Title:
BALL GAME PLAYED IN A BODY OF WATER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of playing a ball game in a body of water, such as a swimming pool, and equipment for the game are provided. The game includes a throwing a ball against a coping surface to generate a fly ball, and attempting, by a fielding team, to catch the fly ball without the fly ball first contacting a surface of the body of water. A strikepad may include a flat main body for lying on a surface adjacent the body of water; a downward extending surface; and a curved strike surface, which may be convex or concave, projecting from the downward extending surface and facing the body of water so as to provide a bouncing surface for the ball. A backstop that may be positioned adjacent the body of water behind the strikepad and including a net or a meshing for catching a ball is also provided.



Inventors:
Smith, Michael Scott (Smithtown, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/501952
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/13/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070049427"PO/PPS" ("Productive Offense/Points Per Shot")March, 2007Wells
20090029811Expandable broadhead and blades thereforJanuary, 2009Bolen III
20080318688SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR FACILITATING COMPETITIONDecember, 2008Powell
20060122000GOLF SWING TRAINING AID APPARATUSJune, 2006Paredes et al.
20090233735GOLF DATA RECORDER WITH INTEGRATED MISSING CLUB REMINDER AND THEFT PREVENTION SYSTEMSeptember, 2009Savarese et al.
20070270253Hockey stick system having a multiple tube structureNovember, 2007Davis et al.
20080139347MULTIFUNCTION BADMINTON UNITJune, 2008Liao
20070298910Golf Tee and Packaging for Golf TeeDecember, 2007Potempa et al.
20010044343Three-ball pool rackNovember, 2001Rupert
20050272515Golf flagstick assembly and method of joiningDecember, 2005Hurley et al.
20090149268Golfing aid to improve supinationJune, 2009Sison et al.



Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTROLENK FABER LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a ball game in a body of water, the method comprising: throwing, by a thrower of a team at bat, a ball towards a coping surface positioned at a first side of the body of water for bouncing the thrown ball from the coping surface in an attempt to generate a fly ball flying directly to a fair playing area; and attempting, by a fielding team, to catch the fly ball without the fly ball first contacting a surface of the body of water.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises counting a strike against the thrower when the thrower fails to generate the fly ball, and installing another player as the thrower when a first number of strikes is accumulated.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the method further comprises: accruing an out for the team at bat when the thrower fails to generate the fly ball within the first number of strikes, and accruing the out for the team at bat when the fly ball is caught by the fielding team without the fly ball first contacting a surface of the body of water; and counting up to a second number of outs for the team at bat, and when the second number of outs is counted then installing the team at bat as the fielding team and installing the fielding team as the team at bat.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the fair playing area is divided into a first area, a second area, a third area and a home run area, the first area being an area of the fair area in the body of water nearest the coping surface, the second area being an area in the body of water more remote than the first area from the coping surface, the third area being an area in the body of water more remote than the second area from the coping surface, and the home run area being at least one of an area of the body of water most remote from the coping surface or a previously determined object positioned on a second side of the body of water opposite the first side, wherein an imaginary first base exists, an imaginary second base immediately follows the imaginary first base, an imaginary third base immediately follows the imaginary second base, and an imaginary home base immediately follows the imaginary third base, and any runner that is deemed to reach the home base counts as a scored point, wherein the thrower stands in a batting area inside the body of water, and the method further comprises keeping score by keeping track of runners on base as follows: when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the surface of the water in the first area without first being caught by the fielding team, then deeming every runner on the first base, second base and third base to advance to an immediately following base and deeming the thrower to be a runner at the first base; when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the surface of the water in the second area without first being caught by the fielding team, then counting every runner on the first base, the second base and the third base as having scored and deeming the thrower to be the runner at the second base; when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the surface of the water in the third area without first being caught by the fielding team, then counting every runner on the first base, the second base and the third base as having scored and deeming the thrower to be the runner at the third base; and when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the home run area without being first being caught by the fielding team, then counting the thrower every runner on the first base, second base and third as having scored.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the coping surface comprises a curved strikepad surface of a strikepad positioned at an edge of the first side of the body of water.

