Title:
SQUASH RACQUET GRIP AND TRAINING AID
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a squash racquet handle grip comprising at least an external surface and an internal surface, wherein said external surface includes raised surface ridges, wherein said raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving an index finger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; and wherein said grip is attachable to a squash racket handle.



Inventors:
Drake, Susannah C. (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Geaves, Fiona (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/772330
Publication Date:
01/08/2009
Filing Date:
07/02/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B49/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Barclay Damon, LLP (Syracuse, NY, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A squash racquet grip adapted to accommodate a squash racket handle comprising: a tubular sleeve, said sleeve having at least an external surface and an internal surface, wherein said external surface includes at least two raised surface ridges, wherein said at least two raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; and wherein said internal surface defines an opening adapted to accommodate said squash racquet handle.

2. The squash racquet grip of claim 1, wherein said internal surface is shaped to approximate an exterior configuration of said squash racket handle.

3. The squash racquet grip of claim 1, further comprising an elastomer compound.

4. The squash racquet grip of claim 1, further comprising a molded plastic.

5. The squash racquet grip of claim 1, wherein said grip has a unitary structure.

6. The squash racquet grip of claim 1, wherein said grip is formed of one or more layers.

7. The squash racquet grip of claim 1, wherein said external surface further comprises a texture.

8. The squash racquet grip of claim 7, wherein said texture includes perforations.

9. The squash racquet grip of claim 7, wherein said texture includes a honeycomb.

10. A squash racquet including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip comprising: an external surface, wherein said external surface includes at least two raised surface ridges, wherein said at least two raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; and wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site.

11. The squash racquet grip of claim 10, further comprising an elastomer compound.

12. The squash racquet grip of claim 10, further comprising a molded plastic.

13. The squash racquet grip of claim 10, wherein said grip has a unitary structure.

14. The squash racquet grip of claim 10, wherein said grip is formed of one or more layers.

15. The squash racquet grip of claim 10, wherein said external surface further comprises a texture.

16. A squash racquet grip comprising: a first surface and a second surface, wherein said first surface includes at least two raised surface ridges, wherein said at least two raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said first surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; wherein said second surface is attachable to a squash racquet handle.

17. A method for positioning a user's hand on a squash racquet comprising the steps of: providing a squash racquet including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip including an external surface, wherein said external surface includes at least two raised surface ridges, wherein said at least two raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; placing a forefinger of said user substantially upon said forefinger receiving recess; placing a thumb of said user substantially upon said first position site; placing a middle finger of a user substantially upon said second position site; and wrapping remaining fingers of said user's hand around said handle.

18. A method for training a squash racquet user to grip a squash racquet handle comprising the steps of: providing a squash racquet to said user including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip including an external surface, wherein said external surface includes at least two raised surface ridges, wherein said at least two raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; instructing said user to place a forefinger of said user substantially upon said forefinger receiving recess; instructing said user to place a thumb of said user substantially upon said first position site; instructing said user to place a middle finger of said user substantially upon said second position site; and instructing said user to wrap remaining fingers around said handle.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a grip for a squash racquet, more particularly, a flexible sleeve or grip designed to fit a squash racquet, where the sleeve includes imprinted indentations used to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Squash is an indoor racquet sport. The game is played by two players (or four players for doubles) with “standard” racquets in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. “Standard” racquets are governed by the rules of the game. Traditionally, they were made of laminated timber (typically Ash), with a small strung area using natural gut strings. Today, they are almost always made of composite materials or metals (graphite, kevlar, titanium, and/or boron) with synthetic strings. Modern racquets generally have maximum dimensions of 686 mm (27 inches) long and 215 mm (8.5 inches) wide, with a maximum strung area of approximately 500 square centimetres (approximately 90 square inches). The maximum weight permitted is 255 grams (approximately 9 ounces) but most generally weigh between 110 and 200 grams (4-7 ounces).

