Title:
Bunt master
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The main features of this invention are the patented finger grips and the catching net. The finger grips are designed to provide consistent hand/finger placement on the bat while bunting. The net enables the individual who is bunting to receive instant feedback as to the success or failure of the bunt. If the bunt is successful, the batter will have caught the ball in the net. The bat's weight and length are the same as used in the game of baseball. As the batter continues to improve with this invention, their muscle memory will develop making them a better bunter. Since the bat uses plastic balls, the net also allows the bat to be used indoors without increased risk of household damage. The net can also hold several small plastic balls simultaneously which will save time and increase the number of practice bunts a player can take in a desired time.



Inventors:
Pope, Kenneth E. (Portage, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/500520
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/08/2006
Assignee:
Kenneth Eugene Pope (Portage, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kenneth E. Pope (Portage, MI, US)
Claims:
I, Kenneth E. Pope, a US citizen, residing in Portage, Mich., as the sole inventor, claim this invention to be:

1. An aluminum bat used for catching plastic balls. Its purpose is to help develop better hand-eye coordination and muscle memory for individuals who are trying to bunt the ball.

2. The bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said head of the device has an opening which is secured with a net on one side. Thus leaving the other side open thus allowing the net to be used to catch and hold the plastic balls which are “pitched” to the user of said bat.

3. The bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said body of the device has finger grips positioned just below the opening which contains the net. The said finger grips are positioned in both the top and bottom of said bat at the top and bottom of the bats opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCED TO RELATED APPLICATION

U.S. Patent Documents
1)3,268,226 8/1966Martino273/26 B
2)D0351,86810/1994PendergrassD21/725
Non U.S. Patent Sources
3)Leland Bunt Sock Training Aid:
http://www.onlinesports.com/pages/I,MW-SJBUNT1.html
4)The Bunt Cup: http://www.bunt-cup.com/
5)SSK Bunt Trainer:
http://www.wasupply.com/EADINhome.aspx?SearchText=
ShowSelected&T1=TRB60A

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

In baseball, bunting the ball is an offensive maneuver utilized by the batter. The goal of a bunt is to minimize the distance the ball travels. This is accomplished in three steps. First the batter must “square around”. By this, he must pivot on the front foot and slide the back foot up a few inches. The shoulders are almost square to the plate. Next, he must hold the bat so it is parallel with the front of the plate; the height of the handle is lower than the bat head. The batter's top hand is then slid up the bat so it is just a few inches below the desired contact point. The fingers should not be wrapped around the bat. Instead the fingers should be used so they are supporting the upper part of the bat. Lastly, the batter has to make contact with the ball using the head or top part of the bat. It is important the batter receives the ball, and does not lunge or swing at the ball. The lack of motion is what allows the bat to hit the ball with the ball traveling less distance.

While coaching, I have noticed many of the kids do not know how to bunt, or do not consistently use proper technique. Coaches tend to emphasize swing mechanics to kids. We tell them hitting several balls off of a tee is great practice as it allows taking the time necessary to focus on the mechanics of the swing. The increased repetition then develops the muscle memory which is used to hit the baseball in a game. This is even something that the professional players still do; that's because it works! Unfortunately, in baseball, when it comes to working on offensive skills, the emphasis has been focused on how to hit the ball. Bunting has been left as more of a passing footnote when it comes to instruction.

As a result, the ability to effectively bunt appears to have become a lost art. On occasion, younger players are told how to hold a bat and sometimes even given a few pitches in practice to try and bunt. However, if they spend even 30 minutes in an entire season being shown how to and working on the mechanics of bunting, I would be surprised. Logically, the concept of time needed for hitting and bunting should be similar. I wanted to try and find a way to create for kids a fun, repetitive environment allowing them opportunity to use proper mechanics and develop the bunting muscle memory like we do with their regular swing.

As a child, I used to cut a hole out of the large plastic whiffle ball bats and try to catch the balls in the hole. My invention, The Bunt Master came out of the idea of trying to incorporate this childhood memory with finding a fun way for kids to develop proper fundamental skills in relation to bunting while having a training device which can be used year round, indoors or out.

In reference to the Martino patent of 1966, “The Practice Baseball Bat” was used strictly for the purposes of batting baseballs, not for developing bunting skills as The Bunt Master does. Furthermore, it only incorporated the use of a net; there are no other features with this devise. The purpose of his net also differs from mine as he utilizes a net similar to that used in basketball. The batter is to take a full swing at the ball in hopes it will travels through the net and drop to the ground. Theirs is used for taking full swings at baseballs and therefore is for outdoor use. My invention differs in many ways. First it is used strictly for the purpose of developing bunting skills, not for taking full swings as Martino's invention does. Next, The Bunt Master incorporates a finger grip system which theirs does not. Also, The Bunt Master utilizes a net to “catch” the plastic balls while their net is a different style and has a different purpose. The Bunt Master is an entirely different and novel concept as its purpose is different and it incorporates two different concepts, finger placement and catch net.

