust said netting including pocket depth and said net securing position wherein said adjustment mechanism engages a portion of said straps that pass through a respective one of said openings to retain it in a fixed position.

19. The lacrosse head of claim 18, wherein said adjustment mechanism is disposed in said ballstop portion.

20. The lacrosse head of claim 16, wherein said tightening tool is temporarily coupled to the head.

21. The lacrosse head of claim 16, wherein said tightening tool is coupled to a recess formed in the head.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present invention claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/764,274, filed Feb. 1, 2006, and entitled “Lacrosse Head Netting Adjustment Mechanism”, which is hereby incorporated by reference as though set forth fully herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a lacrosse head, and more particularly to a lacrosse head having a built-in adjustment system for communicating with an attached netting and allowing adjustment of the depth of a pocket formed in the netting.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Lacrosse heads for use in the game of lacrosse are well-known and take on a variety of different configurations. Current lacrosse heads are typically manufactured by injection molding processes and are secured to a lacrosse handle for use in play. The structure of current lacrosse heads is commonly defined by a ballstop portion that is disposed adjacent to the connection of the handle, a pair of opposing sidewall portions that generally extend from the ballstop portion, and a scoop portion that connects the ends of the pair of opposing sidewall portions opposite the ballstop portion. Lacrosse heads are also intended to receive a netting thereon that connects to all or some of the ballstop portion, the pair of opposing sidewall portions, and the scoop portion. The netting is intended to retain a lacrosse ball therein.

The scoop portion on current lacrosse heads has a generally smooth and planar inner surface. The smooth planar inner surface is intended to facilitate scooping of ground balls. As is also known, lacrosse heads for use by women are not allowed to have a pocket formed in the netting under some rules. As such, when the ball is thrown, passed, or shot it typically contacts the inner surface of the scoop when it is caused to exit the head.

It is also understood that certain players, besides those mandated by rules, prefer to string their lacrosse heads with shallow pockets or no pockets. This is done by a variety of different players, including quick forwards or players who desire a quicker release of the lacrosse ball and those who desire the ability to pass the ball over longer distances.

It is known that stringing a netting to a head is a labor intensive and relatively time consuming manual process. Currently, heads that are sold strung (with netting attached) typically have no pocket. Regardless, most players customize their pocket to fit their needs. However, adjustment of the stringing configuration is also a time consuming process that requires a substantial amount of stick down time. It is also relatively cumbersome and requires untying and retying knots. Because players are extremely particular about the configurations of the pocket in their lacrosse heads, once they have the pocket configured in a certain manner, they want it to remain in that configuration for as long as possible. This is because the pocket depth and configuration provide certain performance characteristics.

One proposed solution to this problem with netting adjustability involved a lacrosse head having a bar at the underside of the frame that was moveable between an open position and a closed position. In the open position, the length of the netting straps and thus the depth of the pocket could be adjusted by the player. In the closed position, the bar engaged the netting straps to keep them in position. However, the bar did not sufficiently retain the straps in the player-desired position as the straps slipped during play, and thus the pocket configuration did not remain fixed. Thus, currently, there is no mechanism that allows for easy adjustment of a netting once it is secured to the head and also retains the netting in that position once adjusted.

It would therefore be desirable to provide a fast and easy system to allow adjustment of the netting and pocket of a lacrosse head once attached to the head. It would also be desirable to provide a system that allows a player to adjust the configuration of the netting including the pocket depth, with little or no down time for the particular lacrosse head. It would further be desirable to provide such a system that, once adjusted, would retain that stringing in the desired position for long periods of time until otherwise dictated by the player.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a lacrosse head with an adjustment mechanism that allows a netting to be quickly and easily adjusted once attached to the head.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a lacrosse head with an adjustment mechanism that allows a player to adjust the depth of the pocket and be retained in that position until adjusted again by the player.

It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide a lacrosse head with an adjustment mechanism that allows a player to adjust the depth of a pocket and therefore provide different playing characteristics.

It is still another advantage of the present invention to provide a lacrosse head with an adjustment mechanism that allows the depth of a pocket to be quickly adjusted during play without having to unstring the head and without having to untie and retie knots.

In accordance with the above and the other advantages of the present invention, a lacrosse head is provided. The lacrosse head includes an open frame having a throat portion for receiving a handle, a ballstop portion, a pair of opposing sidewall portions, and a scoop. The open frame includes a plurality of net attachment structures to facilitate attachment of a netting to the head. The lacrosse head also includes an adjustment mechanism disposed therein that is in communication with at least one net attachment structure to engage one or more straps of the netting that communicates therewith. The adjustment mechanism can be moved between a retracted position and a securing position. In the retracted position, the straps can freely move with respect to the net attachment structures to allow adjustment of their lengths and thus the depth of the pocket. In the securing position, the straps are retained in position and prevented from moving to fix the netting in the player-desired configuration.