To properly grip a squash racquet, the player must maintain an “open grip” or “open-fist” on the racquet. This grip is generally counter-intuitive to novices and difficult to maintain. A novice player will instinctually grip the racquet with a clenched fist. Problematically, when using a clenched fist grip, the player will have little or no control in the fore-aft and side-side motions. Children often do not have the hand strength to maintain an open-fist grip. Adults, many of whom take up squash after playing tennis, often revert to a closed or clenched fist grip even after explicit instruction. As a result, a device especially designed to aid, assist, and train players in maintaining an appropriate grip on a squash racquet is desired.

Professionals suggest that unless a player masters a proper grip on a squash racquet, all other technical training is ineffective. FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate this proper grip or hold on a squash racquet. The proper squash grip position has two subtle features that allow a player to have full control over the head of the racquet. First, the index finger should be extended in a somewhat longitudinal direction on the racquet handle, and positioned approximately a finger's width apart from the middle finger. When a player pushes on the racquet head in fore-aft, the player will feel the racquet motion resisted by the extended index finger. Second, the index finger and thumb should be positioned to form a “V” shape. One side of the V should be almost parallel with the racquet handle.

It is important to master this grip early on during squash training. In other sports involving striking projectiles (e.g., tennis and golf) there exist a myriad of training tools and devices to assist novice players in achieving a proper grip. Such devices are rare in squash. As squash requires an open-fist grip, training aids and devices for tennis racquets are generally ineffective for this purpose.

