Title:
Sport court target training aid, method for training using same, and method for advertising using same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The subject matter described herein includes a sport court target training aid, a method for training using same, and a method for advertising using same. According to one aspect of the subject matter described herein, a sport court target based training aid is provided. The sport court target based training aid includes a base portion for resting on a sport court and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion and providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court. The base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area.



Inventors:
Prince, Donnie Travis (Wilson, NC, US)
Application Number:
12/002932
Publication Date:
06/25/2009
Filing Date:
12/19/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/422
International Classes:
A63B69/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt, P.A. (Morrisville, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sport court target training aid comprising: a base portion for resting on a sport court; and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion and providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, wherein the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area.

2. The sport court target training aid of claim 1 comprising a visual target located on the protrusion for providing an area of visual focus for the player.

3. The sport court target training aid of claim 2 wherein the visual target extends outward from the protrusion.

4. The sport court target training aid of claim 1 wherein the base portion includes a depression extending into the base portion for receiving a protrusion of a second sport court target training aid so that the sport court training aid is stackable on the second sport court target training aid.

5. The sport court target training aid of claim 1 wherein the base portion is configured to rest on a volleyball court and provide a target for volleyballs.

6. The sport court target training aid of claim 1 wherein the base portion is configured to rest on a tennis court and provide a target for tennis balls.

7. The sport court target training aid of claim 1 wherein the base portion and the protrusion comprise truncated cone shaped members.

8. The sport court target training aid of claim 7 wherein the truncated cone shaped members are concentric.

9. The sport court target training aid of claim 7 wherein the base portion and the protrusion are each at least about one quarter of one inch thick in an axial direction of each truncated cone shaped member.

10. The sport court target training aid of claim 7 wherein each truncated cone shaped member includes a sidewall defining an acute angle with respect to a portion of the sport court on which the sport court target training aid is designed to rest.

11. A method for target based training, the method comprising: placing, on a sport court surface, a sport court target training aid comprising: a base portion for resting on a sport court; and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion and providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, wherein the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area; and visually focusing on the sport court target training aid and hitting a ball at the sport court target training aid in a direction corresponding to the focusing.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein visually focusing on the sport court target training aid includes visually focusing on a visual target located on the protrusion for providing an area of visual focus for the player.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein placing the sport court target training aid on the sport court includes placing the sport court target training aid on a tennis court.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein placing the sport court target training aid on the sport court includes placing the sport court target training aid on a volleyball court.

15. The method of claim 11 comprising placing a plurality of the sport court target training aids at a plurality of locations on the sport court and hitting balls at each of the sport court target training aids.

16. The method of claim 15 comprising, upon cessation of training using the sport court target training aids, stacking the sport court target training aids such that a protrusion of one sport court target training aid fits into a depression formed in a base portion of an adjacent sport court target training aid.

17. A method of advertising at least one of an entity, a product, a service, or an event to tennis and volleyball players, the method comprising: placing logos for an entity, a product, a service, or an event on each of a plurality of sport court target training aids, each sport court target training aid comprising a base portion and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion for providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, wherein the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area; and distributing a plurality of the sport court target training aids having the logos to tennis and volleyball players.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The subject matter described herein relates to sport court target training aids, methods for using such training aids, and methods for advertising using such training aids. More particularly, the subject matter described herein relates to a tennis and volleyball court target training aid, a method for training using same, and a method for advertising using same.

BACKGROUND

In different sports, aiming and focusing on a target is often critical to success. For example, in tennis, in order to successfully return a ball in bounds, a tennis player must visually focus on a location on the tennis court or on a portion of the tennis court before swinging at the ball. Similarly, in volleyball, it may be desirable to focus on a visual target for hitting (i.e., serving, spiking, etc.) the ball in order for the ball to reach a desired location. For example, players often focus on particular objects on the sport court (e.g., the intersection of the baseline and the sideline) to send the ball in a desired direction. Thus, increasing a player's visual focus on an area of the court, hitting accuracy may be increased. One way to increase visual focus includes practicing with the use of training aids.

Current training aids are of various types. For example, traffic cones may be placed at locations on a sport court to help the player focus on an area. However, these devices lack one or more desirable features, such as a visual target in addition to the cone itself upon which a player can focus, a design that allows balls to hit the target without moving the target, and/or a design which is portable, stackable, and suitable for branding.

