Title:
Compact Comprehensive Golf Swing Practice Aid and Method of Use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The training aid of this invention is a comprehensive golf practice aid, designed to be used by any golfer, using any club, at indoor or outdoor practice venues, with or without the aid of an instructor, to learn and improve most aspects of the golf swing. The invention comprises an aiming arm that serves as a reference for learning and correcting player position relative to ball and target. The invention uses a plurality of break-beam type sensors to detect club movement. The device gives sensory cues to assist the user in adjusting and perfecting swing tempo. The device also measures club speed between fixed points, and assists the user in adjusting and perfecting swing speed by providing a visual representation of changes in speed from swing to swing. During the swing, the training aid can produce a high intensity ultra short duration burst of ultraviolet (UV) energy, invisible to the naked eye, which is focused on the hitting area. The UV burst can be selectively triggered by any of the break-beams. This UV pulse source is used in conjunction with certain matter applied to or incorporated into the club, and which fluoresces brightly under ultraviolet energy. The UV pulse highlights and “freezes” an image of only the club head and ball, which is retained on the user's retina for only an instant, without lighting the surrounding area and without distracting nearby golfers. By this using this device and method, the user can see the position and orientation of the club head in relation to the ball at a selected point during the swing. This training aid may be adapted for use with other sports.



Inventors:
Humphrey, Robert John (Coronado, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/277234
Publication Date:
09/27/2007
Filing Date:
03/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
YOO, JASSON H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MASTERMIND IP LAW PC (WALNUT, CA, US)
Claims:
1. I An athletic training aid for use with at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy comprising: a) electrical energy; b) at least one break beam formed from at least one pair of signal source and signal sensor; C) at least one ultraviolet energy source for providing ultraviolet energy to a designated area proximal to said at least one break beam; and d) at least one triggering mechanism for activating said ultraviolet energy source; said triggering mechanism prompted by disruption of said at least one break beam: whereby said at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy is in said designated area when said at least one ultraviolet energy source is activated.

2. The athletic training aid of claim 1, further comprising a stance/target reference arm, said stance/target reference am being pointed at a pre-selected target and situated to form delineation between a user and said athletic training aid.

3. The athletic training aid of claim 1, further comprising a tempo cue generator for producing a tempo cue, said tempo cue generator being activated by disruption of said at least one break beam.

4. The athletic training aid of claim 3, wherein said tempo cue comprises a sensory signal selected from the group consisting of sight, sound and somatosense.

5. The athletic training aid of claim 1, further comprising a component for recording speed of said at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy.

6. Tee athletic training aid of claim 5, wherein said component records speed of at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy across at least two break beams.

7. The athletic training aid of claim 1, further comprising locator marks to indicate correct positioning of said at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy.

8. The athletic training aid of claim 1, further comprising at least one laser module, wherein said at least one laser module generates at least one laser beam onto said designated area.

9. The athletic training aid of claim 3, wherein emission of said tempo cue after said disruption of said at least one break beam is variable as to speed.

10. The athletic training aid of claim 1, further comprising at least one mirror for reflecting at least said UV energy onto said designated area.

11. The athletic training aid of claim 1, wherein said at least one break beam is formed from at least one laser signal source/sensor pair.

12. The athletic training aid of claim 1, wherein said at least one break beam is formed from at least one infrared light emitting diode signal source/sensor pair.

13. The athletic training aid of claim 2, wherein said stance/target reference arm further comprises at least one laser that is part of a signal source/sensor pair.

14. The athletic training aid of claim 2, wherein said stance/target reference arm further comprises at least one infrared light emitting diode that is part of a signal source/sensor pair.

15. The athletic training aid of claim 2, wherein said stance/target reference arm is situated parallel to the line from said user to said pre-selected target.

16. An athletic training aid for use with at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy comprising: a) means for providing electrical energy; b) means for creating at least one break beam; c) means for providing ultraviolet energy to a designated area proximal to said at least one break beam; and d) means for activating said means for providing ultraviolet energy, said means for activating being triggered by disruption of said at least one break beam; whereby said at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy is in said designated area when said means for providing ultraviolet energy is activated.

17. The athletic training aid of claim 16, wherein said at least one break beam is created from at least one signal source/sensor pair, said pair being selected from the group consisting of lasers, infrared and combinations thereof.