In reference to Pendergrass's “Bunt Training Bat”, although it is used to develop bunting skills, it only incorporates a hand hold. There is no net of any type in this system. My invention is still novel as it not only includes a net to “catch” the ball, but it incorporates “finger grips” instead of hand grips. In the art of bunting, the top hand utilizes the fingers to hold the bat, not the hand. The Pendergrass design has notches cut all the way through the bat. This will promote utilizing the hand rather than fingers to hold/guide the bat. My design contains finger grips to promote and ensure proper finger placement on the bat.

The Bunt Sock utilizes a sock to slip over the end of the bat. Although the general purpose is the same, to improve bunting skills, it does not contain finger grips or any type of net system as mine does.

Although The Bunt Cup is similar to my invention in “one” of the two concepts, I incorporate the design and functionality are completely different. In order to catch the ball with The Bunt Cup, you must twist or spin the bat so the ball doesn't pop out. This is not what you want to do when actually bunting. Twisting will affect the bat placement causing you to miss the ball. My system allows the ball to pass through the bat and become trapped in the net. Since the bat does not need to be twisted, it allows for proper bat control. The next difference is that while their's allows for the ability of the cup to be transferred from bat to bat, my invention is a self-sustaining device in that it can not be transferred. By having the ability to transfer the cup from bat to bat, the user could easily put it in the wrong location, thus teaching improper placement. Finally, my design incorporates the finger grips. My idea is still novel as it incorporates both the net concept along with the finger grips for placement. I consider my invention to be novel as it incorporates two different systems that have not been seen before. This includes the catch net and the finger grips.

The SSK Bunt Trainer is sold on line and only incorporates a hand hold for bunting. It does not contain any type of net or system for catching the ball.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The Bunt Master is designed to teach the proper bunting mechanics in a way that is enjoyable and instructional at the same time. The design makes bunting fun while developing the desired muscle memory required being a better bunter!

The bat is designed with finger grips to ensure consistent finger placement. It also incorporates a net to “receive the ball”. This will help teach them to catch or receive the ball instead of pushing or swinging at it. The net provides the batter with instant feedback on each and every attempt. If the ball is caught in the net, then they have made contact with the ball at the desired location using proper mechanics.

It is designed to be used with plastic balls of varied size. Small balls provide better hand-eye coordination development. Because it catches the ball instead of hitting it, and utilizes plastic balls for the delivery method, this design can be used indoors year round or during inclement weather as well as outdoors.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Diagram # 1

This depicts the front view of The Bunt Master. Reference number 1 is an aluminum baseball bat. Reference number 2 is the premium synthetic cushioned grip with medium tack. Reference number 3 is the catch net used to catch and hold the balls. Reference number 4 is the finger grip points.

Diagram # 2

This depicts the top view of The Bunt Master. Reference number 3 is the catch net used to catch and hold the balls. Reference number 4 is the finger grip points.

Diagram # 3

This depicts the bottom view of The Bunt Master. Reference number 3 is the catch net used to catch and hold the balls. Reference number 4 is the finger grip points.

Diagram # 4

This depicts the cross sectional view of catch net section of The Bunt Master. The dashed lines through the catch net represent the cross sectional view which is depicted in reference number 5.

Diagram # 5

This depicts the cross sectional view of the finger grips of The Bunt Master. Reference number 3 is the catch net used to catch and hold the balls. Reference number 4 is the finger grip and the dotted lines represent where the cross sectional view was taken from. Reference number 6 shows the cross sectional view of the finger grips which are located on both sides of the bat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

This is an actual metal baseball bat which can vary in size typically from 28″ to 32″. The metal bat is 2¼″ in diameter at the head and 31/32″ at the handle. The weight typically varies from 17 to 22 oz.

The handle of the bat is wrapped with a premium synthetic cushioned grip with medium tack.

The catch net is designed to catch and hold both regular and small size plastic balls. The opening measures 4¼″ in height by 5″ in length by 6″ in depth. The center point of the net is determined by the calculation (0.84×bat length). The point is the measured from the bat handle and measured up towards the bat head.

The finger grip is used to reinforce finger placement while bunting. The finger grips on The Bunt Master are located on both sides of the bat, top and bottom. The finger grips are designed with a gradual slope 1½″ wide×2¼″ in length×¾″ in depth. The center point of these grips is determined by the calculation (0.62×bat length). The point is the measured from the bat handle and measured up towards the bat head.





 
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