There exists a number of U.S. patents directed to racquet grips, sleeves, and training aids, including U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,985, entitled “handle for sports equipment,” to Dahlstrom. The U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,985 reference discloses a racquet handle for a racquet that includes grooves for positioning a player's fingers in a position specifically adapted to the stroke to be performed, and to increase the contact surface between the player's fingers and the racquet handle while also assisting the player in teaming a correct grip and stroke. In one embodiment, three index finger grooves are provided. Each index finger groove corresponds to a position of the index finger during a different type of stroke, such as a forehand stroke, a volleying stroke, and a backhand stroke. The thumb groove is also positioned obliquely opposite and adjacent to a middle finger groove to permit the thumb and middle finger to be in contact with one another to form a lock ring around the racquet handle. The disclosure of the U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,985 does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 7,160,216, entitled “Accessory for racquets,” to Failla Colonnello Seppi, teaches an accessory for a tennis racquet. The accessory has contact portion for user's hand, rigidly connected to a connecting rod, and designed to identify correct position of hand while gripping racquet to perform strokes user's hand when changing the grip from the grip used for forehand strokes to that used for backhand strokes. However, the disclosure of the U.S. Pat. No. 7,160,216 does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,916,260, entitled “Tennis racquet grip device,” to Poteet teaches a tennis racquet grip device for installation to a tennis racquet, including an obverse surface which conforms in shape to base of thumb of gripping hand, and having felt handle orientation indicia to determine the orientation of the head of the tennis racquet. The disclosure of the U.S. Pat. No. 6,916,260 does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,213,902, 6,106,418, 6,017,283 and 5,931,749, all entitled “Contoured grip for a racquet,” and U.S. Pat. No. 5,924,941, entitled “Hand grip for a racquet,” all to Hagey, teach a handle configuration for racquet, including a contour assembly having an upper protrusion and a lower trigger on which racquet neck and handle stub are respectively mounted. The disclosures refer to a racquet handle having a contoured topography providing unique configurations that increase the player's racquet head awareness and which may be manufactured as an assembly adjustable along the length of the handle which will aid in positioning a player's hand in advantageous positions for stroke improvement. The present invention does not use trigger mechanisms to position the hand. Moreover, the disclosures of these patents do not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain a open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,806,091, entitled “Hand grip aid,” to McHugh, teaches a hand grip that fits in the user's hand near where the palm joins the fingers and provides a support to distribute the force from a hand-held device onto the entire hand. In one embodiment, the hand grip includes an elongated resilient member that has an undulated side to accommodate the user's fingers. The member is placed adjacent to the user's fingers and superficial transverse metacarpal ligament. The member prevents the ligament along with associated muscle and skin tissue, from being forced over the fingers when the user grasps a handle. However, the disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,556,092, entitled “Ergonomic handle,” to Theken, teaches a handle grip having undulating surfaces to provide a comfortable, non-slip interface with the user's hand, the handle having first and second concentric gripping ridges separated by gripping valleys from a thumb ridge and each other, respectively. The valleys include a plurality of ovoid dimples to increase the surface of interface between the user's fingers and the handle. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,551,690, entitled “Racquet handle,” to Brown, teaches a racquet handle including a male protruding member away from handle towards neck having one or more indentations where the male member releasably engages one or more indentations. The racquet has a substantially planar striking surface connected to one end of a neck where the other end of the neck is adjacent to a handle. The handle is rotatable relative to the planar striking surface about an axis to one or more predetermined positions. One end of the handle comprises a male member protruding away from the handle toward the neck and an end of the neck has one or more indentations, wherein the male member releasably engages the one of the one or more indentations at one of the one or more predetermined positions. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,316,316, entitled “Tennis racquet handle,” to Lai, teaches a tennis racquet handle having an improved handle configuration which eliminates protruding points which may impact the hypothenar eminence of the palm. The butt end of the handle has a cross-sectional shape that is dis-similar to the cross-sectional shape of a middle portion of the handle, approximately 12 cm from the butt end. The butt end and middle portion are connected by a transition zone polyhedron has a number of planar sides against which the hypothenar eminence may bear to eliminate the discomfort of the protruding points of the known handles. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,163,685, entitled “Sports grip training device,” to Rhodes, teaches a sports grip training device for teaching a participant the proper positioning of his or her hands upon a sports implement. The device includes an abutment member which is adapted to be secured to the handle or grip of a sports implement with a predetermined angular orientation. When utilized with a golf club, the abutment member has a planar abutment surface that is at a 45° angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the club's shaft. By positioning a golfer's upper hand in contact with the planar abutment surface, and completing the grip with the lower hand, a golfer is able to learn the proper golf grip in a simple and efficient manner. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,018,734, entitled “Grip locating apparatus for sporting article handle,” to Allsop, teaches a device for positioning a person's hand on the handle of a sporting article such as a tennis racquet, and includes a projection which is intended to fit between the thumb and index finger of a person's hand to locate the hand relative to said article to provide a desired grip. The device also includes adjustment means for radially adjusting the projection. The adjustment means may be a band capable of being tensioned and relaxed or a rotatable handle or handle portion. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,943,058, entitled “Tennis racquet with fixed grip and movable frame,” and U.S. Pat. No. 4,854,596, entitled “Tennis racquet with angularly adjustable handle and fixed anatomic grip,” both to Carbonetti, discuss a tennis racquet having a frame part and a handle part formed by a hub solid with the frame part, a movable tubular sleeve rotationally and axially sliding on said hub, having an anatomic grip for the gripping of the hand of the tennis player in order to vary the angular attitude of the frame with respect to the grip, to cause the frame to assume a plurality of angular attitudes with respect to it and around its axis, said sleeve having an upper extremity proximal to the frame and a lower opposite extremity. The hub is of a circular section and said movable sleeve is provided at its lower extremity with a toothed crown profile. The sleeve can be rendered movable with respect to the hub by unmeshing the crown profiles and translating and turning the sleeve against the action of a spring, whereas the meshing of the crown profiles renders the sleeve and the hub integral with one another and wherein the sleeve is provided with holes and the grip is anchored in said holes. The disclosures of these patents do not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,746, entitled “Tennis racquet grip,” to Klink, teaches a grip formed for a tennis racquet handle to facilitate proper gripping of the racquet for two handed backhand strokes of the tennis racquet by either a left-handed or a right-handed tennis player. The grip includes a body portion having longitudinally aligned first and second protuberance extending therefrom and spaced one from the other by a predetermined distance. A third protuberance also extends from the body portion in radial alignment with the second protuberance and in a direction opposite thereto. An enlarged end section also extends from the body portion. The protuberances and enlarged section are disposed to facilitate either one handed gripping of the racquet by either a left-hand or a right-hand player as well as two handed backhand gripping by either a left-hand or a right-hand player. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,717,151, entitled “Grip for game racquets,” to DuBois teaches a handle design for game racquets such as tennis, racquetball, etc. which handle is contoured to produce a more balanced use of the two main groups of forearm flexors and the hand muscles so as to minimize tendonitis and bursitis in the elbow and shoulder of the user. The handle is contoured on three of its sides by providing concavities to accommodate the region of the hand known as the hypothenar eminence and to accommodate the shorter second and fifth digits. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,664,381, entitled “Grip for tennis racquet,” to Aaron discloses a grip for a tennis racquet handle. A projection extends from the bottom of the handle to receive the forefinger both to place the forefinger and to provide a trigger for leverage in striking a ball. The side of the handle has a curved ridge, the rearward edge of which defines a thumb recess and the forward edge of which defines a trigger for a backhand grip. A knob rearwardly of the thumb recess defines the rear of the recess without obstructing other gripping techniques. A butt ridge provides a sufficient ridge to give the player a sure grip on the racquet. The grip may be symmetrical, so the same grip can be used for both left-hand and right-hand gripping techniques. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,470,599, entitled “Tennis racquet grip,” to Usher, Jr., teaches a grip for a racquet for tennis which includes relatively flat faces on one side for engagement with the thumb and fingers and a rounded or elliptical face disposed on the opposite side of the grip from the flat faces for engagement with the palm of the hand. Corners at the intersection of the flat faces provide control of the racquet while the rounded portion nestles in the palm for a secure gripping of the racquet to prevent rotation thereof. The same grip may be used either for a forehand or backhand position and either for a left handed or right handed person, merely by inversion of the racquet. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,090,710, entitled “Training tennis racquet,” to Williams, teaches a training and playing tennis racquet having indicia immediately above the handle for orienting the player's hand grasp for various strokes including the forehand, backhand, service, overhead and volley grips to aid the tennis player to position the appropriate grip readily during training and playing without cumbersome structure. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,006,896, entitled “Tennis racquet,” to Soldavini, teaches a tennis racquet which includes strings, a frame holding the strings in a common plane, a handle attached to the frame and marking indicia on the handle for insuring proper indexing between the common plane and the player's hand which grips the handle. The marking indicia comprises various combinations of finger grooves cut in the handle surface, bumps or other surface irregularities sensitive to palpation and aligning marks cut into, raised from or painted on the handle surface. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,868,110, entitled “Tennis racquet grip,” to Jones, teaches a detachable grip for tennis racquet handles having finger and hand indentations accommodating different positions of the hand for forehand and backhand strokes. The disclosure of this patent does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

