Title:
Training Apparatus and Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training system may be provided. The training system may include a ball; an anchoring device; and a tether coupled to the ball and the anchoring device such that the tether extends therebetween.



Inventors:
Tice, Delavan (Peoria, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/474582
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
05/29/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/428, 473/423
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAIER & MAIER, PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A training system comprising: a ball; an anchoring device; and a tether coupled to said ball and said anchoring device such that said tether extends therebetween.

2. The training system of claim 1 wherein said ball is a lacrosse ball.

3. The training system of claim 1 wherein said tether is substantially inelastic.

4. The training system of claim 1 further comprising an aperture defined in said ball.

5. The training system of claim 4 further comprising a ball anchor coupled to a first end of said tether, said ball anchor is coupled to said ball and positioned substantially within said aperture.

6. The training system of claim 1 wherein said anchoring device further comprises: a ring portion; and a strap coupled to said ring portion, said strap comprises a fastener coupled thereto.

7. The training system of claim 6 wherein said fastener comprises a plurality of loops and a plurality of hooks extending away from said strap.

8. The training system of claim 1 further comprising an adhesive coupled to at least one of said ball anchor and said ball.

9. The training system of claim 1 further comprising a lacrosse stick comprising: a shaft member; and a head portion coupled to said shaft member, wherein said anchoring member is coupled to at least one of said shaft member and said head portion.

10. A method of assembling a training system comprising: providing a lacrosse ball, a tether and an anchoring device; defining an aperture in the ball; coupling a first end of the tether to the ball; and coupling a second end of the tether to the anchoring device.

11. The method of claim 10 further comprising: providing a strap that includes a plurality of hooks coupled thereto; and coupling the strap to the anchoring device.

12. The method of claim 10 further comprising: providing a strap that includes a plurality of loops coupled thereto; and coupling the strap to the anchoring device.

13. The method of claim 10 further comprising: coupling the first end of the tether to a ball anchor; and inserting the ball anchor and the tether into the aperture.

14. The method of claim 10 further comprising coupling a label to the anchoring device.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application 61/056,979, filed May 29, 2008, and entitled LACROSSE CRADLE TRAINER, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The sport of lacrosse is increasingly played by boys and girls in youth leagues across the United States. Athletes-in-training for sports such as lacrosse typically need to practice basic principles of the sport in order to master the skills necessary to compete. In sports that require ball handling or stick handling skills, players need to practice these basic fundamentals daily to improve their skills. In the sport of lacrosse the player must learn how to maintain control of a lacrosse ball using a lacrosse stick. This technique is known as ball cradling. Similarly, the player should also practice retrieving a ball that is on the ground by scooping the ball into the lacrosse stick head. Time spent practicing these fundamental ball handling skills is one way of improving the player's ability at lacrosse.

Generally, novice players frequently drop the lacrosse ball from the lacrosse stick while practicing cradling, which interrupts the practice session and takes significant time away from continuous skill building activities. Moreover, such loss of control increases the potential of property damage due to errant balls and increases the frustration of the player. When the player loses control of the ball, the player must chase down the ball and scoop it back into the lacrosse stick head. However, when the player is new to the game, the player may have difficulty scooping the ball from the ground. In many cases, as the player attempts to scoop the ball, the player may inadvertently push the ball along the ground further away from the player. This also facilitates increasing frustration and increasing the likelihood the player will stop practicing the sport.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, a training system may be provided. The training system may include a ball; an anchoring device; and a tether coupled to the ball and the anchoring device such that the tether extends therebetween.

In another embodiment, a method of assembling a training system may be provided. The method may include providing a lacrosse ball, a tether and an anchoring device; defining an aperture in the ball; coupling a first end of the tether to the ball; and coupling a second end of the tether to the anchoring device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Advantages of embodiments of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the exemplary embodiments. The following detailed description should be considered in conjunction with the accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a lacrosse training system;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a training assembly that may be used with the lacrosse training system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side view of an anchoring device that may be used with the training assembly shown in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of a ball that may be used with the training assembly shown in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Aspects of the present invention are disclosed in the following description and related figures directed to specific embodiments of the invention. Those skilled in the art will recognize that alternate embodiments may be devised without departing from the spirit or the scope of the claims. Additionally, well-known elements of exemplary embodiments of the invention will not be described in detail or will be omitted so as not to obscure the relevant details of the invention.

