Title:
Practice Bat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved training bat for training a batter to use a center portion of a bat rather than an off-center portion has a cylindrical handle portion of standard size and a reduced-diameter cylindrical head portion attached to the handle portion for contacting a ball, wherein at least the head portion of the bat is solid material. The bat may also have a handle stop affixed to an end of the handle portion opposite the head portion for retaining a user's hand in position on the bat.



Inventors:
Gibadlo, James (Bartlett, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/933890
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
11/01/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A training bat for training a batter to use a center portion of a bat rather than an off-center portion, the training bat comprising: a cylindrical handle portion for allowing a user to grasp and swing the bat, the cylindrical handle portion having a first diameter; a cylindrical head portion attached to the handle portion for contacting a ball, the cylindrical head portion having a second diameter, wherein the ratio of the first and second diameters is between about 1.4 and about 1.48; and a handle stop affixed to an end of the handle portion opposite the head portion for retaining a user's hand in position on the bat.

2. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the cylindrical handle portion has a cavity therein.

3. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the balance point of the bat is substantially the same as that of a standard baseball bat.

4. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the balance point of the bat is substantially the same as that of a standard softball bat.

5. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the bat is made at least partly of wood.

6. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the bat is made at least partly of metal.

7. The training bat according to claim 6, wherein the bat is made at least partly of aluminum.

8. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the head portion comprises a cavity in an end of the head portion distal from the handle portion.

9. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the bat has a length of about 31 inches.

10. The training bat according to claim 1, wherein the bat has a length of about 26 inches.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/903,647, filed Feb. 27, 2007, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to ball bats generally, and more particularly to a solid practice bat for allowing the striking of heavy balls while still presenting a minimal ball-striking surface.

BACKGROUND

There are many sports and games that involve hitting a thrown or otherwise projected ball with a swung “bat.” Typical examples of such sports include baseball and softball, and within softball, the 12-inch and 16-inch varieties. Although there are many skills involved in the successful playing of either baseball or softball, an important ability for all players is the ability to accurately strike a pitched ball with a swung bat so as to accurately strike the ball in a controlled manner.

Certainly playing softball and baseball will eventually develop skills consistent with the player's abilities; however, it is often desirable to hasten the learning curve by practicing the hitting of balls. Because practice time is not unlimited, it is important to ensure that practice sessions are spent learning good habits of stance, swing and so on to accurately hit the ball. A baseball bat (or softball bat) has a rather wide cylindrical striking head tapering to a smaller diameter handle by which the user grasps the bat. Although it is possible to hit the ball with any portion of the broad striking surface, the maximum and most efficient transfer of energy occurs when the ball is struck with the central portion of the bat face. In addition, the flight of the ball is much more predictable when the ball's point of impact on the bat is centered. If the ball hits high on the bat surface, a pop-up may result, whereas if the ball hits low on the surface, an unintended ground ball may result.

However, with a traditional bat, the user is not properly trained to use only the center of the bat, since off-center hits are also possible. Thus, it is desirable for the batter to use a bat of reduced diameter so that off center swings result in misses rather than merely inaccurate or inefficient hits. However, most such bats are formed in the same manner as a full size bat, i.e., either of a wooden rod or a hollow metallic tube. Wood has less than desirable strength, stability and vibrational properties, while hollow metal tubes may exhibit lower strength relative the heightened stresses of focusing the ball on a smaller surface. In addition, both types of bats tend to exhibit unrealistic weight properties so that the batter is not receiving an accurate hitting experience and had to readjust their stance and mechanics when later using a full size bat.

The foregoing background discussion is intended solely to aid the reader. It is not intended to limit the innovation, and thus should not be taken to indicate that any particular element of a prior system is unsuitable for use within the described and/or claimed system, nor is it intended to indicate any element, including solving the motivating problem, to be essential in implementing the innovations described herein. The implementations and application of the innovations described herein are defined by the appended claims.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In one aspect, an improved training bat for training a batter to use a center portion of a bat rather than an off-center portion has a cylindrical handle portion of standard size and a reduced-diameter cylindrical head portion attached to the handle portion for contacting a ball, wherein at least the head portion of the bat is solid material. The bat may also have a handle stop affixed to an end of the handle portion opposite the head portion for retaining a user's hand in position on the bat.