PCT Patent Application Publication No. WO9409864A1, entitled “Handle for sports equipment,” to Dahlstrom, teaches a racquet handle for ball sports having users fingers precisely positioned and fixed in grooves reducing force required to achieve firm grip. The invention relates to a racquet handle for ball sports, preferably for tennis, with which the fingers are precisely positioned and fixed in grooves, thereby enlarging the contact surface, increasing the racquet retention friction, and facilitating performance. The thumb groove is disposed obliquely to the middle-finger groove so as to form a “locking ring”, thereby improving the strength of the grip by about 50%. When performing different types of stroke, forehand, serve, volley and smash and backhand, the index finger is moved between respective grooves, all of which are located in front of the thumb groove. The disclosure of this publication does not teach a squash racquet grip that in practice is usable to train a user to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet.

Therefore, a squash racquet usable to train a player to maintain an open-fist grip on the racquet is desired.

Further, a lightweight, removable sleeve for the handle of a squash racquet featuring indentations formed to assist a player in maintaining a proper grip on a squash racquet is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention comprises, in one form thereof, a squash racquet grip able to be united with a squash racket handle comprising: at least an external (or first) surface and an internal (or second) surface, wherein said external surface includes raised surface ridges, wherein said raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving an index finger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; and wherein said grip further includes a central opening adapted to accommodate said squash racket handle.

