Title:
Angled Field Hockey Stick Toe
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A field hockey stick is disclosed that allows a player to have improved handling of the ball. The field hockey stick of the present invention includes at least a portion of a ball-contacting surface that is positioned on an angle relative to the front surface of the shaft.



Inventors:
Lamson, Kyle (Chelmsford, MA, US)
Reynolds, Alexander (Wayland, MA, US)
Smith, Andrew (Eastman, NH, US)
Application Number:
11/754049
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/25/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/560
International Classes:
A63B59/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARNER NORCROSS + JUDD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A field hockey stick comprising: a shaft having a first end, a second end, a front surface extending between said first end and said second end, and a back surface extending between said first end and said second end opposed from said front surface, wherein at least a portion of said front surface of said shaft is planar, and wherein at least a portion of said rear surface has a rounded, non-planar shape; a handle section located near said second end of said shaft; a toe section located near said first end of said shaft, said toe section being non-apertured and void of any through holes, the toe section having a ball-contacting surface adjacent to said shaft front surface and a rounded, non-planar back surface; and wherein at least a portion of said ball-contacting surface is positioned at a forward angle alpha (α) relative to said shaft front surface near said first end.

2. The field hockey stick of claim 1 further comprising a first planar section defined by said front surface of said shaft near said toe and a second planar section defined by a portion of said ball-contacting surface, wherein said angle alpha is defined by the intersection between said first planar section and said second planar section.

3. The field hockey stick of claim 2 wherein said ball-contacting surface includes a length, a tip section distal from said shaft and a heel section adjacent said shaft, and distal from said tip section by said length and wherein said tip section extends farther forward than said heel section relative to said first planar portion.

4. The field hockey stick of claim 3 wherein angle alpha is between about five degrees (5°) and about twenty degrees (20°).

5. The field hockey stick of claim 3 wherein said toe section is a full angle wedge, wherein said ball-contacting surface is generally planar from said heel section to said tip section, such that all of said ball-contacting surface forms said second planar section, which lies in a plane that is different from said first planar section.

6. The field hockey stick of claim 5 wherein said ball-contacting surface and said rear surface of said toe define a toe width extending therebetween, wherein said toe width in said heel section is less than said toe width in said tip section.

7. The field hockey stick of claim 3 wherein said toe section is a half angle wedge, such that said ball-contacting surface includes a first planar portion in said heel section and a second planar portion in said tip section, said second planar portion being disposed at an angle relative to said first planar portion, wherein said second planar portion defines said second planar section.

8. The field hockey stick of claim 1 wherein said ball-contacting surface and said rear surface of said toe define a toe width extending therebetween, wherein said toe width in said heel region is less than said toe width in said tip region.

9. (canceled)

10. The field hockey stick of claim 7 wherein said angle between said first planar portion and said second planar portion is angle beta (β).

11. The field hockey stick of claim 10 wherein angle beta is between about 160 degrees and about 175 degrees.

12. The field hockey stick of claim 4 wherein said ball-contacting surface includes a concave surface.

13. The field hockey stick of claim 12 wherein said second planar section is defined by the plane that intersects the heel section of the ball-contacting surface and the tip section of the ball-contacting surface.

14. The field hockey stick of claim 3 wherein said toe section is a twisted toe, wherein said ball-contacting surface and said rear surface of said toe define a toe width extending therebetween, said toe width at said tip section being at least one of the same dimension and smaller in dimension than said toe width at said heel section, wherein said rear surface of said toe extends at an angle from said first planar section.

15. The field hockey stick of claim 14 wherein said ball-contacting surface is planar and defines said second planar section.

16. A field hockey stick comprising: a shaft having a first end and a second end distal for said first end, said shaft including a front surface and a rear surface that extend between said first end and said second end, wherein at least a portion of said rear surface has a rounded, non-planar shape; a non-apertured toe section void of any through holes located near said first end of said shaft; a generally planar ball-contacting surface located on said toe section defined between a heel section and a tip section; a rounded, non-planar back surface located on said toe section opposite said ball-contacting surface; a first planar section defined along said front surface of said shaft near said first distal end said first planar section lying in a first plane; a second planar section defined by a said ball-contacting surface, wherein said second planar section lies in a second plane, said second plane being different from said first plane; and wherein the second planar portion extends from said heel section to said toe section; wherein said second planar section intersects said first planar section at said heel section, wherein said ball-contacting surface angles outwardly as said ball-contacting surface extends toward said tip section, so that said ball-contacting surface in said tip section is positioned forward of said ball-contacting surface in said heel section, wherein said second planar section enables a user to rotate the field hockey stick less in controlling a field hockey ball, providing enhanced control over the field hockey ball as the user at least one of dribbles, passes and shoots the ball.