18. The athletic training aid of claim 16, further comprising means for providing a fixed reference to a user, said fixed reference being situated parallel to a target line.

19. The athletic training aid of claim 16, further comprising means for generating a tempo cue, said means being activated by disruption of said at least one break beam.

20. The athletic training aid of claim 19, wherein said tempo cue comprises a sensory signal selected from the group consisting of sight, sound, somatosense and combinations thereof.

21. The athletic training aid of claim 16, further comprising means for recording speed of said at least one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy.

22. The athletic training aid of claim 21, wherein said means for recording speed records speed of at least one object across at least two break beams.

23. The athletic training aid of claim 16, further comprising means for indicating correct positioning of said one object capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy.

24. The athletic training aid of claim 16, further comprising means for generating at least one laser beam onto said designated area.

25. The athletic training aid of claim 19, further comprising means for varying speed of tempo cue emission after said disruption of said at least one break beam.

26. The athletic training aid of claim 16, further comprising means for reflecting at least said ultraviolet energy onto said designated area.

27. A method of athletic training comprising: a) moving a striking implement capable of fluorescing under ultraviolet energy across at least one break beam, said moving resulting in activation of ultraviolet energy directed at said striking implement; and b) visually observing said striking implement as it fluoresces.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein said athletic training is golf training.

29. The method of claim 28, comprising using at least three break beams.

30. The method of claim 29, further comprising the use of a stance/target reference arm situated parallel to a line between a user and a pre-determined target.

31. The method of claim 30, further comprising standing parallel to and facing said stance/target reference arm, opposite said break beams.

32. The method of claim 31, further comprising moving said striking implement across at least two adjacent break beams in a first direction during a backswing, followed by moving said striking implement in an opposite second direction across at least three break beams during a downswing.

33. The method of claim 32, further comprising activating a tempo cue by said movement of said striking implement across at least two break beams.

34. The method of claim 33, further comprising adjusting speed of said tempo cue after said movement of said striking implement across at least two break beams.

35. The method of claim 33, further comprising practicing said movement of said striking implement such that said tempo cue routinely occurs at transition from backswing to downswing.

36. The method of claim 32, further comprising selecting a single break beam for triggering activation of said ultraviolet energy.

37. The method of claim 27, further comprising measuring speed of downswing across at least two break beams.

38. The method of claim 37, further comprising delay of ultraviolet energy activation by one half said speed of downswing across at least two break beams.

39. The method of claim 19, further comprising use of items selected from the group consisting of tee, ball, hitting mat, fluorescent matter, photographic equipment, video equipment, speed measuring devices, acceleration measuring devices, and combinations thereof.

40. The method of claim 27, wherein a ball is placed in optimal path of said downswing of said striking implement.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The flight path of the ball is the measure of success in any golf shot. That path is the direct result of a series of physical actions that are mastered by practice. Slowed video analysis is the best way to clearly see all the complex actions that take place during a golf swing. Such analysis does not improve the swing of the subject; it only helps determine what needs improvement through practice. Many devices have been invented to help golfers improve their play by helping them improve their practice. Most of these devices are impractical to use when actually practicing hitting golf balls. Inventions that require modification of the user's club, or that require complex attachments to the club, are not practical for practicing the subject's natural golf swing. Practice aids that are intrusive to the golfer's routine or to other golfers in the vicinity are also impractical. An optimal training aid would allow the golfer to use unmodified, regulation equipment at the normal place and in the normal manner, and would provide simple, real-time feedback to the golfer relative to his entire swing, from setup to impact with the ball.

Popular practice aids help the golfer work on one or two aspects of the swing. The entire swing, including setup, tempo and the club position at impact, together with the club head shape, speed, and path of approach, determine the results of the shot. An important part of any golf shot, the actual impact of the club on the ball, even during the softest short shots, is too quick for the human eye to see. One way to learn what happened at impact is by using aids that provide feedback after the fact, such as video recordings or “sweet spot” coatings that leave an impact mark on the club face for subsequent analysis. Other training devices are used in an attempt to help the golfer perceive what happens at impact with flashes of bright lights that affect the entire practice area. They are intrusive to other golfers and fail to provide the user with a clear isolated image of the club head and ball at the point of impact. No comprehensive, practical, unobtrusive device has yet been developed that allows a golfer, using unmodified equipment in a natural setting, to obtain simple real-time feedback on all the important aspects of the swing: address position relative to the ball and target line, swing tempo, swing plane, club head position and angle at impact, and club head speed.

