Title:
BILLIARDS PRACTICE DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A billiards practice device has (a) a body defining a central portion sized and dimensioned to accept and closely retain a billiards ball; and (b) the body further defining a viewing port located such that, when the billiards ball is retained within the central portion, the lower portion of the billiards ball is visible to a user. In practice, the billiards practice device is used in combination with an elongate handle. In one embodiment, the elongate handle is provided by a cue stick which is attached to the billiards practice device, such as by being disposed in press fit within a bore defined in the body.



Inventors:
Spence, Charles H. (La Quinta, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/927210
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/29/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl (PASADENA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A billiards practice device comprising: (a) a body defining a central portion sized and dimensioned to accept and closely retain a billiards ball; and (b) the body further defining a viewing port located such that, when the billiards ball is retained within the central portion, the lower portion of the billiards ball is visible to a user.

2. The billiards practice device of claim 1 in combination with an elongate handle.

3. The billiards practice device of claim 2 wherein the handle is at least three feet in length.

4. The billiards practice device of claim 2 wherein the handle is between about four feet and about five feet in length.

5. The billiards practice device of claim 2 wherein the handle is provided by a cue stick having a tip end and a handle end, the tip end of the cue stick being press fit into the lateral bore of the body.

6. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the body is donut shaped and wherein the viewing port is provided by a beveled underside of the body.

7. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the body is a split ring.

8. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the viewing port is provided by a lens.

9. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the body has the shape of a portion of a hollow sphere.

10. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the body is donut shaped and wherein the central opening has a circumferential ridge sized and dimensioned to be slightly less than the diameter of a billiards ball for which the billiards practice device is to be used, so that, when such billiards ball is disposed within the central opening, the billiards practice device is supported upon the billiards ball.

11. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the body has generally vertical legs.

12. The billiards practice device of claim 1 wherein the central opening is lined with a non-abrasive material.

13. A billiards practice device comprising: (a) a body defining a central portion sized and dimensioned to accept and closely retain a billiards ball; (b) the body further defining a lateral bore sized and dimensioned to accept and retain the tip end of a cue stick in press fit; and (c) the body further defining a viewing port located such that, when the tip end of a pool cue is retained within the lateral bore and when a billiards ball is retained within the central portion, the lower portion of the billiards ball is visible to a user.

14. The billiards practice device of claim 13 wherein the body is a one-piece body and the lateral bore is defined within the one-piece body.

15. The billiards practice device of claim 14 wherein the body is a two-piece body having a major portion and a minor portion and wherein the lateral bore is defined within the minor portion.

16. The billiards practice device of claim 13 wherein the body is donut shaped and wherein the viewing port is provided by a beveled underside of the body.

17. A method for repeatedly practicing a billiards shot comprising the steps of: (a) providing the billiards practice device of claim 1; (b) providing an elongate handle attached to the body, the handle comprising a tip end and a base end; (c) placing an object ball at a first specific location on a billiards table; (d) placing a cue ball at a second specific location on the billiards table; (e) attempting to sink the object ball by contacting the object ball with the cue ball struck by the tip end of a first cue stick; (f) capturing the object ball with the billiards practice device by grasping the base end of the handle and therewith manipulating the central portion of the billiards practice device around the object ball to capture and retain the object ball; (g) using the base end of the handle to drag the object ball proximate to the first specific location on the billiards table; (h) precisely locating the object ball at the first specific location by manipulating the object ball with the billiards practice device while observing the lower portion of the object ball and the first specific location through the viewing port; (i) capturing the cue ball with the billiards practice device by grasping the base end of the handle and therewith manipulating the central portion of the billiards practice device around the cue ball to capture and retain the cue ball; (j) using the base end of the handle to drag the cue ball proximate to the second specific location on the billiards table; (k) precisely locating the cue ball at the second specific location by manipulating the cue ball with the billiards practice device while observing the lower portion of the cue ball and the second specific location through the viewing port; and (l) repeating steps (e)-(k) a plurality of times.

18. The billiards practice device of claim 17 wherein the handle is provided by a second cue stick having a tip end and a handle end, the tip end of the second cue stick being press fit into the lateral bore of the body.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the game of billiards, and, more specifically, to devices and methods for practicing aspects of the game of billiards.

BACKGROUND

In the game of billiards, the object is to sink object balls into pockets disposed around the perimeter of a billiards table by striking the object balls with a cue ball. The cue ball is propelled by being struck with the tip end of a cue stick.