Other advantages of the present invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the detailed description of the preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the attached drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a lacrosse head with a netting adjustment mechanism retaining the netting in a configuration with a deep pocket in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a lacrosse head with the adjustment mechanism retaining the netting in a configuration with a shallower pocket in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a lacrosse head with a netting adjustment mechanism in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the lacrosse head of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the lacrosse head of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the lacrosse head of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an end view of the netting adjustment mechanism in a retracted position, which allows adjustment of a netting, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the netting adjustment mechanism of FIG. 2 in the direction of the arrows 8, shown in a securing position, which retains the netting in a fixed position;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a netting adjustment mechanism in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a top view of the netting attachment mechanism of FIG. 7; and

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a tool for engaging a netting adjustment in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFFERED EMBODIMENTS

In the following figures, the same reference numerals are used to identify the same components in the various views.

Referring primarily to FIGS. 1 through 7, which generally illustrate views of a lacrosse head 10 in accordance with the present invention with a mechanism that allows quick and easy adjustment of a netting that is attached to the head to vary the pocket configuration and/or depth. The lacrosse head 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-2, includes a pocket 12, the depth of which can be adjusted, according to one embodiment of the present invention. For purposes of illustration, FIG. 1 illustrates the lacrosse head 10 with a deep pocket 12 formed in the attached netting 30. In accordance with one embodiment, the attached netting 30 can be adjusted such that the depth of the pocket 12 is reduced from the depth shown in FIG. 1 to a shallower depth, as shown in FIG. 2. It will be understood that the mechanism of the present invention allows the depth of the pocket 12 to be adjusted to a variety of different heights and configurations as desired by a player and still fall within the scope of the present invention.

As best illustrated in FIG. 3, the lacrosse head 10 includes a pair of opposing sidewall portions 14, a scoop portion 16 extending between the top ends of the sidewall portions 14, and a ballstop portion 18 disposed opposite the scoop portion 16. The pair of opposing sidewall portions 14, the scoop portion 16, and the ballstop portion 18 together form a unitary frame. The frame has an upper portion that defines a ball receiving portion 40 where the ball enters and exits the frame and a ball retention portion 42 opposite the ball receiving portion. The lacrosse head 10, as best shown in FIG. 1, also includes a plurality of net attachment structures 22 that facilitate attachment of the netting 30 to the head 10.

In the illustrated embodiment, the net attachment structures 22 are preferably openings that allow the netting 30 to pass therethrough to facilitate attachment to the head 10. It will be understood that the net attachment structures 22 can take on a variety of different configurations. The net attachment structures 22 are preferably formed in the ball retention portion of the head 10, as best shown in FIGS. 3 and 5. The lacrosse head 10 also includes a throat portion 20 that extends rearwardly from the ballstop portion 18 for engagement with a handle. It will be understood that the handle can be attached and secured to the head 10 in a variety of different ways. The head 10 and handle together form a lacrosse stick. The lacrosse head 10 is preferably constructed of a plastic material, such as through an injection molding process. However, the lacrosse head 10 can be formed of other materials, such as composites, and can be formed by other suitable processes.

In accordance with the present invention, and as shown in FIGS. 6 through 8, the lacrosse head 10 includes a netting adjustment mechanism 24. The netting adjustment mechanism 24 allows the netting 30 to be adjusted after it has been secured to the head 10 to change the depth and configuration of the pocket 12. The netting adjustment mechanism 24 allows a player to easily adjust the netting 30, such as during a game and does not require the untying and retying of knots to effectuate adjustment as is currently required. Further, once the netting 30 is adjusted to the player's desired configuration, including depth and location of the pocket 12, the netting adjustment mechanism 24 firmly retains the netting 30 in that configuration.

In accordance with one embodiment shown in the FIGS. 6 through 8, the netting adjustment mechanism 24 includes a plurality of screws 26 disposed in the bottom side or ball retention portion 42 of the ballstop portion 18. Specifically, as shown, the plurality of screws 26 are disposed in the head 10 such as in pretapped or predrilled openings. Alternatively, the plurality of screws 26 can be manually inserted into the head 10 after it has been formed. The plurality of screws 26 are moveable between a retracted position and a securing position. In the retracted position, shown in FIG. 7, the screws 26 are moved downwardly (toward the ball retention portion 42) such that they do not extend into the openings 22 the respective leather straps 28 of the netting 30 as is present in traditional netting or stringing. When the screws 26 are loosened or retracted, they are disposed entirely, or almost entirely, with the plastic and allow the respective leather straps 28 to slide freely. In the securing position, as shown in FIG. 8, the screws 26 engage the straps 28 to retain them and thus the netting 30 in position. When the screws 26 are tightened, they extend into the openings 22.

The screws 26 are preferably set screws that can be tightened or loosened by a player for adjustment of the configuration of the netting 30 and the pocket 12. By loosening the screws 26 away from engagement with the straps 28, the length of the leather straps 28 can be increased to make the pocket 12 in the head 10 deeper or can be shortened to make the pocket 12 shallower. Once the pocket 12 has been adjusted to the desired depth and configuration as dictated by a player, the screws 26 can then be tightened such that they engage the leather straps 28 to secure them in place.