More particularly, the invention includes a squash racquet including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip comprising: at least an external surface, wherein said external surface includes at least two raised surface ridges, wherein said at least two raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving an index finger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site.

In another form, the invention includes a method for achieving a proper squash racquet grip position by a user. The method comprises the steps of providing a squash racquet including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip comprising: at least an external surface, wherein said external surface includes raised surface ridges, wherein said raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving an index finger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; gripping said racquet handle with a user's hand; placing an index finger of said user upon or within said forefinger receiving recess; placing a thumb of said user substantially at or near said first position site; placing a middle finger of a user's hand upon or within said second position site; wrapping a ring finger and pinky finger of a user's hand around said handle grip.

In another form, the invention includes a method for instructing or training a squash player or user to achieve a proper squash racquet grip. The method comprises the steps of providing a squash racquet to said user including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip comprising: at least an external surface, wherein said external surface includes raised surface ridges, wherein said raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess for receiving an index finger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand; wherein said forefinger receiving recess is disposed on said external surface at an angle relative to both said first position site and said second position site; instructing said user to grip said racquet handle with said user's hand; instructing said user to place an index finger of said user upon or within said forefinger receiving recess; instructing said user to place a thumb of said user substantially at or near said first position site; instructing said user to place a middle finger of a user's hand upon or within said second position site; instructing said user to wrap remaining fingers of said user's hand around said handle grip.

An advantage of the present invention is that the device fulfills a need in the squash market, namely, providing a simple, lightweight, removable device that assists players in achieving and maintaining a proper hold on a squash racquet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is disclosed with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1A is a first view of a grip and position of a user's hand on a conventional squash racquet;

FIG. 1B is a second view of a grip and position of a user's hand on a conventional squash racquet;

FIG. 2A is a view of a flat squash grip according to the present invention for the purpose of illustrating ridges;

FIG. 2B is a view of the squash grip training aid of FIG. 3 shown in a substantially tubular or sleeve formation;

FIG. 2C is a view of the squash grip training aid formed on a squash racquet handle;

FIG. 3 is a view of a squash racquet featuring the squash grip device of the present invention gripped by a user's hand;

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram schematically illustrating a method of instructing a user technique for using the squash grip of the present invention.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The examples set out herein illustrate several embodiments of the invention but should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1A, there is shown a first view of a proper “open-fist” grip and position of a user's hand 110 on a conventional squash racquet 100. The index or forefinger 120 of the user's hand 110 should be extended in a somewhat longitudinal direction on the racquet handle, and positioned approximately a finger's width apart 130 from middle finger 140. In use, when a user pushes on the racquet 100 in a fore-aft motion, the user will feel the racquet motion resisted by the extended forefinger 120. It will be understood by one skilled in the art that while the figures illustrate an embodiment suited for a right-handed user, the invention described herein may be adapted for use by left-handed users (not illustrated).

Referring to FIG. 1B, there is shown a second view of a proper “open-fist” grip and position of a user's hand 110 on a squash racquet 100. The forefinger 120 and thumb 150 should be positioned at an angle relative to one another to form a “V” shape 160.

Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2B, there is shown both a flat view 200 and tubular sleeve view 210 of a squash racquet grip according to one embodiment of the present invention. It is contemplated that the disclosed handle grip configurations can be formed as a tubular element or sleeve 210 to slip over the end of an existing squash racquet handle structure, as illustrated in FIG. 2B. This is also known in the art as an “overgrip.” The sleeve 210 has an external surface 220 and an internal surface 230. The external surface 220 includes raised surface ridges or contours 240, wherein the raised surface ridges 240 define (a) a forefinger receiving recess or valley 250 for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site 260 for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site 270 for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand. The forefinger receiving recess or valley 250 is disposed on said external surface in a direction at an angle relative to both said first position site 260 and said second position site 270. The degree of the angle should be determined such that when the grip is in use, the forefinger and thumb of a user's hand generally form a “V” shape 160 as illustrated in FIG. 1B. Further, one of the raised surface ridges or contours 240 is positioned such that in use, the forefinger and middle finger of a user's hand are separated from one another by approximately one finger width 130. The external surface may further include a texture, such as perforations or a honeycomb configuration.