6. The method of claim 6, wherein the curved strikepad surface is convex.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the home run area is divided from the third area by a home run wall.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein a net is positioned adjacent the first side of the body of water and behind the coping surface, and wherein the method further comprises: accruing a strike for the thrower when the ball lands in the net; and installing another player as the thrower when the out is accrued.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the body of water is a swimming pool.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the first team and the second team each comprise at least two players.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the fair playing area excludes an area immediately adjacent the coping surface.

12. A strikepad for a ball used in ball game played in a body of water, the strikepad comprising: a flat main body having a main extent configured to lie on a surface adjacent the body of water; a downward extending surface transverse to the main extent of the main body and positioned so that the downward extending surface and the main body together hug the surface; and a curved strike surface projecting from the downward extending surface and facing the body of water so as to provide a bouncing surface for the ball.

13. The strikepad of claim 12, wherein the strike surface comprises a convex surface.

14. The strikepad of claim 12, wherein the downward extending surface comprises a first leg starting at a first lateral side of the main body and a second leg starting at a second lateral side of the main body.

15. The strikepad of claim 12, wherein the strikepad is comprised primarily of metal.

16. The strikepad of claim 12, wherein the strikepad is comprised primarily of a plastic material.

17. The strikepad of claim 12, wherein the strikepad comprises a strikepad assembly comprising: a top portion including a top surface of the main body and at least a portion of the curved strike surface; and a bottom portion including the downward extending surface and a lower surface of the main body configured to directly contact the surface adjacent the body of water.

18. The strikepad of claim 12, wherein the strikepad comprises a hollow cavity configured to contain water inside the strikepad.

19. A copeball kit comprising the strikepad of claim 12 and a backstop including a net or a meshing configured to stop the ball, the backstop configured to be positioned adjacent the body of water behind the strikepad.

20. A copeball kit comprising the strikepad of claim 12, further comprising a ball configured to be thrown against the strike surface.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/080,195 filed Jul. 11, 2008, the entire content of which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Disclosure

The present invention relates to games played with balls, sports played in a body of water, such as a swimming pool, and more particularly to a ball game in and around a body of water played by opposing teams and score keeping related thereto. The present invention also relates to equipment used for such a game.

2. Description of the Related Art

An ongoing demand exists for new games and for forms of exercise. In the warm months, adults and children look for ways to spend time in a swimming pool, or in other bodies of water, that is fun and enjoyable but could involve an element of competition. Also, adults and children enjoy jumping around in water, or jumping into a swimming pool, and thus would enjoy a structured format, such as a game, that provides an outlet for such activities.

Ball games played in water, such as water polo, are known, but water polo typically requires a larger pool, and typically involves treading water and swimming for long periods of time and could involve intense physical contact. In addition, many ball games could be adapted for being played in a swimming pool, but do not take advantage of a swimming pool's inherent features that allow players to jump and/or dive freely in the water, and to bounce the ball against a coping surface at the side of the swimming pool or at an edge of the side of the swimming pool.

SUMMARY

A method of playing a ball game in a body of water, such as a swimming pool, and equipment for the game are provided. The game includes: throwing, by a thrower of a team at bat, a ball against a coping surface positioned at a first side of the body of water to attempt to generate a fly ball, the fly ball being a throw bounced from the coping surface and flying directly to a fair playing area; and attempting, by a fielding team, to catch the fly ball without the fly ball first contacting a surface of the body of water.

The game may include counting a strike against the thrower when the thrower fails to generate the fly ball, and installing another player as the thrower when a first number of strikes, such as three, is accumulated. Each team may include one or more players, for example two or three fielders may play per team, or a round robin style of play may be used in which there are two or three players and each player forms his or her team for batting and all of the players who are not up to bat field against the batter.