As used herein, the word “exemplary” means “serving as an example, instance or illustration.” The embodiments described herein are not limiting, but rather are exemplary only. It should be understood that the described embodiment are not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments. Moreover, the terms “embodiments of the invention”, “embodiments” or “invention” do not require that all embodiments of the invention include the discussed feature, advantage or mode of operation.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a lacrosse training system 100. In the exemplary embodiment, lacrosse training system 100 may include a lacrosse stick 102 and a training assembly 104 coupled thereto. Lacrosse stick 102 may include a shaft 106, a head portion 108 and a pocket 110. Training assembly 104 may include a ball 112, an anchoring device 114 and a tether 116 extending between ball 112 and anchoring device 114. In one embodiment, a first end of tether 116 may be coupled to ball 112 using a ball anchor 118, as shown in FIG. 4, to facilitate coupling tether 116 to ball 112, as described in more detail below. Moreover, a second end of tether 116 may be coupled to anchoring device 114.

FIGS. 2-4 show various views of training assembly 104. In the exemplary embodiment, ball 112 may be made of rubber. Alternatively, ball 112 may be made of wood, plastic, leather, synthetic material and/or any other type of material known to a person having ordinary skill in the art that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. In the exemplary embodiment, ball 112 may be a lacrosse ball. Alternatively, ball 112 may be, but not limited to, a tennis ball, a squash ball, a juggling ball and/or any other piece of sports equipment known to a person having ordinary skill in the art, that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. In the exemplary embodiment, ball 112 may include an aperture 120 defined therein, as shown in FIG. 4. Aperture 120 may extend at least partially into ball 112. In one embodiment, aperture 120 may extend substantially diametrically a length that is between about ¼ of a length of a diameter of ball 112 to about ¾ a length of the diameter of ball 112. In another embodiment, aperture may extend about 1 inch to about 1.25 inches into ball 112. In yet another embodiment, aperture 120 may extend any length into ball 112 that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. Aperture 120 may also have a diameter between about ¼ inches to about ¾ inches.

In the exemplary embodiment, tether 116 may be inserted into aperture 120 and coupled to ball 112 using ball anchor 118. In an alternative embodiment, ball anchor 118 may have a substantially cylindrical shape such that a portion of tether 116 may be inserted therein, as described in more detail below. In one embodiment, ball anchor 118 may be made of a plastic material, a composite material and/or a metal material. In another embodiment, ball anchor 118 may be made of copper. Tether 116 may be coupled to ball anchor 118 using a half-hitch knot (not shown). In another embodiment, tether 116 may be coupled to ball anchor 118 by various means such as but not limited to, the use of basic knots, advanced knots, splicing, crimping, adhesives, metallic bands and plastic bands. Alternatively, tether 116 may be coupled to ball 112 using a netting that surrounds ball 112 or a band that securely encompasses ball 112 around the diameter of ball 112 and positioned substantially near a center circumference. In yet another alternative embodiment, tether 116 may be coupled to ball 112 using any attachment means known to a person having ordinary skill in the art that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. Ball anchor 118 may be coupled to ball 112 and positioned substantially within aperture 120. Moreover, an adhesive 121 may be applied to ball anchor 118 to facilitate securely coupling ball anchor 118 and tether 116 to ball 112. In one embodiment, adhesive 121 may be made of silicone.

Tether 116 may be made of a substantially inelastic chord and/or wire material such that the length of tether 116 remains substantially constant. Alternatively, tether 116 may be made of a substantially elastic chord and/or wire material that enables the length of tether 116 to expand and contract. In one embodiment, tether 116 may be made of synthetic material, such as but not limited to, braided nylon, nylon wound, polyester or any other type of synthetic material known to a person having ordinary skill in the art that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. In another embodiment, tether 116 may be made of plastic, cotton, leather, natural gut or any other type of natural material known to a person having ordinary skill in the art that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. In one embodiment, tether 116 may have a length between about 8 inches and about 12 inches. In another embodiment, tether 116 may have a length that is between about 6 inches to about 14 inches. Alternatively, tether 116 may be substantially longer and have a length between about 2 feet and about 5 feet.

In the exemplary embodiment, anchoring device 114 facilitates coupling training assembly 104 to lacrosse stick 102. In an alternative embodiment, training assembly 104 may be coupled to shaft 106 using a screw (not shown). In another alternative embodiment, training assembly 104 may be coupled to stick 102 using any attachment means known to a person having ordinary skill in the art that enables training system 100 to function as described herein. In the exemplary embodiment, anchoring device 114 may include a ring portion 122 and a strap portion 124 coupled thereto. Moreover, tether 116 may be coupled to ring portion 122. Strap portion 124 may also include a label 127 coupled thereto. In one embodiment, label 127 may display information thereon. In another embodiment, label 127 may be made of reflective material.