The training aid of this invention is a compact, portable, comprehensive golf practice aid, designed to be used by any golfer, using any club, at indoor or outdoor practice venues, with or without the aid of an instructor, to learn and improve most aspects of the golf swing. The invention uses sensors to detect transmissions emitted from a stance/target reference bar, producing a plurality of narrow fast response break-beam type sensors to detect club position and motion. The stance/target reference bar serves as a reference for the user to position his or her feet relative to the ball and target. After detecting the start of a backswing, the device emits an adjustable sensory cue to assist the user in perfecting the tempo of the swing. During the swing, the training aid can produce a high intensity ultra short duration burst of ultraviolet (UV) energy, invisible to the naked eye, which is focused on the hitting area. The UV burst can be selectively triggered by any of the break-beams. This UV pulse source is used in conjunction with certain materials located on the face and/or upper surface portions of the club head, and which fluoresce brightly under ultraviolet energy. The UV pulse highlights and “freezes” an image of only the club head and ball, which is retained on the user's retina for only an instant, without lighting the surrounding area and without distracting nearby golfers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the invention in the right-handed configuration.

FIG. 2 is a view of one embodiment of the invention from the right-handed user's perspective.

FIG. 3 is an example of one embodiment of the Control Panel from the right-handed user's perspective.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Throughout this specification, the terms “a” and “an” and variations thereof represent the phrase “at least one.” In all cases, the terms “comprising”, “comprises” and any variations thereof should not be interpreted as being limitative to the elements listed thereafter. Unless otherwise specified in the description, all words used herein carry their common meaning as understood by a person having ordinary skill in the art. In cases where examples are listed, it is to be understood that combinations of any of the alternative examples are also envisioned. The scope of the invention is not to be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed herein, which serve merely as examples representative of the limitations recited in the issued claims resulting from this application, and the equivalents of those limitations.

All components for the training aid may be configured to accommodate both left-and right-handed users, and should be construed merely as design preferences in their placements. The training aid may comprise a main body (1) for housing or supporting components. In one embodiment, the main body comprises a top and opposing bottom, two opposing ends, and two opposing sides. The main body may be comprised of any suitable durable, rigid material or combination of materials which are readily apparent to any person having skill in the art. Examples of appropriate materials include, but are not limited to woods, metals, plastics, fiberglass, resins, and the like. The main body may have one or more optional components (not shown) attached to the bottom for stabilizing the training aid on uneven surfaces. Stabilizing components may include, for example, pegs, wheels, castors, feet or legs which may further optionally retract, extend, or adjust independently to multiple lengths. In one embodiment, the main body may be formed into a permanent or semi-permanent structure such as a concrete enclosure or wall.

The training aid comprises a moveable stance/target reference arm (2) comprised of any suitable durable material or combination of materials which are readily apparent to any person having skill in the art. Suitable materials include, but are not limited to metals, plastics, fiberglass, resins, and the like. The stance/target reference arm (2) is capable of forming delineation between the user and the main body (1), as illustrated in FIG. 1, and is aligned with the target area direction (22). It provides a reference for observing and adjusting the user stance position (30) and the user stance angle (31). The stance/target reference arm (2) is attached to the main body (1) by any suitable means capable of holding it in the design location relative to the main body (1), which would be readily apparent to any person having skill in the art. In one embodiment, it is attached by employing, for example, a rotating cylinder and sleeve mechanism such that the arm may freely rotate from one side of the main body to the other, in order to accommodate both left- and right-handed hitters. In another embodiment, a ball joint mechanism may be used. In another embodiment, it may be attached by employing, for example, a cord. In another embodiment, the stance/target reference arm (2) is detachable. In yet another embodiment, the stance/target reference arm (2) may telescope to a shorter configuration for storage and/or may optionally rest in one or more optional holders (16) attached to the main body (1) for storage when not in use. In another embodiment, the stance/target reference arm may be secured in the one or more holders (16) in order to operate additionally as a carrying handle for portable models. Where the main body (1) is a permanent or large structure, the stance/target reference arm (2) may be folded into an optional storage recess located in the structure. In another embodiment, one or more optional carrying handles are connected to the main body (1), preferably at the top and /or at either or both ends.

