Title:
Scale Sports Court and Equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A scale sport playing court or floor and associated equipment are provided for persons of a smaller stature or height than the collegiate or professional players of the standard-size version of the sport. Teams are selected with players' height restricted to a maximum height (e.g., 72 inches) or less. The game is played according to normal rules except that the court size, goal (or net) and ball size are reduced by a scale factor S related to the height of the smaller stature players to the average height of the professional or collegiate players. In a scale basketball game, the court size, hoop diameter, height of the hoop, distance from the free throw line to the backboard, three point arc, and other dimensions are the product of the scale factor S times the standard dimension. The scaling matches the court and equipment to the athleticism of the players.



Inventors:
Feldmeier, Robert H. (Fayetteville, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/841020
Publication Date:
07/17/2008
Filing Date:
08/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERNHARD P. MOLLDREM, JR. (SYRACUSE, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. Method of playing a game of basketball in which teams of adult players of restricted maximum height play the game on a court with apparatus for playing basketball, and dimensioned for play by adult players of restricted maximum height wherein said court is formed on a horizontal floor surface and has a length L and width W defined by side lines and end lines; a goal is placed at each end of the court, with each goal comprising a hoop of a diameter D supported on a backboard that projects in onto the court a predetermined distance past the respective end line, such that the hoop is positioned at a height H over the floor surface; a free throw area is formed at each end of the court and having a free throw line that is disposed a distance F from a line projected onto the floor by a front plane of the respective backboard, and extending laterally a distance G; and an arcuate three-point line is centered on a point on the floor surface directly beneath a center of said hoop, and has a radius R from said point; and wherein said game is played using a ball having a circumference C; said method including: Selecting players having a stature not to exceed a prescribed maximum height restriction, where the maximum height restriction is no greater than 74 inches; Forming teams of such players; Having each of said team of players attempt to place the ball through the goal hoop while on said court while members of the another team are attempting to prevent the first team placing the ball through the goal hoop; and Awarding points when said players successfully place the ball through said goal hoop; and wherein to accommodate the players' limited-height restriction, further comprising reducing the dimensions of the court, equipment, and ball by scaling down the aforesaid dimensions D, H, F, and R of said court and equipment and the circumference C of said ball from corresponding standard dimensions as prescribed by an athletic authority governing a basketball league, according to a scaling factor S for all said dimensions, where S is less than unity, and which is a ratio of an average height of the players of said teams to an average height of basketball players in said basketball league.

2. Method according to claim 1 wherein said hoop diameter D and height H are equal to said scale factor S times eighteen inches and one hundred twenty inches, respectively.

3. Method according to claim 1 wherein said free throw line distance F is equal to said scale factor S times fifteen feet.

4. Method according to claim 3 wherein said free throw line width G is equal to said scale factor S times twelve feet.

5. Method according to claim 1 wherein said three-point radius R is equal to said scale factor S times twenty-two feet, nine inches.

6. Method according to claim 1 wherein said three-point radius R is equal to said scale factor S times nineteen feet, six inches.

7. Method according to claim 1, wherein said ball circumference C is equal to said scale factor S times thirty inches.

8. Method according to claim 1 wherein said scale factor is in a range of 0.8 to 0.9.

9. Method according to claim 8 wherein said scale factor is substantially 7:8.

10. Method according to claim 1 wherein said length L and width W are respectively equal to said scale factor S times 94 feet and 50 feet.

11. Method of playing a game in which teams of adult players occupy a court and are awarded points for placing a ball into a goal on said court, and in which the teams are composed of players of smaller stature, the court comprising a floor formed of a horizontal playing surface with a length L and width W defined by side lines and end lines; the equipment therefor including a goal positioned at a predetermined location on the court, the goal having a height H and a width D; and said ball for playing said sport having a circumference C; said method including Selecting adult players for said teams wherein the players have a physical stature that does not exceed a height restriction, wherein the height restriction is in the range of 72 to 74 inches. said teams of players attempting to place said ball into said goal during play; awarding points when said players successfully place said ball into said goal; and accommodating the smaller stature of the players of the teams by scaling the dimensions of the playing surface, the goal, and the ball downward to a reduced size relative to a standard full-sized court, full-sized goal, and full-sized ball as prescribed by an athletic authority for a full-scale version of said game; wherein said dimensions L, W, H, D, and C are selected to be reduced in size from the corresponding standard dimensions as prescribed by said athletic authority according to a scaling factor S, where S is less than unity, and which is a ratio of an average height of members of said teams to an average height of players of the full-scale version of said game.