An out may be accrued for the team at bat when the thrower fails to generate the fly ball within the first number of strikes, and also, an out for the team at bat may be accrued when the fly ball is caught by the fielding team without the fly ball first contacting a surface of the body of water, such that a predetermined number, such as three, of outs for the team at bat are counted, and when the team at bat accrues the predetermined number of number of outs then the team may be switched such that the fielding team takes over as the team at bat and the team at bat takes over as the fielding team. An out may also be accumulated to the team at bat when the fielding team catches a flying ball thrown against and bounced off the coping surface that flies directed to a non-fair playing area.

The fair playing area may be divided prior to start of the game into a first area, a second area, a third area and a home run area, the first area being an area of the fair area in the body of water nearest the coping surface, the second area being an area in the body of water more remote than the first area from the coping surface, the third area being an area in the body of water more remote than the second area from the coping surface, and the home run area being at least one of an area of the body of water most remote from the coping surface or a previously determined object positioned on a second side of the body of water opposite the first side. A non-fair area can include an area at and adjacent the coping surface and the batting area.

Also, a scoring system may be provided in which there is an imaginary first base, an imaginary second base immediately follows the imaginary first base, an imaginary third base immediately follows the imaginary second base, and an imaginary home base immediately follows the imaginary third base, and any runner that is deemed to reach the home base counts as a scored point. In such an scoring system, the thrower stands in a batting area inside the body of water, and the method further comprises keeping score by keeping track of runners on base as follows:

when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the surface of the water in the first area without first being caught by the fielding team, then deeming every runner on the first base, second base and third base to advance to an immediately following base and deeming the thrower to be a runner at the first base;

when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the surface of the water in the second area without first being caught by the fielding team, then counting every runner on the first base, the second base and the third base as having scored and deeming the thrower to be the runner at the second base;

when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the surface of the water in the third area without first being caught by the fielding team, then counting every runner on the first base, the second base and the third base as having scored and deeming the thrower to be the runner at the third base; and

when the thrower generates the fly ball that contacts the home run area without being first being caught by the fielding team, then counting the thrower every runner on the first base, second base and third as having scored.

The coping surface may be curved and may be provided as a strikepad surface of a strikepad positioned at an edge of the first side of the body of water.

A strikepad may be provided for use in ball game played in a body of water. The strikepad may include a flat main body having a main extent configured to lie on a surface adjacent the body of water; a downward extending surface transverse to the main extent of the main body and positioned so that the downward extending surface and the main body together hug the surface; and a curved strike surface projecting from the downward extending surface and facing the body of water so as to provide a bouncing surface for the ball.

The strike surface may be a convex surface. For example, the curved strikepad surface may be semi-circular and may be convex. The strike surface and/or the entire strikepad may be comprised primarily of metal or of plastic or of a combination of the foregoing.

The downward extending surface may be formed by a first leg starting at a first lateral side of the main body and a second leg starting at a second lateral side of the main body. Also, the strikepad may be provided as a strikepad assembly that includes a top portion including a top surface of the main body and at least a portion of the curved strike surface; and a bottom portion including the downward extending surface and a lower surface of the main body configured to directly contact the surface adjacent the body of water.

A backstop may be provided including a net or a meshing for catching a ball, and a kit including the strikepad and the backstop, such that the backstop is made to be positioned adjacent the body of water behind the strikepad.

The swimming pool may be an above-ground pool, a below-ground pool, an indoor pool or an outdoor pool, and the strikepad may be used with any of the foregoing.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description which refers to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a player throwing a ball against the coping surface of a strikepad at an edge of a swimming pool, a backstop net and a home run wall, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 2 illustrates the strikepad including the coping surface and a net serving as a backstop positioned above and behind the strikepad, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 3 illustrates the strikepad and another type of backstop adjacent a body of water, according to an aspect of the disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a schematic side view showing a curved coping surface of a strikepad projecting out toward the swimming pool and showing the backstop, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a top view sketch illustrating a swimming pool with a curved coping surface formed by the edge of the side of the swimming pool and a backstop.