The stance/target reference arm (2) comprises a plurality of signal sources (3, 4, 5), positioned such that the signals emitted may be detected by an equal number of sensors (not shown). The signal source/sensor pairs may be formed by any means readily apparent to a person having ordinary skill in the art. Examples of signal source/sensor means include, but are not limited to lasers and infrared (IR) light emitting diodes (LED). In one embodiment, the sensors are positioned inside the main body (1), for example, and may be in alignment with signal sources (3, 4, 5) through sensor openings (6, 7, 8) in the main body (1). In one embodiment, three such alignments of IR signal sources (3, 4, 5) and sensors are employed, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, although different numbers of signal source/sensor pairs may be employed. Each signal source/sensor pair functions to create a line of sight, fast response IR break-beam (9, 10, 11). In a preferred embodiment, three sensor openings (6, 7, 8) are employed on each side of the main body (1), as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 (only one side is visible in these views), to accommodate for the configurations of the stance/target reference arm (2) and associated IR signal sources (3, 4, 5) when in the right-handed position, as well as when in the left-handed position (15). It should be understood that alternative embodiments exist in which the stance/target reference arm (2) and main body (1) are configured such that the sensor openings (6, 7, 8) may be present only on one side of the main body (1). In an alternate embodiment, the sensor openings (6, 7, 8) may be located on the top of the main body (1) incorporating use of a mirror (not shown) attached to the underside of a mirror hood (17) in order to direct the signal sources (3, 4, 5) to the sensors (not shown) in the main body (1). Alternative configurations are readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art and are merely design options. As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, the IR break-beams (9, 10, 11) may be characterized in their proximity to the ball location, for example, where a first beam (9) is nearest the ball, an additional beam (10) is a greater distance from the ball than is the first beam (9), and another beam (11) is the greatest distance from the ball.

The signal source/sensor pairs may optionally be associated with one or more LEDs or status lights (12, 13, 14), that may be set to illuminate or extinguish when the beam is broken, for example, by the movement of a golf club through the beam. The status lights (12, 13, 14) may appear the same or different, such as in the use of multiple colors. As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, status lights (12, 13, 14) are optionally situated above the sensor openings (6, 7, 8). It should be appreciated that other configurations serving the same function could easily be designed by any person having ordinary skill in the art.

The main body (1) comprises at least one variable, short duration, high-intensity ultraviolet (UV) energy source (19). Suitable energy sources are readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art and include, but are not limited to an array of UV emitting LEDs, or a single or group of filtered flash tubes and the like. The UV energy source (19) is directed to the hitting area (20) via any suitable configuration. In one embodiment, as depicted in FIG. 1, an optional mirror (not shown) is attached to the underside of a movable mirror hood (17) and is positioned to reflect a vertically configured UV energy source (19) onto the hitting area (20). In this embodiment, the mirror hood (17) may be movable to a left-handed mirror hood position (18). It should be appreciated that other means and methods for directing the UV energy source (19) onto the hitting area (20) are readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art. Suitable means include, but are not limited to use of light pipes, lenses, prisms, reflectors, or different positioning of the UV energy source (19). In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, the holders (16) optionally form a support for the mirror hood (17).

The training aid may optionally comprise a tone generator (not shown) and/or other sensory cue that may be programmed to provide feedback to the user at any time after the beginning of the backswing, for example, as detected by the club passing certain break beams (10, 11), for the purpose of swing tempo training. The selection of additional sensory cues would be readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art. Examples of sensory cues may include, but are not limited to visual cues such as a flash of light or an illuminated indicator, and somatosensory cues such as a puff of air directed at the user.

The training aid may optionally comprise ball locater marks (24), for example on the stance/target reference arm (2), to assist the user in optimal placement of the ball at the ball/tee location (26). In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, the ball locater marks (24) are situated such that imaginary vertical and horizontal extensions of the marks away from the stance/target reference arm (2) intersect at the proper ball/tee location (26). An optional visible indicator, such as a laser cross beam (27) may be used to facilitate proper placement of the ball at the desired ball/tee location (26). The visible indicator may be formed by any suitable means and position readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art. For example, it may be formed from laser beams emitted from the stance/target reference arm (2) at the ball locater mark (24) position as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. In the illustrated embodiment, a laser cross beam generator (not shown) may be located within the main body (1) and projects a laser cross beam (27) to the proper position via a mirror (not shown) attached to the underside of a mirror hood (17). In another embodiment, a laser generator may project a cross beam directly onto the proper position through an opening in the main body (1).