As shown in FIG. 8, the netting adjustment mechanism 24 consists of four screws 26. Each of the screws 26 can be individually adjusted to each engage and secure a respective leather strap 28. Further, because the screws 26 have a wide range of travel, it allows the netting adjustment mechanism 24 to accommodate straps 28 of different thickness and different characteristics and still secure and retain them. This provides adjustment flexibility that is not present in prior heads 10. While the netting adjustment mechanism 24 preferably consists of four screws 26, more or less screws may be utilized. Further, while the screws 26 are preferably individually adjustable, it will be understood that they can be configured to be retracted and secured as a single unit.

The netting adjustment mechanism 24 is preferably disposed in the ballstop portion 18. However, it will be understood that the net adjustment mechanism 24 may alternatively be disposed in other portions of the head 10, including the scoop portion 16 or the sidewall portions 14. The netting adjustment mechanism 24 can also be formed in multiple portions of the head 10 to provide increased adjustment capabilities. If disposed in the sidewall portions for example, the netting mechanism 24 communicates with laces instead of straps.

In FIG. 6, the screws 26 preferably are integral parts of the ballstop portion 18 of the lacrosse head 10, but may be otherwise, as desired. It will be understood that the screws 26 may be selectively positioned along certain advantageous portions of the ballstop portion 18, such as the inner surface 32, which primarily contacts the lacrosse ball. The screws 26 may be elevated with respect to the bottom surface of the head 10 or may be inset therein, such that they are flush therewith. It will be understood that instead of screws, other suitable securing mechanism may be utilized.

Typically, either a traditional pocket 12 (as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) or a mesh pocket extends between and is supported by the sidewall portions 14, the scoop portion 16, and the ballstop portion 18 for retaining a lacrosse ball within the head 10. Obviously, pockets made from other materials and attached in a variety of ways may be utilized. It will be understood that a variety of different types of nettings may be utilized. As discussed above, the netting 30 preferably is adjustable to change the depth and configuration of the pocket 12 to allow for various types of ball release and various lengths of distance throws. Fast break lacrosse players typically adjust their pocket depth accordingly for enabling these results.

Moreover, it is known in the art that women's lacrosse heads also typically have pockets with shallower depths, as is regulated by rule. However, it is understood that players may desire or require lacrosse heads having pockets of shallow depth for a variety of different reasons. Further, players may have different lacrosse heads having varying pocket depths depending upon what position they play. The adjustment mechanism 24 of the present invention would allow a player to adjust the pocket 12 depth quickly—such as during a game—without the need for multiple lacrosse heads or without the need to untie knots to loosen the laces and then retie them, which is a cumbersome process.

Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, an embodiment of the screws 26 is illustrated. It is understood that numerous numbers of screws 26 having the same or similar configurations are embodied herein, as will be understood by one skilled in the art. The screw 26 defines a generally octagonal tightening opening 34. However, numerous shapes of tightening areas, are also embodied herein, such as Phillips and flat-head screwdriver tightening slots. In one embodiment, the screws 26 are tightened with a tightening tool 36, such as an Allen wrench which is shown in FIG. 10. Important to note is that various other embodiments of a tool for tightening are also included herein, such as standard wrenches or screwdrivers. The screws 26 may be off the shelf or custom stainless steel heat treated course thread screws. However, it will be understood that a variety of different types of screws or other securing mechanism may also be utilized.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment, the tightening tool 36 is sold with the lacrosse head 10 and is secured thereto by a strap 38 or the like, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4-6. The tightening tool 36 can also be fit at or near the ballstop portion 18 in an integral holder (not shown), which is embodied as a groove molded into the head 10. It will also be understood that the tightening tool 36 can be located anywhere on the head 10, including the sidewall portion 14, the throat portion 20, the scoop portion 16 or the ball portion 18. Alternatively, the tightening tool 36 may be sold and/or stored separately from the head. The tightening tool 36 engages the tightening opening 34 and allows the screws 26 to be rotated between the retracted position and the securing position.

In another embodiment, a netting adjustment mechanism 24 is fixedly or removably coupled to the head 10. In this embodiment, the netting adjustment mechanism 24 is utilized to clamp or sandwich the straps 28 of the pocket 12 between the removable adjustment mechanism 24 and the ballstop portion 18. In yet another embodiment, the screws 26 define openings therein, such that straps 28 from the netting 30 are fed therein. In accordance with this embodiment, the screws 26 are tightened within the head 10 and, rather than clamping the strings at a bottom or end of the screws 26, the screws 26 clamp the strings between the plastic of the head 10 and the openings in the side or middle of the screws.

Having now fully described the invention, it will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that many changes and modifications can be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as set forth in the appending claims.