FIG. 6 is a side view illustrating an edge of a side of the swimming pool being used as a coping surface according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a schematic illustration of a strikepad assembly including a top portion, bottom portion and a cap portion, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a bottom surface of the bottom portion of the strikepad assembly of FIG. 7, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 9A is a top view of one embodiment of the strikepad assembly illustrated in FIG. 7, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 9B is a rear view of an embodiment of the strikepad assembly illustrated in FIG. 7, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 9C is a side view of an embodiment of the strikepad assembly illustrated in FIG. 7, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 9D is a perspective view of the strikepad assembly illustrated in FIG. 7, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

FIG. 10 is a schematic illustration of regions into which a playing area of a body of water may be divided according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates a copeball player throwing a copeball to a coping surface 33 of a strikepad 30. A copeball player is shown as standing inside a swimming pool several feet away from the strikepad 30 and a net 42 serving as a backstop 42 positioned behind the strikepad 30.

Aspects of the game will now be explained with reference to FIG. 10. Some aspects of the game are loosely inspired by games such as softball or baseball and thus terms such as “batting area,” “home run,” “fielder” may be used in an analogous manner to such games but with some modifications. A batter of a first team stands in a batting area 29 of a swimming pool 60 as schematically illustrated in FIG. 10. The playing area including the swimming pool 60 and the deck around the swimming pool is illustrated in FIG. 1 as the area enclosed by a fence.

The batter throws the ball against the coping surface 63 formed by the edge of the swimming pool 60. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 6, the coping surface 63 may be the ledge or lip formed over the side of the swimming pool and projected toward the inside of the swimming pool 60. The side of the swimming pool 61 may also itself serve as a coping surface 63. FIG. 2 illustrates the inventive strikepad 30, which may be placed over the edge of the swimming pool 61, to provide an advantageous strike surface 33.

As illustrated in FIG. 10, a ball bounced off the coping surface 63 may fly directly to any portion of the play area inside the pool 60 other than the foul area 28 and be considered a fair ball. FIG. 10 shows the foul/hit line 27 as being previously designated to divide the foul area 28 from the remaining playing area of the pool 60. Such a division of the foul area from the rest of the playing area may be provided by a rope, a line painted at the bottom of the pool, may be designated by buoys positioned on either side of the pool, may be a wire strung several feet over the pool, or may be merely an imaginary line agreed upon in advance by the players. The playing area is also divided into a first area 21 or a single area, a second area 22 or a double area, a third area 23 or triple area, and a home run area 24. Portions of the deck 26 around the swimming pool 60, or on either side of the swimming pool may also be designated as part of the fair playing area. The home run area 24 may be an object such as a diving board positioned on a side of the swimming pool 60 opposite of the coping surface 63, or in the alternative or in addition to the diving board or some such other object, the home run area 24 may be constituted as any portion of the deck on that opposite side of the swimming pool 60 or the entire deck on that side of the swimming pool 60. Also, as illustrated in FIG. 1, home run area 24 may be partitioned off from a remaining playing area by home run wall 41.

Members of the fielding team attempt to catch the fly ball, and if they successfully catch the fly ball without the fly ball first contacting the surface of the water, or optionally without first contacting the deck around the swimming pool 60 or any other object, then an out is accrued to the team that is up for bat. In addition, if the batter fails to generate a fly ball, for example, if the ball thrown by the batter misses the coping surface 63, or if the ball contacts the coping surface but then fails to fly directly to a fair playing area, then a strike is accrued to the batter. The batter may be allowed three strikes or some other number of predetermined strikes, and when the predetermined number of strikes is accrued to the batter, then an out is accrued to the team at bat. When the team at bat is comprised of more than one player, then the batter who is out leaves the pool and the next batter in the batting team's lineup is up for bat. Also, if a ball strikes the coping surface 63 and flies directly to a foul area and is caught by a member of the fielding team then the batter is out immediately. The foul area may also include the deck on either side of the pool 60 or even the area at the front of the pool (the side of the pool where the coping surface 63 is located) or the area behind the pool (the side of the pool opposite of the side with the coping surface 63).