The internal surface 230 of the grip may define an opening adapted to accommodate a squash racquet handle. The grip 210 could be mounted over handle structures having a variety of shapes. In each case, when a sleeve 210 is used, the internal surface 230 of the sleeve is preferably shaped to closely match the exterior configuration of the handle structure on which it is mounted. If the internal surface 230 of the handle grip 210 does not conform exactly to the shape of the surface on which the grip 210 is mounted, it should at least fit snugly enough to limit relative movement between the two structures.

Alternatively, the grip may be integrally formed on a racquet by molding or otherwise shaping the racquet material itself, as illustrated in FIG. 2C. For example, if the racquet has a wood frame, the handle grip can be formed by shaping the wooden stem portion of the racquet into one of the disclosed configurations. Modern day squash racquet handles, however, are usually formed in tubular plastic mounted over an inner handle shaft. In such an embodiment, the plastic of the handle shaft may be molded in the above described configuration. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 2C, a squash racquet is shown. Squash racquet 100 includes a racquet head 280 and a racquet handle and shaft 290. The racquet handle further includes an external surface 220, wherein said external surface includes raised surface ridges or contours 240, wherein said raised surfaces ridges define (a) a forefinger receiving recess 250 for receiving a forefinger of a user's hand, (b) a first position site 260 for receiving a thumb of a user's hand, and (c) a second position site 270 for receiving a middle finger of a user's hand. As discussed above, the forefinger receiving recess 250 is disposed on said external surface 220 in a direction at an angle relative to both said first position site 260 and said second position site 270.

The squash racquet grip 200 of the present invention may be made of any material known to one skilled in the art. For example, it may be formed as a structure from molded plastics, elastomeric substances, fabrics, or the like. The handle grip may further be created or molded separately of two or more different contoured pieces, or multiple layers comprising one or more materials. For example, the grip may be fashioned by layering a contoured plastic material including the configuration described above over an absorbent material or a cushioning material or the like. The pieces can then be connected into a final assembly.

In use, a player places his hand on the squash racquet grip described above. He places his forefinger substantially upon or within said forefinger receiving recess, places his thumb substantially upon said first position site, places his middle finger substantially upon said second position site, and wraps his remaining fingers around said handle shaft. It will be understood to one skilled in the art that the specific order in which the user places his forefinger, middle finger, and thumb is not essential.

In teaching the game of squash, one must instruct the student in the proper gripping technique for the racquet. In attempting to describe a particular technique, the instructor must attempt to describe various portions of the hand, and make reference to portions of the racquet handle. In both cases it is difficult to be completely specific, and a demonstration necessarily makes up a good portion of the instruction. While the demonstration is adequate during a lesson, the student may forget the demonstration when the student is practicing without the instructor, and the verbal communication may be the only recollection. At this point, the lack of specificity in the verbal instruction may cause errors in the student's practice. To solve this problem, the present invention further contemplates a squash racquet handle, or grip, that will at least indicate to the student how the racket is to be held, and preferably to require the racquet to be held in a certain manner.

A method 400 for training a squash racquet user to grip a squash racquet handle is illustrated in FIG. 4. The method 400 comprises the steps of providing a squash racquet to said user 410 including a racquet head and a racquet handle, said racquet handle featuring a handle grip disposed thereon, said handle grip configured as described above. The user is then instructed to place his forefinger substantially upon or at said forefinger receiving recess or valley 420. Thereafter, the user is instructed to place his thumb of said user substantially upon or at said first position site 430, his middle finger substantially upon said second position site 440; and finally wrapping remaining fingers around said handle 450. As discussed above, it will be understood to one skilled in the art that the specific order in which the user places his forefinger, middle finger, and thumb is not essential.

While the invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the scope of the invention.

Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope and spirit of the appended claims.