The training aid may be powered electrically by any conventional means, obvious to any person having ordinary skill in the art. The power supply may be corded or cordless. In one embodiment, for example, the training aid is powered by one or more batteries, which may be rechargeable, such as by a modular charger plugged into a conventional AC power circuit. In another embodiment, for example, the training aid may be charged from a vehicle power output, such as a cigarette lighter. In another embodiment, the training aid may be directly connected to a conventional AC power circuit. In yet another embodiment, optional solar panels may be situated on, or integrated with the main body (1). Other embodiments should be readily apparent. The training aid may optionally comprise a power switch (23) and/or power indicator light (25) and/or charge level indicator (39). In one embodiment, a battery charge level indicator (39) illuminates when the batteries are fully charged or have low charge. Optionally, it utilizes one or more colors, such as green, yellow and red to indicate varying levels of battery charge. In another embodiment, it comprises a meter that displays relative charge from high to low or as a percentage.

The training aid comprises controls for adjusting operating modes and options. Optionally, the training aid comprises a control panel (21). In a preferred embodiment, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, the control panel (21) is located on the top of the main body (1) for optimal viewing by the user. FIG. 3 depicts one embodiment of the invention, showing optional controls including a tempo cue selector switch (28), tempo speed dial (29), image mode selector (32), brightness selector switch (36), set speed momentary toggle switch (37), power switch (23), and charge level indicator (39). Other controls and/or displays may be utilized and would be readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art. Examples include, but are not limited to cue type selection, club head speed readout, multiple images, and the like.

The UV energy source (19) of the training aid is designed to work in conjunction with matter applied to, or integrated with the face and/or upper surface of the club head, such as coatings, paints, dyes, preferably washable, and/or material, tape and the like, which fluoresces brightly under UV energy. The fluorescent matter may be visible or invisible in normal light. A preferred fluorescent matter is Sur-Swing™ Impact Paint, which not only fluoresces under UV energy, but has the added benefit of also allowing the ball to leave an impression in the surface of the paint showing the point of impact for subsequent analysis. In an alternate embodiment, the club may be manufactured using material that fluoresces under UV energy such that no additional matter need be applied. In yet another embodiment, a golf ball employing fluorescent material may be used as well.

The UV energy source (19) may be programmed to automatically energize briefly when one of the break beams (9, 10, 11) is broken, causing the fluorescent material in or on the club to fluoresce. Such fluorescence results in an image that is briefly “frozen” on the user's retinas, and which stands out clearly from the background at the selected image location (33, 34, 35). By selecting an image location (33, 34, 35) associated with the corresponding break beam (9, 10, 11), the image of the club at the position that best reveals the swing flaw attempting to be remedied may easily be seen by the user as the club head approaches or strikes the ball.

Optional components may be used with or integrated into to the training aid, which are readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art. Examples include, but are not limited to photographic and video equipment, speed and acceleration measurement components, tees, balls, hitting mats, and the like. In one embodiment, a hitting mat comprising visible markings may be utilized in the hitting area (20). In another embodiment, a hitting mat employing a fluorescent material may be utilized such that the application of UV energy from the training aid results in the markings becoming visible.

It should be appreciated that the invention is capable of many embodiments and corresponding uses. It is not necessary that the training aid incorporate all possible embodiments or for the user to perform all possible uses in order to benefit from the invention. The following sections illustrate some of the many uses that may be used individually or in conjunction with one another.

The stance/target reference arm (2) should be situated between the user and the main body (1) in the proper left- or right-handed configuration such that it is pointed directly at the desired target and is parallel to the main body (1) so as to align the signal source/sensor pairs. The training aid should be receiving electrical power from the desired source, and the “on” indicator, if present, indicating such. If the training aid comprises status lights (12, 13, 14), correct operation of the break beams (9, 10, 11) may be verified by momentarily blocking each one and observing the associated status lights (12, 13, 14) for change. All adjustable components, if present, should be situated for proper left- or right-handed configuration, for example, the stance/target reference arm (2) and mirror hood (17). If a hitting mat having a fixed tee position is employed, the training aid should be set up such that the ball/tee location (26) coincides with the fixed tee position on the mat. In one embodiment, an optional laser cross beam (27) may be configured to automatically initiate, for example, by blocking a designated break beam (9, 10, 11) for two or more seconds.