Additional and alternative features and aspects of the disclosed system and method will be appreciated from the following description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective side view of a practice bat according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional side view of a training bat according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional side view of a training bat according to an alternative embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of a practice bat according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This disclosure relates to a solid practice bat for allowing the striking of heavy balls such as baseballs and a variety of softballs while still presenting a minimal ball-striking surface for training purposes. The end result is a bat that, although having a smaller diameter than traditional bats, can withstand similar usage.

FIG. 1 is a perspective side view of a practice bat according to an embodiment of the invention. The disclosed bat 100 comprises a handle portion 102 and a head portion 104. The bat 100 optionally further comprises a handle stop 106 at a distal end of handle 102 relative to head portion 104. During use, the user grasps the bat 100 by way of the handle 102 to swing the head portion 104 at an oncoming pitched ball. The stop 106 acts to retain the user's hand on the handle 102 against opposing centrifugal forces as the bat 100 is swung, the centrifugal forces tending to pull the bat 100 axially from the user's grasp. The handle stop 106 is approximately 1.56 inches in diameter in an embodiment of the invention, while the handle 102 diameter is about 0.716 inches in diameter.

Although it will be appreciated that the drawings are not exactly to scale for every implementation of the invention, nonetheless a salient feature visible in FIG. 1 is that the head or barrel portion 104 of the bat 100 is of very similar, but slightly greater, diameter as the handle portion 102. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the diameter of the head portion 104 is between 1.0 and 1.06 inches, for a ratio of head 104 diameter to handle diameter of 1.4 to 1.48. Without restricting the invention to exact ratios in all cases, an exemplary ratio of the diameter of the head portion 104 to the diameter of the handle portion 102 is 1.44.

FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional side view of a training bat according to an embodiment of the invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the bat 100 comprises a solid piece 108 of metal such as aluminum, formed to have the handle 102, head, 104, and stop portions as discussed above. The shape of the bat 100 may be created by machining, molding, or other forming means as will be appreciated by those of skill in the art. Although illustrated as a single piece, it will be appreciated that the bat 100 may comprise multiple pieces joined together for ease of manufacture or to provide for disassembly.

FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional side view of a training bat according to an alternative embodiment of the invention. In the illustrated alternative embodiment, the bat 100 comprises a piece of metal such as aluminum, formed to have the handle 102, head, 104, and stop portions as discussed above. However, in this embodiment of the invention, the bat 100 comprises a solid structure 110 within the head portion 104 and a hollow cavity 112 within the handle portion 102. In this manner, the weight ratio between the handle 102 and head 104 portions is similar to that of a full size bat.

It will be appreciated that in all embodiments of the invention, the diameter of the handle portion 102 is the same as that of a full size bat, e.g., about 0.716 inches. Thus, if the head portion 104 is of reduced diameter, the balance of the bat will shift toward the handle if the interior of the bat is solid as desired in at least the head portion 104. The hollowing of the handle 102 in this embodiment of the invention serves to return the balance point of the bat 100 to approximately that of a full size bat.

FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of a practice bat according to an alternative embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment of the invention, the handle portion 102 of the bat 100 is wrapped in a grip-enhancing or shock-absorbing material 114.

It will be appreciated that the foregoing description provides examples of the disclosed system and technique. However, it is contemplated that other implementations of the disclosure may differ in detail from the foregoing examples. All references to examples herein are intended to reference only the particular example being discussed at that point and are not intended to imply any limitation as to the scope of the innovation more generally. All language of distinction and disparagement with respect to certain features is intended to indicate a lack of preference for those features, but not to exclude such from the scope of the innovation entirely unless otherwise indicated.

Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.

Accordingly, this innovation includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.





 
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