Strap portion 124 may also include a fastening mechanism 126 that facilitates fastening anchoring device 114 to lacrosse stick 102. Strap portion 124 may include hook and loop fasteners coupled thereto. Alternatively, strap portion 124 may include but not limited to, fasteners, snap hooks, buckle-type fasteners and the like. In the exemplary embodiment, strap portion 124 may include a first portion 128 and a second portion 130, wherein first portion 128 may include a plurality of loops coupled thereto and extending away from strap portion 124. Moreover, second portion 130 may include a plurality of hooks coupled thereto and extending away from strap portion 124.

Alternatively, anchoring device 114 may include a plurality of straps, ties, sleeves, buckles, or any other attachment means known to a person having ordinary skill in the art that enables training assembly 104 to function as described herein. Anchoring device 114 may be made of materials, such as but not limited to plastic material, composite material and metallic material.

Training assembly 104 may be assembled by creating aperture 120 in ball 112. In one embodiment, a user may use a drill (not shown) to create aperture 120. The user may then couple a first end of tether 116 to ball 112 using ball anchor 118. The user may insert a portion of tether 116 into ball anchor 118 and couple tether 116 thereto. In one embodiment, the user may couple tether 116 to ball anchor 118 using a knot (not shown). Next, the user may apply adhesive 121 to ball anchor 118 to facilitate coupling ball anchor 118 to ball 112. The user may then insert ball anchor 118 and tether 116 into aperture 120. Adhesive 121 enables ball anchor 118 to be fixedly coupled to ball 112. Next, the user may couple strap portion 124 to ring portion 122. A second end of tether 116 may be coupled to ring portion 122. In one embodiment, tether 116 may be coupled to ring portion 122 using a knot.

During operation, training assembly 104 may be coupled to lacrosse stick 102 to form lacrosse training system 100. Specifically, training assembly 104 may be coupled to lacrosse stick 102 using anchoring device 114. In one embodiment, anchoring device 114 may be coupled to shaft 106. A player may couple anchoring device 114 to any point on shaft 106 that is comfortable to the player, in a position that does not prevent normal movement of ball 112 in pocket 110, and does not interfere with a top hand of the player. In one embodiment, the player may couple anchoring device 114 a distance between about 1/16 inches to about 1/18 inches below a neck of head portion 108.

Strap portion 124 may be wrapped around shaft 106. In one embodiment, second portion 130 may be inserted through ring portion 122 and folded back towards first portion 128. As a result, second portion 130, which includes the plurality of hooks, may be coupled to first portion 128 which includes the plurality of loops. As such, anchoring device 114 facilitates coupling training assembly 104 to lacrosse stick 102. Anchoring device 114 enables training system 104 to be quickly coupled to stick 102 and quickly removed from stick 102 by the player. As a result, training system 100 may be used for warm-ups and then quickly removed prior to an on-field game.

Once training assembly 104 is coupled to lacrosse stick 102, the player may practice cradling ball 112 in pocket 110 of stick 102. In the event the player loses control of ball 112, such that ball 112 exits pocket 110, tether 116 will prevent ball 112 from traveling a distance away from stick 102 that is greater than the length of tether 116. As a result, the player can quickly regain control of ball 112 and continue practicing cradling. Moreover, tether 116 facilitates preventing ball 112 from becoming errant, which facilitates preventing damage to surrounding property. As a result, the player can practice cradling inside a house without fear of a loose ball 112 damaging items within the house. Furthermore, training assembly 104 facilitates reducing the player's frustration level when ball 112 may come out of pocket 110. Therefore, the player may practice longer than a second player without training system 100. As a result, lacrosse training system 100 facilitates increasing the player's skills at cradling while decreasing the amount of practice time needed to achieve that skill.

In an alternative embodiment, tether 116 may have a substantially long length that enables the player to practice scooping ball 112. In such an embodiment, the player may practice cradling ball 112. In the event ball 112 exits pocket 110, tether 116 enables ball 112 to travel a distance such that ball 112 may bounce and/or roll on the ground substantially near the player. The player may then practice scooping ball 112 into pocket 110. In the event the player pushes ball 112 rather than scooping ball 112, tether 116 facilitates preventing ball 112 from traveling a distance greater than the length of tether 116. As a result, training assembly 104 facilitates reducing the player's frustration level when the player is having trouble scooping ball 112 into pocket 110. Therefore, the player may practice longer than a second player without training system 100. As a result, lacrosse training system 100 facilitates increasing the player's skills at scooping and cradling while decreasing the amount of practice time needed to achieve those skills.

The foregoing description and accompanying figures illustrate the principles, preferred embodiments and modes of operation of the invention. However, the invention should not be construed as being limited to the particular embodiments discussed above. Additional variations of the embodiments discussed above will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

Therefore, the above-described embodiments should be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive. Accordingly, it should be appreciated that variations to those embodiments can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.