17. The field hockey stick of claim 16 wherein said second planar section is positioned at an angle alpha (α) relative to said first planar section and the range of angle alpha (α) is between about five degrees (5°) and about twenty degrees (20°).

18. 18-26. (canceled)

27. The field hockey stick of claim 1 wherein said ball-contacting surface and said rear surface define a width therebetween, wherein said ball-contacting surface includes a heel adjacent the shaft and a tip distal from said shaft, wherein said width varies between said tip and said heel, wherein said ball-contacting surface is generally concave.

28. The field hockey stick of claim 16 wherein said heel section of said ball-contacting surface is flush with said front surface of said shaft.

29. The field hockey stick of claim 16 wherein said ball-contacting surface and said back surface define a width therebetween, said width varying from said heel section to said tip section.

30. The field hockey stick of claim 16 wherein said ball-contacting surface is a substantially single plane that angles outwardly continuously as the ball-contacting surface extends from said heel section to said tip section.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to sports equipment and more specifically to a field hockey stick.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field hockey is a well-known sport that is played in many countries. In the game of field hockey, the object is to acquire as many points as possible by shooting a field hockey ball into an opponent's goal. Players control the ball by use of a field hockey stick. The rules stipulate that players cannot play the ball with the rounded back side, but do not specify which other parts of the stick may or may not be used. The design and dimensions of the stick are most commonly configured to conform to the requirements stated in the ‘Rules of Hockey’ as published by the International Hockey Federation, also known as the FIH.

Current field hockey sticks typically include a shaft having a generally U-shaped toe at one end and a handle at the opposite end. The shaft has a generally flat front surface that extends between the handle and the toe and a backside or back surface opposing the front surface. The back surface is generally convexly curved or rounded. The toe of the stick includes a flat, ball-contacting portion that is adjacent to the front surface of the shaft and a convexly curved back portion that is adjacent to the back surface of the shaft. The flat front surface of the shaft near the toe and the ball-contacting portion of the toe are generally positioned within one continuous planar surface. In other words, the tip of toe lies in the same plane as the heel of the toe.

This known design where the ball-contacting surface of the toe and the front flat surface of the shaft are one continuous surface can be problematic for a player because the ball can easily slip away from the player's control. It is also problematic because there is a large range of rotation required to rotate the field hockey stick to maintain control of the ball without allowing the ball to contact the back surface of the stick. This wide range of motion can be strenuous to the player's arms and wrists. Therefore, there is a need for a field hockey stick that provides a player with better control of the ball and decreases the range of rotation of the field hockey stick required to control the ball.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a field hockey stick that allows a player to more easily control the ball during play. The present invention allows the player to rotate the stick less in order to control the ball as compared to current field hockey sticks, thus exercising better control as the user dribbles, passes or shoots the ball.

In accordance with the above and the other objects of the present invention, a field hockey stick is disclosed that includes a shaft having a first end, a second end, a front surface extending between the first end and the second end and a back surface extending between the first end and the second end. A handle section is located near the second end of the shaft and a toe section is located near the first end of the shaft. The toe section has a ball-contacting surface adjacent to the shaft front surface that has at least a portion of the ball-contacting surface positioned at a forward angle relative to the front surface of the shaft.

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the detailed description of the invention and taken in conjunction with the attached drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a side view of a field hockey stick that is known in the art;

FIG. 18 is a front view of a field hockey stick that is known in the art;

FIG. 1C is an end view of a field hockey stick that is known in the art;

FIG. 2A is a side view of a field hockey stick in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2B is a front view of a field hockey stick in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2C is a bottom view of a field hockey stick in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an end view of a first embodiment of a field hockey stick in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an end view of a second embodiment of a field hockey stick in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an end view of a third embodiment of a field hockey stick in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is an end view of a fourth embodiment of a field hockey stick in accordance with present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

In the following figures the same reference numerals will be used to refer to the same components. A field hockey stick that is known in the art, shown generally at 10, is illustrated in FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C. FIG. 1A illustrates a side view and FIG. 1B illustrates a front view of a typical field hockey stick. FIG. 1C illustrates a bottom view of a typical field hockey stick. The stick 10 includes a shaft 12 having one end that is referred to as the bottom portion or first distal end 48 of the shaft and another end that is referred to as the top portion or second distal end 50 of the shaft. The first distal end 48 includes a toe 16 and the second distal end 50 includes a handle 14. The toe 16 is generally U-shaped when viewed from the front or back in that the toe 16 includes a tip portion 17 that is pointed slightly upward with respect to the ground.