12. Method according to claim 11, wherein said scaling factor S is substantially 7:8.

13. Method according to claim 11, wherein said scaling factor S is substantially 13:16.

Description:

CONTINUING APPLICATION DATA

This is a continuation in part of my copending application Ser. No. 11/653,727, filed Jan. 16, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Smaller is not always equivalent to Larger, and sometimes, as in Scale Basketball, changing the scale can make an enormous difference in the play of the game, and in the availability of the game to athletes who happen not to be taller than the overall population.

This invention relates to athletic contests, and more particularly to sports games, such as basketball, in which there is a court of predetermined dimensions, and a goal of a prescribed height and width (or diameter), and where the game is played with a ball of a given circumference. The invention is more particularly concerned with such a game in which the relevant dimensions of the court and the equipment are reduced or scaled down, so that the game can be played by persons of smaller stature, and still exhibit the same type of athleticism that taller players exhibit in the full-scale game.

Basketball, as well as other sports such as lacrosse or volleyball, is played on a court whose dimensions are always at a standard that is set by the relevant athletic governing body, such as the NCAA for college basketball or the NBA for professional basketball. The athletic leagues and conferences that are organized for play by high-level adult players, operating under the basketball rules of the NCAA or NBA, do not have any restriction on how tall a player can be. In fact, many players are recruited because of their height, as the taller player has an advantage in many aspects of the game. This leaves many talented, but shorter players at a disadvantage.

Basketball court dimensions for college and professional play are standardized, and basketball equipment is also standardized as to the dimensions of the goals and of the balls, with these dimensions being established by the same governing bodies. Goals, including the rim, the backboard and the goal support are of a standard size and are not available in other sizes. Also, the templates used for laying out the free throw lane, three-point arc, jump circles, and so forth are also only available in standard sizes. These dimensions are prescribed, and the standard dimensions (i.e., eighteen-inch diameter goal hoop, ten foot goal height, and fifteen foot free-throw distance) have been unquestioned, and no alternative has been proposed for use for adult play.

The nature of basketball, with the goal positioned over the heads of the players, tends to favor taller players, as they have the ability to block shots of the other team, and to dunk the ball into their own goal. As a consequence, taller players have an advantage, and are recruited for these teams. The average size of college varsity and professional players is much taller than the height of the general population. That is, the average professional basketball player is about six-feet, eight inches, i.e., 80 inches, whereas the average adult male is about five-feet, ten inches, i.e., 70 inches.

While some sports at the college level have been organized for bantam or smaller-stature athletes, this has not been done in any of the usual goal-type sports like basketball. Some colleges in the past have participated in “sprint” football, i.e., football where there was a weight limit of 150 to 170 pounds for the players. However, the game was played on a standard football field, with the standard NCAA football, and with the same goal posts as used in full-scale football.

In women's college basketball, a smaller ball is used than for men's basketball, i.e., a circumference of 28½ inches rather than a circumference of thirty inches. However, all relevant dimensions of the court are the same as for men's basketball.

Bantam basketball, Pee-Wee Basketball, and Mini-Basketball arrangements have been proposed for very young children, i.e., those under eleven or twelve years of age. In Mini-Basketball a scaled-down court is proposed, with a free-throw distance of about four meters (13 feet, two inches), no three point arc, and a basket rim height of about 2.6 meters (8 feet, six inches) for children younger than eleven years. The rim height for those eleven and twelve is 3.05 meters (ten feet). The rim diameter is standard (eighteen inches). A Pee-Wee version, for children 4 to 5 years of age proposes to have a basket rim height of six feet and a free throw distance of ten feet. There are also special rules concerning defending and free throws, due to the extreme youth of the players. In each case, once the players have matured, they are expected to play on the normal, full size court, with the standard dimensions.

No one has previously addressed an overall concept a basketball league or conference for adult players who are of normal stature (i.e., limited to a maximum height somewhere between 72 inches and 74 inches) with an average height of about 70 inches. No one has previously conceived of employing scaled down sports equipment, courts, or fields, for adult play, i.e., by college or professional teams, nor of reducing all the significant dimensions for basketball or any other sport, by a ratio of the size of the general population to the size of professionals in that sport, as a means of increasing the exhibition of athleticism in the sport when smaller players are involved.