Yet another problem in the area of advertising is finding new ways to advertise to desirable advertising targets. Sport court players typically represent an important cross section of business communities. Accordingly, entities may desire to market products, services, events or the entities themselves to players, for example at tennis events. It is common practice at sporting events to distribute related products that are branded with company logos. For example, tennis balls and t-shirts are often branded with company logos and distributed to players. One problem with branding tennis balls and clothing is that they are disposable and have limited useful lives. Accordingly, there exists a need for new ways to market a product, a service, an entity, or an event to sport court players.

In light of these difficulties, there exists a long felt need for a sport court target based training aid, a method for hitting a ball using same, and a method for advertising using same.

SUMMARY

The subject matter described herein includes a sport court target training aid, a method for training using same, and a method for advertising using same.

According to one aspect of the subject matter described herein, a sport court target based training aid is provided. The sport court target based training aid includes a base portion for resting on a sport court and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion and providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, wherein the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area.

According to another aspect, the subject matter described herein includes a method for target based training. The method includes placing, on a sport court surface, a sport court target training aid comprising a base portion and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion for providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, wherein the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area, and visually focusing on the sport court target training aid and hitting a ball at the sport court target training aid in a direction corresponding to the focusing.

According to yet another aspect, the subject matter described herein includes a method for advertising at least one of an entity, a product, a service or an event to players. The method includes placing a logo for an entity, a product, a service, or an event on each of a plurality of sport court target based training aids, where each sport court target based training aid comprises a base portion for resting on a sport court and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion and providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, wherein the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area. The method further includes distributing the training aids with the logos to tennis or volleyball players.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the subject matter described herein will now be explained with reference to the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 2B is an inverted view of a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 2C is a sectional view of a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a sport court target training aid located on a tennis court surface according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are diagrams illustrating the stacking together of two sport court target training aids according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein; and

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for training using a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The subject matter described herein includes a sport court target training aid, a method for training using same, and a method for advertising using same.

FIG. 1 is a top view of a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. Referring to FIG. 1, sport court target training aid 100 includes a base portion 102 for resting on a sport court, such as a tennis or volleyball court, and a protrusion 104 extending outward from base portion 102 and providing a raised target for tennis balls. Base portion 102 defines a first surface area (e.g., the surface area bounded by its circumference) and protrusion 104 defines a second surface area that is less than first surface area. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, training aid 100 has a single continuous edge 112 defining an outer circumference of base portion 102 and an edge 110 defining an outer circumference of protrusion 104.

Additionally, a visual target indicia 114 may be located on protrusion 104 for helping a player visually focus on a target. In one example, visual target indicia 114 may include the number “2”. However, it is appreciated that any suitable visual target for helping a player focus on a target may be used. For example, visual target 114 may be a logo for an entity, product, service, or event where the sport court target training aid is used for advertising purposes. Visual target 114 may be painted on upper surface 104, etched in upper surface 104, or adhered to upper surface 104, in the case of a decal. Thus, visual target 114 may be any indicia of at least two dimensions on which a player can focus during practice. In addition, visual target 114 may extend outward from protrusion 104 to provide for easier focus by a sport court player.

Training aid 100 may be made of any suitable material for resting on a tennis or volleyball court such that it is not likely to be moved from its resting position upon being struck by a ball during practice. Other desirable characteristics of such a material are low manufacturing costs, durability, low weight, high portability, and compatibility with high visibility inks, such as fluorescent inks. Exemplary material suitable for use as training aid 100 may include a lightweight rubber or durable plastic material. Training aid 100 may be formed by any suitable process, such as injection molding.