To become proficient at the game of billiards, a player must spend long hours practicing various shots. It is the goal of better pool players to be able to not only sink a target object ball, but also to cause the cue ball (after having struck the object ball) to travel to a predetermined location on the billiards table where it is in an advantageous position for making a follow-up shot.

The recommended method of increasing one's proficiency with respect to the game of billiards is to practice a single shot over and over, trying in each case to sink the object ball and relocate the cue ball to a predetermined location. In this regard, the object ball is disposed at a first specific location on the billiards table and a cue ball is disposed at a second predetermined position on the billiards table. After the billiards player has shot his or her first practice shot, he or she then places a new object ball at the first specific location and retrieves the cue ball and places it at the second specific location, and again attempts the same shot. The billiards player repeats these steps over and over again until he or she has mastered this one particular shot, whereupon he or she can begin practicing another specific shot.

During the practice of each particular shot, the billiards player must generally walk from one end of the table to an opposite side of the table to retrieve both an object ball and a cue ball and to relocate an object ball to the first specific position and the cue ball to the second specific position. Walking the length of the table after each practice shot is both time consuming and energy consuming. Typically, more time and effort is spent in retrieving the cue ball and an object ball and in relocating the cue ball and the object ball to the specific locations than is spent in the actual practicing of a shot itself. Also, bending and leaning over the billiards table and stretching to retrieve the cue ball and an object ball is stressful and tiring to the upper body of the billiards player, especially to his or her back muscles.

Accordingly, there is a need for a practice device which will minimize the loss of time and energy in retrieving and relocating an object ball and the cue ball.

SUMMARY

The invention satisfies this need. The invention is a billiards practice device comprising (a) a body defining a central portion sized and dimensioned to accept and closely retain a billiards ball; and (b) the body further defining a viewing port located such that, when the billiards ball is retained within the central portion, the lower portion of the billiards ball is visible to a user.

In the invention, the billiards practice device is used in combination with an elongate handle. In one embodiment, the elongate handle is provided by a cue stick which is attached to the billiards practice device, such as by being disposed in press fit within a bore defined in the body of the billiards practice device.

The invention is also a method of using the billiards practice device to repeatedly practice a billiards shot. In the method, after each billiards shot is taken, an object ball and the cue ball are quickly and easily retrieved and repositioned to the specific locations on the billiards table using the billiards practice device, without the billiards player having to repeatedly walk back and forth substantially the length of the billiards table and without the billiards player having to repeatedly bend, lean and stretch over the billiards table.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective underside view of the billiards practice device illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of the billiards practice device illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side view, in partial cross-section, of the billiards practice device illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a first alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 6A is a perspective sketch of a second alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 6B is a perspective sketch of a third alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 6C is a perspective sketch of a fourth alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 6D is a perspective sketch of a fifth alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 6E is a perspective sketch of a sixth alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 6F is a perspective sketch of a seventh alternative embodiment of a billiards practice device having features of the invention;

FIG. 7A is a cross-sectional view of a fourth alternative embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6C, taken along lines 7A-7A;

FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional view of the fifth alternative embodiment illustrated in 6D, taken along lines 7B-7B; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the billiards practice aid illustrated in FIG. 1 as it might be used by a user.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following discussion describes in detail one embodiment of the invention and several variations of that embodiment. This discussion should not be construed, however, as limiting the invention to those particular embodiments. Practitioners skilled in the art will recognize numerous other embodiments as well.

The invention is a billiards practice device 10 having a body 12 with a central portion 14 and a viewing port 16. The central portion 14 is sized and dimensioned to accept and closely retain a billiards ball 18. By “closely retain a billiards ball,” it is meant that the central portion 14 is sized and dimensioned such that a billiards ball 18 disposed within the central portion 14 is laterally separated from the body 12 in any direction by no more than about one quarter inch, preferably by no more than about one eighth inch, most preferably no more than about one sixteenth inch.

The body 12 can be made from any convenient lightweight material such as a wood, plastic or lightweight metal.

When in use, the billiards practice device 10 is used in combination with an elongate handle 20. The handle 20 is typically at least about three feet in length. Typically, the elongate handle 20 is about the length of a standard cue stick 22, for example, between about four feet and five feet in length.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the elongate handle 20 can be provided by a standard cue stick 22. The cue stick 22 is attached to the body 12 of the billiards practice device 10, typically by being inserted into a lateral bore 24 defined within the body 12 of the billiards practice device 10 and therein rigidly attached to the body 12 by press fit.