For scholastic, collegiate, and professional basketball, there is a standard and unvarying size of the ball (i.e., 30 inches in circumference for men, 28½ inches for women), the basket hoop is always 18 inches in diameter, ten feet off the floor, with the backboard extending four feet in from the base line, and with the free throw line being twelve feet long and fifteen feet from the backboard. Other dimensions are universally standard as well, e.g., the “key” or three second zone is twelve feet across. The size of the court varies from middle school (74 feet long by 42 feet wide), to high school (84 feet by 50 feet) to college (94 feet by 50 feet). The court size is the same for NCAA and NBA. The three-point arc is 19½ feet for scholastic and collegiate basketball, and 22½ feet for professional.

Other sports have standard dimensions as well for their courts and for their goals (or nets in the case of volleyball), and there is never any accommodation for leagues with teams of smaller stature members, i.e., shorter players.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to make it possible for an adult league (i.e., college or professional) of basketball players, who are selected to have a height restricted to a maximum height (set at e.g., 72 inches), so that the team average height will be approximately that of the general population (70 inches for American adult males), and which will exhibit the natural athleticism of these players.

An important object is to create a game in which (a) the players are restricted in height, i.e., limited to heights of six feet or six-feet two inches, for example, and (b) these players are able to exhibit their athletic skills, like players of unrestricted height can do on a full size court with full size equipment.

It is a closely related object to transform the game of basketball both by restricting the height of players and by scaling the dimensions of the court and equipment: lowering the basket height by about 13%, reducing the rim diameter by 13%, reducing the free throw distance by 13%, reducing the basketball circumference by 13%.

It is another object to provide basketball teams and courts and equipment scaled appropriately so that the basketball play will be of a quality at least equal, and perhaps higher, than what now exists in the NCAA and NBA, when played under the same rules of play.

A further object is to provide a system or technique for the play of this game in which the teams consist of players whose maximum height is restricted to 72 inches (or alternatively 73 inches or 74 inches), so that the average height comes to about that of the general population, and to play the game on a court and with playing apparatus, e.g., goals and balls, which are dimensioned to a smaller scale than the standard scale prescribed by the relevant governing body, e.g., by the NCAA or NBA to provide an improvement for exhibitions of athletic performance for teams composed of players of smaller stature. The scaling ratio would be the ratio of the height of these players to the average height of major college and professional players, e.g., 7:8.

It is another object to provide a court and equipment that will result in scores that are comparable to those played on a full-scale court by the teams of players involved in the full-scale sport.

Another object is to make the sport of basketball (as well as other sports) at the college and professional levels available to men and women of a shorter physical stature.

A related object is to provide for a professional basketball league whose players are capable of superior ball handling and athletic ability as compared with players in the existing professional leagues (e.g., NBA), even though the height of players selected for these teams is restricted to a maximum height of e.g. 72 inches.

An important object is to provide for a professional basketball league which plays the same game under the same rules as the existing professional league (e.g., NBA) but plays on a court and with equipment that is scaled down in relation to the comparative average height of the current league (NBA) players relative to the average American male, or the average of Latino male or Asian male. All of this has the effect of accentuating the skillfulness and athleticism of the shorter (i.e., “normal height”) players.

A further object is to dispel the general perception that the taller athletes are by nature more graceful or more skillful than shorter athletes.

It is also an object to popularize the sport of basketball, and perhaps other sports, among peoples and nations whose population is smaller than the United States population.

A still further object is to further popularize American sports, both in this country and in other parts of the world, for the benefit of the participants, sports teams and leagues, and equipment suppliers.

Yet another object is to make it possible for the smaller-stature athlete to emulate in every respect the movements and the grace and skill of the most successful professional athletes.

A yet further object is to make it possible to form collegiate and/or professional basketball league or leagues that would be restricted to smaller-stature players.