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a tennis target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. In FIG. 2A, upper surface 104 is substantially flat for receiving a target 114, which, in the illustrated example, is the number “2,” however, any suitable logo may be placed on upper surface 104 to market a product, a service, an entity, or an event to tennis players. The logo may be a company logo, a college or university logo, a sports organization or team logo, a product or service logo, a geographic logo, an event logo, etc. The logo may be placed on the upper surface of protrusion 104 of training aid 100 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

Training aid 100 may then be distributed to players, such as volleyball and tennis players. Distributing sport court target based training aid 100 to players may include distributing the training aid to players through any suitable distribution channel. For example, training aid 100 may be distributed at registration for a tennis or volleyball event without charge to players. Distributing the device without charge means that substantially all of the players in the event will receive a sport court target based training aid and will likely keep the training aid. In addition, unlike disposable media, such as tennis balls or articles of clothing that can be branded with a logo, a sport court target based training aid is more likely to be kept by a player and repeatedly used for hitting practice. In another example, a university, a sports team, or other organization may sell sport court target based training aids branded with their respective logos over the Internet or in a brick and mortar retail store.

Returning to the embodiment shown in FIG. 2A, the dimensions of training aid 100 may be designed for maximum portability and minimum weight. For example, base portion 102 may have a diameter of approximately 12 inches, protrusion 104 may have a diameter of approximately 7-8 inches, and visual target indicia 114 may be approximately 5-6 inches in size. Moreover, training aid 100 may have an overall thickness of approximately ½ of an inch, where each of base portion 102 and protrusion 104 are each about ¼ inches in thickness. Thus, four instances of training aid 100 may be stacked together into a 1 and ½ inch thick configuration suitable for fitting inside of a standard tennis bag.

FIG. 2B is an inverted view and FIG. 2C is a sectional view of a sport court target training aid according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. In FIG. 2B, a stackable embodiment is shown where the base portion of training aid 100 includes a depression 204 corresponding to protrusion 104 suitable for receiving the protrusion of another sport court target training aid so that the training aids are stackable and easily portable. Additionally, base portion 102 and protrusion 104 may include truncated cone shaped members. Thus, the angle formed by sidewall 112 and lower surface 202 of base portion 102 may be acute (less than 90 degrees) for providing a stable and ergonomic design. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2C, the truncated cone shaped members corresponding to base portion 102 and protrusion 104 may be concentric. However, it is appreciated that non-concentric configurations may be included without departing from the scope of the subject matter described herein. Base portion 102 and protrusion 104 may also be at least ¼ of an inch thick in an axial direction in order to provide increased visibility to tennis and volleyball players hitting at sport court target training aid 100.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of training aid 100 located on an exemplary tennis court surface 300. In order to use training aid 100 for practicing hitting, a player may place training aid 100 on a sport court surface. The player may then hit multiple balls towards training aid 100 by visually focusing on training aid 100, adjusting the angle and force of the hit based on the direction of focus and then impacting the ball with the hand (in the case of a volleyball) or racquet (in the case of tennis) so that the ball travels in the direction of focus of training aid 100. Because the color of training aid 100 may include any suitable color for aiding a player in visually identifying the target against the background of sport court 300, such as fluorescent yellow or orange, the player may easily know whether he has hit training aid 100 with the ball. Because multiple training aids 100 may be picked up and relocated to various locations on sport court 300, where they remain until being relocated again, the system described herein provides for a highly flexible target based training aid for tennis players. Moreover, because training aid 100 may be made of lightweight materials and stored in a stackable manner, an ergonomic design is provided that increases the portability of training aid 100.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are diagrams illustrating the stacking together of two sport court target training aids according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. In FIG. 4A and 4B, training aids 100 and 400 may be identical instances of a sport court target training aid having corresponding protrusions and depressions suitable for stacking. In order to stack one or more training aids 100, a player may place training aid 100 on top of training aid 400 such that the protrusion of training aid 400 is inserted into the depression of training aid 100. This allows a player to carry multiple training aids in less space than non-stackable embodiments.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating exemplary steps for performing target based tennis training according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. Referring to FIG. 5, in block 500, a player places, on a sport court surface, a sport court target training aid comprising a base portion for resting on a sport court and a protrusion extending outward from the base portion providing a raised target for a ball hit by a player from the sport court, where the base portion defines a first surface area and the protrusion defines a second surface area less than the first surface area. In block 502, the player visually focuses on the sport court target training aid and hits a ball at the sport court target training aid in a direction corresponding to the focusing. As described above, by focusing on a visual target, the accuracy of hitting a tennis ball to that target is increased.

It will be understood that various details of the presently disclosed subject matter may be changed without departing from the scope of the presently disclosed subject matter. Furthermore, the foregoing description is for the purpose of illustration only, and not for the purpose of limitation.





 
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