FIGS. 1-4 illustrate an embodiment having a body 12 which is one-piece in construction. In this embodiment, the lateral bore 24 is disposed within the one-piece body 12. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, on the other hand, the body 12 is a two-piece body comprising a major portion 12a and a minor portion 12b. In this embodiment, the lateral bore 24 is defined within the minor portion 12b, the minor portion 12b being attached to the major portion 12a, for example, by gluing, welding or molding.

The body 12 of the billiards practice device 10 can have a wide variety of specific shapes. In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-5, 6B and 6D, the body 12 is donut shaped. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6A, the body 12 is a split ring. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 6C and 7A, the body 12 has the shape of a partial hollow sphere. The body 12 in the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 6E and 6F are table shaped, both having a plurality of generally vertical legs 26.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the viewing port 16 is provided by a beveled underside 28 of the body 12. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6A, the viewing port 16 is provided by the split 30 in the body 12. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6B, the viewing port 16 is provided by a lens 32, which is chosen to focus on the base of a billiards ball 18 retained within the central portion 14. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 6E and 6F, the viewing port 16 is provided by gaps 34 between the generally vertical legs 26.

The central portion 14 can be lined with a non-abrasive material 36 such as illustrated in FIGS. 7A and 7B. Such non-abrasive material 36 can be a felt, but other non-abrasive materials can also be used.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 6D and 7B, the body 12 is donut shaped and the central portion 14 has a circumferential ridge 38 sized and dimensioned to be slightly less than the diameter of a billiards ball 18 for which the billiards practice device 10 is to be used. In such an embodiment, when a billiards ball 18 is disposed within the central portion 14, the billiards practice device 10 is supported on the billiards ball 18.

FIG. 1 illustrates how the invention can be used to position a billiards ball 18 at a specific location 40 on a billiards table 48. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the specific location 40 on the billiards table 48 has been marked by a circular marker 42 made from a thin paper or plastic and having a low tack glue disposed on its underside.

The billiards practice device 10 of the invention can be conveniently used to repeatedly practice a single billiards shot. FIG. 8 illustrates a method for using the billiards practice device 10 of the invention to practice a particular billiards shot.

The method comprises the steps of (a) providing the billiards practice device 10 described above; (b) providing an elongate handle 20 attached to the body 12 of the billiards practice aid 10, the handle 20 comprising a tip end 44 and a base end 46; (c) placing an object ball 18a at a first specific location 40a on a billiards table 48; (d) placing a cue ball 18b at a second specific location 40b on the billiards table 48; (e) attempting to sink the object ball 18a by contacting the object ball 18a with the cue ball 18b struck by the tip end 44 of a cue stick 22; (f) capturing the object ball 18a with the billiards practice device 10 by grasping the base end 46 of the handle 20 and therewith manipulating the central portion 14 of the billiards practice device 10 around the object ball 18a to capture and retain the object ball 18a; (g) using the base end 46 of the handle 20 to drag the object ball 18a proximate to the first specific location 40a on the billiards table 48; (h) precisely locating the object ball 18a at the first specific location 40a by manipulating the object ball 18a with the billiards practice device 10 while observing the lower portion of the object ball 18a and the specific location 40a through the viewing port 16; (i) capturing the cue ball 18b with the billiards practice device 10 by grasping the base end 46 of the handle 20 and therewith manipulating the central portion 14 of the billiards practice device 10 around the cue ball 18b to capture and retain the cue ball 18b; (j) using the base end 46 of the handle 20 to drag the cue ball 18b proximate to the second specific location 40b on the billiards table 48; (k) precisely locating the cue ball 18b at the second specific location 40b by manipulating the cue ball 18b with the billiards practice device 10 while observing the lower portion of the cue ball 18b and the second specific location 40b through the viewing port 16; and (l) repeating steps (e)-(k) a plurality of times.

As can be appreciated by serious billiards players, the invention provides the billiards player with the ability to repeatedly practice a single billiards shot without having to waste time and energy continually walking back and forth from one end of the billiards table 48 to the other to gather up and reposition the cue ball 18b and an object ball 18a between each practice shot. The invention also minimizes stress and strain on the upper body of the billiards table by eliminating the need for repeatedly bending, leaning and stretching over the billiards table.

Having thus described the invention, it should be apparent that numerous structural modifications and adaptations may be resorted to without departing from the scope and fair meaning of the instant invention as set forth hereinabove.