The team at bat scores by advancing “runners” to imaginary bases by getting “hits.” A “hit” is achieved when the batter throws the ball against the coping surface 63, the ball bounces off the coping surface 63 and flies directly to a fair area of play without being caught by a member of the fielding team. When the batter generates a fly ball that flies directly to the first area 21 and the ball is not caught, then the area is deemed to advance to imaginary first base. According to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure, the bases are imaginary and batters do not actually run when a hit is achieved. When the batting team includes more than one player, then the next batter in the lineup takes to the batting area 29 and the batter that achieved the hit leaves the pool. The next batter will then enter the batting area 29 and attempt to generate a fly ball to achieve a hit. When the batter achieves a fly ball which flies directly to the second area 22 without being caught by a member of the fielding team, then the batter is deemed to have “hit” a double. On the other hand, if a member of the fielding team catches the fly ball without the ball first contacting the surface of the water or first contacting any other object including the deck 26, then the batter is out.

If a batter is previously on base, then the batter is deemed to advance to the next consecutive base if the subsequent batter has hit a single, or by two consecutive bases if the subsequent batter hits a double. Similarly, if the fly ball lands in the third area 23 then the batter is deemed to go to third base and all other runners on base score. Further, if the batter generates a fly ball that flies directly to the home run area 24 then the runner and all batters on base score. When the team at bat accrues the predetermined number of outs, then the inning or half an inning is said to be over and the fielding team takes over as the team at bat and the team at bat assumes the fielding positions. The team at bat may be allowed three outs or any other such number of outs previously determined.

The number of players on each team may vary, and may include one player per side, two players per side or three or more players per side.

In addition, fielders according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure, may be allowed to position themselves outside the pool and to jump or dive into the pool as necessary to catch the ball. However, according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure, the diving board, if any, cannot be used by fielders as a place to position themselves. Alternatively, fielding players can position themselves on the diving board, particularly if one or only a limited number of fielding players make up the fielding team.

Depending on the size of the pool and the configuration of the pool, fielders may wish to play outside the pool in order to dive and catch the ball, thus providing for extended coverage for the fielder, because it may be more difficult to move around and cover the field in water. Also, a version of the rules according to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure provides that if a fielder fielding outside of the pool catches the ball and throws it to a fielder inside the pool without the fly ball ever being dropped or touching the surface of the water, then this may be counted as “double play,” and both the batter and a runner at the most advanced base (for example, the runner at third base if there is a runner at third base or a runner at second base if there is a runner at second base, or if there is no runner at second or third base then the runner at first base) may be counted as out and two outs may be accrued to the team at bat. According to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure, a ground rule double may be awarded to the batter if a fielder knocks a ball outside the pool while attempting to catch it. Similarly, if a fielder intentionally hits the ball out of the pool from the third area 23, then the batter may be awarded a triple. If the ball is caught on the deck 26 outside of the pool or in the foul area 28, then the batter is still out, but if the fielder drops the ball then the ball may still be regarded as a foul ball. When the diving board is used as a home run area 24, then a rule could be used that fielders may not attempt to catch the ball when it is flying directly toward the diving board. According to such a rule, if the ball lands on the diving board it is a home run, and if a fielder attempts to catch it or interfere with it then it can result in an automatic home run. In addition, there may be restrictions as to the number of players on the fielding team that must be in the water or that must be outside of the pool. Similarly, according to an aspect of the rules of the game, if a fielder contacts the ball but a second fielder catches it, it still may be counted as an out. It will be understood that numerous modifications, substitutions and additions to the rules of the game are possible without changing the game concept or departing from the spirit of the game.