In FIG. 1A, the stick 10 is illustrated with the U-shaped toe 16 pointing up out of the page. The toe section is generally U-shaped when viewed from the front as illustrated in FIG. I B. The shaft 12 includes a front surface 18 and a back surface 20 each extending between the handle 14 and the toe 16. The front surface 18 is generally a flat surface while the back surface 20 is convexly arched or rounded. Similarly, the toe 16 includes a generally flat ball-contacting surface 22 and a convexly arched back surface 24. More specifically, the toe 16 is substantially flat or planar from a heel portion 17 to the tip portion 19.

When the field hockey stick 10 is in use by a player, they will grasp or hold the handle 14 of the stick 10. The toe or bottom 16 of the stick 10 will be the portion of the stick 10 farthest away from the player's hand. During use, the toe 16 of the stick will, at times, contact the ground. Further, when a player is dribbling or controlling the ball, the toe 16 of the stick 10 will be near or touching the ground and the front surface 18 of the stick will generally be positioned facing forward with respect to the player's body.

Referring to FIG. 1A, it is a known feature that the shaft of a field hockey stick has a slight bow or curve 25 along the entire length of the stick when viewed from the side. Although there is a slight bow or curvature to known field hockey sticks, the portion of the flat shaft front surface 26 closest to the ball-contacting surface 22 of the toe 16 and the ball-contacting surface 22 itself are both positioned within a single planar surface 28 as illustrated in FIG. 1A (and by a horizontal plane 28 in FIG. 10). FIGS. 1A and 1C illustrate the planar surface 28 that is defined by the portion of the shaft flat front surface 26 and the ball-contacting surface 22 extending out beyond the field hockey stick for ease of visibility. In other words, there is a smooth, angle-less transition from the flat front surface 26 of the shaft 18 to the ball-contacting surface 22 of the toe 16. Additionally, the entire ball-contacting surface 22 of the toe 16 from the heel portion 17 to the tip portion 19 is substantially planar or flat. This design can be problematic because there is a large angle of rotation required by the player to control the ball since the rules demand that the back of the stick not be used to contact the ball.

To address this problem with known field hockey sticks, FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C illustrate a front, side and bottom view of a field hockey stick, shown generally at 40, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The field hockey stick 40 includes at least a portion of the ball-contacting surface 42 lying in a second planar section 44 and positioned at a forward angle alpha (α) relative to the first planar section 28. Outside of the toe 16 and the shaft front surface 26 of the shaft adjacent the toe, the field hockey stick of the preferred embodiment is similar to known field hockey sticks. It will be understood that that other portions of the field hockey stick could take on a variety of different configurations and remain within the scope of the present invention.

In accordance with the present invention, the toe 52 of the field hockey stick 40 includes a heel portion 80 and a tip portion 82. The heel portion 80 of the toe 52 is adjacent to the shaft 12 whereas the tip portion 82 of the toe 52 is the section of the toe 52 farthest away from the shaft 12. As best shown in FIG. 2C, the tip portion 82 is positioned slightly forward with respect to the heel portion 80 of the toe 52 as compared with the tip portion 19 of the toe 12 of the prior art as shown in FIGS. 1A-1C, which is evidenced by the angle alpha (α).

In accordance with the present invention angle (α) is preferably from about slightly more than zero (0°) degrees to about forty-five (45°) degrees, and most preferably from about five degrees (5°) to about twenty degrees (20°). The movement of the tip portion 82 forward allows a player better control of the field hockey ball when dribbling, passing, or shooting by lessening the angle of rotation required by the player to control the ball.

There are several different embodiments illustrated to achieve the angled ball-contacting surface of the present invention. FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment in which the ball-contacting surface is planar from the heel portion of the ball-contacting surface to the tip portion of the ball-contacting surface. FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment in which the ball-contacting surface includes two planar portions. FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment in which the ball-contacting surface is a concave surface. FIG. 6 illustrates an embodiment in which both the ball-contacting surface of the toe and the back of the toe are positioned at a forward angle relative to the first planar section.