According to one aspect of the invention, a basketball court (or other sports playing surface) is reduced scale all the relevant dimensions, based on the ratio of the height of professionals to the height of the rest of the population. For example, the average height for an NBA player is about 6′8″, or 80″, but the average height of an American adult male is about 5′10″ or 70″. (The average height of a Latino male is about 5′6″, and the average height of an Asian male is about 5′5″). The dimensions of the court, based on the average American male height, would be scaled down from full size by a ratio of 70″ to 80″, or to ⅞ scale. In this example, the basketball has a circumference of 26¼ inch rather than 30 inches, the height of the basket goal hoop over the floor would be 105 inches instead of 120 inches, the hoop diameter would be 15 ¾ inches instead of 18 inches; the free throw line would be 13 feet, 1½ inches instead of 15 feet from the backboard, and the three-point arc would be at 17 feet, one inch instead of 19 feet 6 inches. The other dimensions could be scaled accordingly, except that the width of the lines themselves could stay at two inches.

As a more general statement of the invention, the court and equipment for a game are scaled down in relevant dimensions from a standard size to a small-scale size reflective of players of smaller stature. The starting point would be the corresponding standard size of court, goals, balls, and other equipment as prescribed by an athletic authority (e.g., the NCAA) for a full-scale version of the game. The court can comprise a floor formed of a horizontal playing surface with a length L and width W defined by side lines and end lines. The equipment therefor includes one or more goals positioned at a predetermined location on the court, the goal having a height H and a width D. The ball for playing has sport has a circumference C. These dimensions L, W, H, D, and C are reduced in size from the corresponding standard dimensions as prescribed by the prescribing athletic authority (e.g., NBA or NCAA) according to a scaling factor S, where S is less than unity. The scaling factor S may be selected to be a ratio of an average height of members of a target population for players for the small-scale game to an average height of players of the full-scale game. The very same factor S can be used for scaling all the dimensions, i.e., a factor of 7:8 can be used for every relevant dimension. However, it is also possible to vary the amount of scaling done so some dimensions are scaled down more than others, e.g., the free throw distance could be 90% of the standard 15 feet, while the height of the goal hoop may be set at 87½% of the standard ten feet. Some fine-tuning of the actual dimensions is expected to ensure that the game remains challenging, and so that, for example, the total points scored in a game would be similar to the total points scored in a college game or professional game (of the same time duration). It is not enough only to reduce a single dimension, such as basket height, to make it possible for the smaller athlete to perform as skillfully and gracefully as a professional at the standard-size game. The hoop diameter also must be reduced in proportion, as is the ball.

Players are selected on the basis of athletic ability, and restricted in maximum player height so that the tallest players are no taller than a maximum (e.g., 72 inches). A league or conference is formed of teams made of these players of so-called average height, but of outstanding athletic ability.

The smaller scale game would be played in the usual fashion, and using the same rules of the NBA or NCAA, with two teams occupying the court and with the players attempting to complete shots by placing the ball thought the goal hoop, and by awarding points, e.g., one point being awarded for successful foul shots or free throws where the player standing at the free throw line places the ball through the goal hoop; two points for field goals where the player places the ball through the goal hoop during play; and three points for field goals where the player shooting the field goal is standing beyond the respective three-point arc. The other team would defend the goal against scoring by the first team, according to the usual rules of play.

The above and many other objects, features, and advantages of the arrangements and techniques of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, when considered in connection with the accompanying Drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The sole Drawing FIGURE is perspective view of a portion of a scale basketball court of an embodiment of the invention, the FIGURE showing one half thereof, the other half being symmetrical to the illustrated half of the court.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in the FIGURE, the invention may constitute a basketball court 10 as well as equipment such as basketball goal assemblies 12 and a ball 14, as shown. The court 10 has a horizontal planar playing surface or floor 16, defined by sidelines 18 and end lines (or base lines) 20. Each of the goal assemblies 12 is disposed at the end of the court 10, i.e., centered on the base line 20. Here only one goal assembly is shown. The side lines 18 and base lines 20 are painted onto the floor, as are other boundary markers, including a mid-court line or divider 22, jump circle 24, and at each end a free throw lane or “key” 26, and a three-point arc or line 28.

In a standard basketball court, the dimensions are well established. The court has a length L and a width W. For professional and college play, the court has a width W of 50 feet and a length of 94 feet; for high-school play, the court is 84 feet long and 50 feet wide, and for junior high or middle school the court is 74 feet long and 42 feet wide.