The user may select a desired sensory tempo cue, if more than one cue type is provided, and also adjust the cue type, if necessary. For example, where an audible cue is provided, the user may optionally adjust the cue to varying levels of sound. In the illustrated embodiment, adjustment may be performed with the tempo cue selector switch (28). It should be appreciated that other sensory cues may be employed, for example, visual cues, such as light, or somatosensory cues, such as a puff of air. In one embodiment, the tempo cue may be configured such that the laser cross beam (27) temporarily illuminates as the cue.

The user may select a tempo speed with which to commence training. The user should take a stance position (30) and stance angle (31) in alignment to the stance/target reference arm (2), as depicted in FIG. 2, for example. In one embodiment, the start of the user's backswing across break beams (10, 11) activates a tempo cue after a slight delay, for example, an audible tone emitted from a tone generator (not shown). Regardless of the tempo cue utilized, the user may adjust the tempo speed such that the cue coincides with the hesitation during the transition from the user's backswing to downswing. The user may use the desired tempo during practice in order to develop a uniform swing tempo.

An optional power indicator light (25) may be programmed to indicate that the unit is ready to produce full power UV energy and that all sensors are working properly. The UV energy source (19) may be programmed to automatically energize briefly when the club passes through and breaks a particular break beam (9, 10, 11) during the downswing. The selected beam may be designated, for example, by making a selection with an image mode selector (32), as depicted in FIG. 3. When UV energy excites the fluorescent matter present in or on the club head, the exact club head position briefly appears “frozen” on the user's retinas as an image that stands out clearly from the background at the selected image location (33, 34, 35), which corresponds to the break beams (9, 10, 11). Each image location (33, 34, 35) provides unique information as to the user's swing and club position as the club approaches or impacts the ball, and may be selected to best reveal the flaw that the user is attempting to correct.

The brightness of the UV energy source may optionally be adjusted depending on the ambient light levels and other parameters, such as the user's preferences. As depicted in FIG. 3, an optional brightness selector switch (36), may operate to adjust the amount of UV energy applied to the hitting area (20), and therefore affecting the resulting degree of brightness of the fluorescing image.

In one embodiment, the training aid may display club head speed by comparing subsequent swings to a user established standard. As depicted in FIG. 3, for example, a “set speed momentary toggle switch” (37) may be activated, after which the speed of the next swing is measured as the standard. The training aid may then electronically record the time between the club crossing two break beams (9, 10) during a downswing. Future UV energy triggers can be delayed for one half of that recorded time resulting in a user established standard. Every swing thereafter that is the same speed as that used to create the standard results in an image at the same position between the break beams (9, 10) as depicted, for example, in FIG. 2 as the speed measurement image location (38). Swings faster than the standard result in an image that appears closer to the ball/tee location (26), whereas slower swings result in an image that appears farther from the ball/tee location (26). In one embodiment, depicted in FIG. 3 for example, a “set speed momentary toggle switch” (37) is located on the control panel (21). Once the switch has been activated, the speed of the next swing is recorded for use as the standard. In one embodiment, after the switch has been activated, the power indicator light (25) may blink, thus alerting the user that the next swing speed will be recorded. As the user develops a desired improvement in swing speed, as indicated by changes in the “frozen” image relative to the speed measurement image location (38), the user may re-record the standard swing speed for further practice and improvement. Additional speed related image delay routines may be included.

While the foregoing description relates mainly to the sport of golf, it should be appreciated that the concepts described herein may be transferred to other sports in which an implement is used to strike an object, which are readily apparent to any person having ordinary skill in the art. Minor adjustments to the training aid to accommodate a particular sport may be necessary and are obvious modifications of this general theme. Examples of sports for which the training aid may be adapted for use include, but are not limited to t-ball, baseball, whiffle ball, softball, cricket, tennis, squash, racquet ball, badminton, ping pong, paddle ball, hockey, billiards, polo, football place kicking, and the like.