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment for the toe 152 of the field hockey stick having a planar ball-contacting surface that is generally referred to as the full angle wedge. FIG. 3 is a view of the field hockey stick looking upward toward the bottom of the stick. For comparison purposes, the toe of a conventional field hockey stick is illustrated in dashed lines in FIG. 3. As shown, the ball-contacting surface 142 of the toe 152 is generally planar or flat from the heel portion 180 to the tip portion 182. In this embodiment, the tip portion 182 is located forward of the heel portion 180 with respect to the flat shaft front surface 26 closest to the ball-contacting surface 142 of the toe 16. Thus, the ball-contacting surface 142 lies in a first plane, while the front surface 26 of the shaft lies in a second plane and the first plane and the second plane are different.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment for the toe 252 of the field hockey stick in which the ball-contacting surface 242 includes two planar portions and that is referred to as the half-angle wedge. FIG. 4 is a view of the field hockey stick looking upward toward the bottom of the stick. The ball-contacting surface 242 in this embodiment includes a first planar portion 262 that encompasses the portion of the toe 252, which includes the tip portion 282. The ball-contacting surface 242 also includes a second planar portion 260 that encompasses the portion of the toe 252, which includes the heel portion 280. The first planar portion 262 is positioned at an angle relative to the second planar portion 260 such that the tip portion 282 is disposed further forwardly than the heel portion 280. The angle between the first planar portion 262 and the second planar portion 260 is defined as angle beta (β) 264. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, angle beta (β) 264 is preferably from about 150 degrees to 180 degrees, and most preferably from about 160 degrees to about 175 degrees. In this embodiment, the second planar portion 260 defines the second planar section 44.

In one embodiment, the second planar portion 262 of the ball-contacting surface 242 maintains a contour similar to a current field hockey stick. Therefore, the second planar portion 260 lies within the same plane as the planar section 28 defined by the shaft adjacent to the toe. The first planar portion 262 lies on an angle (β) 264 relative to the second planar portion 260 and the planar section on the flat front surface of the shaft adjacent to the toe portion. It will be understood that the second planar portion 262 could also be configured at an angle with respect to the flat front surface of the shaft adjacent to the toe portion. In this embodiment, the back portion 24 has the same general configuration as the back side or portion of existing field hockey sticks.

FIG. 5 illustrates yet another embodiment for the toe 352 of the field hockey stick in which the ball-contacting surface 342 is a concave surface and that is referred to as the concave face. FIG. 5 is a view of the field hockey stick looking upward toward the bottom of the stick. The ball-contacting surface 342 in this embodiment has a generally concave shape as shown with respect to reference plane 44. The curvature of the ball-contacting surface 342 is such that the heel portion 380 of the ball-contacting surface 342 is at the rearward most portion and it concavely extends forward relative to planar section 28 along the entire length of the ball-contacting surface 342 toward the tip portion 382. While FIG. 5 illustrates a certain degree of concavity, it will be understood that the ball-contacting surface could have more or less degrees of concavity as desired. In this embodiment, the back surface 24 of the toe 352 maintains the same contour as the back surface of a known field hockey stick. Additionally, in this embodiment, the second planar section 44 is defined by the plane that intersects the heel portion 380 of the ball-contacting surface and the tip portion 382 of the ball-contacting surface.

FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment for the toe 452 of the field hockey stick that is referred to as the twisted toe. FIG. 6 is a view of the field hockey stick looking upwardly toward the bottom of the stick. The ball-contacting surface 442 in this embodiment includes a planar surface positioned at an angle relative to the planar surface of the shaft near the toe section 26, similar to that shown in FIG. 3. However, in this embodiment, the back portion 424 of the toe 452 is also rotated relative to planar surface of the shaft near the toe section. In this embodiment, the planar ball-contacting surface 442 defines the second planar section. Described another way, in this embodiment, the entire toe 452 of the field hockey stick is rotated with respect to the shaft while maintaining a contour that is similar to a known field hockey stick toe. The ball-contacting surface 442 could also be configured to be a half-angle wedge or concave face, rather than the full angle wedge depicted in FIG. 6, and still maintain the features of the twisted toe.

While the invention has been described in connection with one or more embodiments, it is to be understood that the specific mechanisms and techniques which have been described are merely illustrative of the principles of the invention, numerous modifications may be made to the methods and apparatus described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.