The goal assembly 12 has a main stand or support 30 located outside the court, i.e, beyond the base line 20, and has an arm 32 on which a backboard 34 is supported. The backboard 34 provides a vertical surface and is positioned so that the front surface of the backboard 34 projects a line 38 directly beneath it onto the floor 16 a distance B that is four feet from the base line 20. The backboard supports a goal hoop or rim 40 that is eighteen inches in its diameter D, and is mounted on an iron six inches in length that is fastened to the backboard 34. The hoop 40 is invariably positioned at a height H that is ten feet above the floor 16.

The free throw area or key 26 is defined by a free throw line 42 that is centered on the court and situated a distance F of fifteen feet from the line 38 that is projected onto the floor from the backboard. The free throw line 42 is twelve feet in its length G. A free throw arc 44 is situated behind the free throw line, i.e., at “the top of the key” and has a six foot radius. The key 26 has a width of twelve feet and extends forward beneath the goal to the base line 20.

Beyond the free throw area or key 26 is the three-point arc 28. For high school or college play, the three-point arc is nineteen feet, nine inches in radius R, i.e., centered on a point on the floor directly beneath the center of the hoop 40. There is a straight portion at each end of the arc, of about five feet, extending to the base line 20. In professional play the arc is twenty-three feet, nine inches in radius R.

The jump circle 24 is located at center court, and is composed of an inner circle of two foot radius and an outer circle of six foot radius.

The backboard 34 is seventy two inches wide by forty-two inches high, with an inner square above the rim or hoop 40 is a rectangle of twenty-four inches wide by eighteen inches high. The line markings on the court that serve as the boundary lines 18, 20, the free throw areas 26 and three point arcs 28, for example, are two inches wide. The basketball 14 has a circumference C, which for standard men's basketball play is thirty inches, and for standard women's play is 28½ inches.

In the scale basketball court and equipment that embodies the present invention, some or all of the dimensions would be scaled down from the standard ones mentioned above, that is, scaled by a factor that reflects the shorter stature of players in a scale basketball league, which would be the normal height for most persons. That is, for the normal US male adult population, the average height is about five feet, ten inches, i.e., 70 inches. The scale basketball league would not be limited to persons below that height, but the players would range above and below that average height. A reasonable height restriction may be about six feet, two inches (i.e., 74 inches).

At present, the average height of professional basketball players is estimated at approximately six feet, eight inches or 80 inches. Accordingly, a reasonable scaling factor S would be the ratio of one to the other i.e., 70:80, or 0.875. This may vary, of course, e.g., from about 0.80 to 0.90.

In one example, the dimensions of the scale basketball court and equipment may be as scaled down from full size to ⅞ scale. This means, for example, the basketball 14 would be 26 ¼ inch in its circumference C, the height H of the basket hoop over the floor would be 105 inches instead of 120 inches, the hoop diameter D would be 15¾ inches instead of 18 inches; the free throw line would be at a distance F of 13 feet, 1½ inches instead of 15 feet from the backboard, and the three-point arc 28 would be at a radius R of 17 feet, one inch instead of 19 feet 6 inches. The other dimensions would be scaled accordingly, except that the width of the lines themselves could stay at two inches.

The length and width L, W of the court may be scaled, or left at standard, or reduced a different amount. Also, the length G of the free throw line 42, and correspondingly the width of the key 26, can be reduced in size or left alone.

The scaling factor S can be adjusted, as need be, to ensure that the scoring and exhibition of athletic talent of the players are at a maximum. This means that the scaling factor S can vary for different parts of the court and equipment, and need not be entirely uniform. However, it is not enough simply to lower the height of the goal, in order to emulate the talent of professional basketball players. Even though a shorter, i.e., five-foot, six-inch, player could dunk the basketball with a lower basket, it would still be necessary for him (or her) to have a ball that is dimensioned to fit his or her hand, and to have the other important dimensions scaled accordingly and in proportion to the player's stature. The athletic ability of players is not simply a matter of tallness or height. However, as standard basketball tends to favor the taller player, the object in scale basketball is to provide a mode of play where height is not such an important factor.

As aforementioned, the principles of this invention may well apply to other sports where the height or size of the player has been an important factor. One example may be volleyball, where taller players have an advantage in spiking the ball. Many other examples are possible.

While the invention has been described with reference to a selected embodiment, it should be recognized that the invention is not limited to that precise embodiment. Rather, many modifications and variations will be apparent to persons skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of this invention, as defined in the appended claims.