FIG. 1 also shows a home run wall 41 that may be set up inside the pool 60. In such a setup, the home run area 24 is the area of the swimming pool behind the home run wall 41.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the strikepad 30. The strikepad 30 may include a flat main body 31 that rests on a side of the swimming pool 60, a downward extending surface 35 that lies just inside the pool, and the strike surface 33, which may be provided as a curved surface or a curved edge that faces the inside of the swimming the pool and lies above or just inside. As shown in FIG. 3, the strike surface 33 may project over the side of the swimming pool. The embodiment of the strikepad 30 illustrated in FIG. 2 includes a center section 31a projecting from main body 31 that may be thinner than main body 31 and extends toward the pool.

FIG. 2 also shows the backstop 42 provided as a net for catching balls. The backstop 42 may be formed of a plastic or nylon mesh material or another type of netting and may be provided to surround the strikepad 30, such that the flat main body 31 lies inside the backstop 42 or lies on top of the bottom 44 of the backstop 42. The backstop may surround all or most of the strikepad, or at least the flat main body 41 on both sides, behind and/or above.

Another embodiment of the backstop 42 is shown in FIG. 3. This embodiment of the backstop 42 includes goal posts on both sides and above the open area of the backstop facing the post. This embodiment as illustrated as having netting made with larger holes and may resemble a soccer, hockey, water polo or other such net.

The downward extending surface 35 together with the flat main body 31 serve to hug the strikepad to the edge of the swimming pool and to keep it in place. While described as swimming pool 60, the body of water may be provided as a natural or other type of body of water, such as a pond or lake.

Another embodiment of the strikepad is shown in FIG. 7. The downward extending surface 35 is illustrated in this embodiment as comprising two legs 35a and 35b positioned at either side of the strike surface 33. The curvature of the strike surface 33 may be varied. As shown in FIG. 7, the strike surface 33 is convex and is not quite a half circle, however it would be understood that the strike surface 33 may be provided as larger or smaller, as encompassing a smaller or greater member of degrees of a circle, and the curvature may be more or less pronounced.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, the coping surface may be concave. FIG. 5 illustrates a coping surface provided by an edge of a side of the swimming pool that “naturally” provides a concave coping surface because the wall of the swimming pool is concave. A lip or ledge, illustrated in FIG. 6, at the edge of the wall of the pool could thus be concave and could serve as the coping surface, as could a strikepad with a concave strike surface configuration. Further, exemplary relationships between features of the strikepad are illustrated in FIGS. 9A-9D and are provided by way of illustrative example only, and the game may be played with a strikepad with different dimensions and a different configuration, or with no strikepad at all.

FIG. 7 shows that the strikepad 30 is assembled from several parts, including a top portion 52 that includes a top surface of the main body, and may include a top portion 33a of the strike surface 33, and a bottom portion 51 that includes the lower portion of the flat main body that contacts the ground adjacent swimming pool and the downward extending surface, here illustrated as legs 35a and 35b. This bottom portion 51 may also include a portion of the strike surface 33b.

According to an aspect of Applicant's disclosure, the strikepad may form a cavity for holding water therein. For example, the cavity may be formed in top portion 33a and bottom portion 33b. The water contained inside the cavity in the strikepad may provide for a heavier and more stable strikepad, and may provide for a better strike surface for the ball because of the sturdier contact made against the thrown ball. Also shown in FIG. 7 is a cap 55 that is received in hole 53 formed in the top portion 52 and cap 55 may join the top portion 52 with the bottom portion 51. Cap 55 may seal the water inside the cavity.

A curved strike surface may be advantageous because it allows a hitter to control to some extent where a fly ball will land in the playing area and thus allows for variety of play and use of a large part of the playing area. At the same time a curved hitting surface makes it difficult for fielders to know exactly where the ball will fly.

Thus provided is a game that may encourage players to jump inside the pool and/or dive into the pool to catch fly balls, and may engender a sense of personal freedom as players “sacrifice their body” to catch a ball by jumping and/or diving without serious injury because of the protection offered by the water.

Although the present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art.