Title:
BAT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a bat having a handle and a body, part of the body including a hitting area which in use is intended to hit a ball, wherein at least a portion of the hitting area is made of a resilient material. The incorporation of a resilient material into a part of the hitting area of (preferably) an otherwise normal bat means that a batsman is typically able to use the bat to hit a ball for e.g. a given distance or speed, with less effort than using a regular bat. Clearly this improves the ability of the batsman to provide, for example, fielding training.



Inventors:
Cornford, James (Weston Cheshire, GB)
Cornford, Bill (Weston Cheshire, GB)
Application Number:
12/672331
Publication Date:
12/09/2010
Filing Date:
07/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STITES & HARBISON PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A bat including a handle and a body, part of the body including a hitting area which is intended to be used to hit a ball, wherein at least a portion of the hitting area is made of a resilient material.

2. A bat according to claim 1 wherein the resilience of the resilient material is greater than that of the rest of the body.

3. A bat according to claim 1 or 2 wherein the resilient material is a rubber or a polyurethane foam.

4. A bat according to any one of the above claims wherein the portion of the hitting area which is made from resilient material is in place of an equivalent section of the hitting area which the bat would otherwise normally include.

5. A bat according to any one of claims 1-3 wherein the portion of the hitting area which is made of resilient material is in addition to the hitting area which the bat would otherwise normally include.

6. A bat according to any one of the above claims wherein the body is rigid.

7. A bat according to any one of the above claims wherein the non-hitting area section of the body extends adjacent to the entire hitting area so as to provide support to it.

8. A bat according to any one of the above claims wherein the entire hitting area is made of the resilient material.

9. A bat according to any one of the above claims wherein the resilient material is a closed cellular polyurethane foam.

10. A bat according to claim 9 wherein the closed cellular polyurethane foam has a density of between three hundred and three hundred and fifty kilograms per metre cubed.

11. A bat according to any one of the above claims wherein the bat is a cricket bat, baseball bat, softball bat or rounders bat.

12. A bat substantially as any one embodiment herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Description:

The present invention relates to a bat, of the general type used in many sports for hitting a ball. In particular, it relates to a bat which is more suitable for training or practice sessions than the normal type of bat for any given sport.

The present invention has been developed particularly in relation to cricket bats and baseball bats and will generally be described on that basis. However the principles of the invention are preferably applicable to other types of bats.

In many, if not all, bat-and-ball sports, the nature of the particular bat to be used in any given sport is usually closely regulated. For example, the dimensions, construction and/or material of the bat may be carefully prescribed.

Generally players will train using the same type of bat which they have to use in actual matches or games. For example, in cricket or baseball some training will involve a batsman hitting the ball in various ways so that fielders may practice aspects of fielding. Generally, using a normal bat in this way continuously can be quite tiring for a batsman.

Therefore, in its broadest sense, the present invention aims to provide a bat which is more easily and comfortably usable by a batsman in training.

Accordingly regarding the first aspect, the present invention provides a bat having a handle and a body, part of the body including a hitting area which in use is intended to hit a ball, wherein at least a portion of the hitting area is made of a resilient material.

The incorporation of a resilient material into a part of the hitting area of (preferably) an otherwise normal bat means that a batsman is typically able to use the bat to hit a ball for e.g. a given distance or speed, with less effort than using a regular bat. Clearly this improves the ability of the batsman to provide, for example, fielding training as explained above.

Preferably the resiliency of the resilient material is greater than that of the rest of the body. Resiliency of a material is often measured by it's modulus of resilience so preferably the modulus of resilience of the resilient material is greater than the modulus of the resilience of the material used for the fabrication of some or all of the rest of the body.

Also preferably the entire hitting area of the bat is made from the, or a, resilient material.

However, a further hitting area of the bat may be provided in addition to at least a part of the hitting area being provided by the resilient material. The further hitting area preferably is formed from a material which is stiffer, e.g. less resilient, than the resilient material. Preferably, the further hitting area is formed of wood, plastic or metal, e.g. aluminium, as described later. The further hitting area is preferably formed on a surface of the bat which is opposite to that of the hitting area. For example, the hitting surface and the further hitting surface may respectively be formed on the front and back surfaces of the bat, or vice versa.

Advantageously, this gives the batsman, or hitter, the ability to modify the training techniques for which the bat can be used. For example, the hitting area incorporating the resilient material can be used for fast or long-range fielding practice, whereas the further hitting area can be used for other types of fielding practice, such as slip-fielding practice (using cricket as an example) where a ball might be edged or faced to a slip fielder, for example. The further hitting area may be formed to resemble the hitting area of a regular ball hitting area of a regular bat of the appropriate sport. For example, the further hitting area may be formed to resemble the ball hitting area of a regular cricket bat, baseball bat, softball bat or rounders bat.

The resiliency of the resilient material need not be uniform throughout the material, although preferably it is. Alternatively, the resiliency of the resilient material may vary, or even a plurality of different materials of differing resiliencies be used to create the portion of the hitting area referred to.

Preferably the body is rigid. For example, in a typical bat, the body may be made from wood, metal, carbon fibre or glass fibre. As mentioned previously, typical bats in which the present invention may be used are any or all of cricket bats, softball bats, baseball bats and rounders bats. Depending on the type of bat in question, preferably the non-hitting area section of the body extends adjacent to the entire hitting area so as to provide support to it.

Again, depending on the particular type of bat in question, the portion of hitting area which is made from the resilient material may be in place of an equivalent section of hitting area which would otherwise normally be included in such a bat, i.e. a bat according to the present invention may be of the same general dimensions as a normal bat for that particular sport. Alternatively, the portion of the hitting area made from the resilient material may be in addition to the normal hitting area of the bat in question, in which case the dimensions of the bat (such as it's thickness) may be different to or greater than the normal dimensions for such a bat.

Preferably the resilient material is a rubber or polyurethane foam material. More preferably it is a closed cellular polyurethane foam. In particular, the density of the resilient material may be chosen so as to provide the required level of resilience. For example, if a closed cellular polyurethane foam is being used then the density is preferably between 200 and 450 kg per m3, and more preferably between 300 and 350 kg per m3.

In a separate aspect the present invention provides a method of manufacturing a bat consisting of fabricating the various elements described above to produce the bat.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of the present invention, which is a bat intended for use in relation to cricket (FIG. 1a shows a front view of the bat, FIG. 1b a side view and FIG. 1c an end view).

FIG. 2 shows a second embodiment of a bat incorporating aspects of the present invention, which is intended for use in relation to baseball (FIG. 2a shows a perspective view of the bat, FIG. 2b an end view and FIG. 2c a side view).

FIG. 3 shows a third embodiment of a bat incorporating aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows a bat which is essentially a cricket bat which includes a handle (2) attached to a body generally shown as (4). In fact in this particular example the handle and body are fabricated together from a single piece of material, though that is not necessarily the case. Also, in this particular example, the dimensions of the bat are such that it is relatively short compared to a normal cricket bat. In other words, the ratio of handle length to body length is greater than normal. For example, the ratio of handle length may be less than 1:2, more preferably less than 2:3 and perhaps even as low as 1:1.

The body has a hitting area shown generally as (6). A portion of the hitting area (8) (seen more clearly in FIG. 1b) is made of a resilient material, and in particular preferably a material which is more resilient than that of the rest of the body. As can be seen clearly in FIGS. 1b and 1c, in this particular example, the area of resilient material (8) makes up almost all of the total hitting area of the bat. In other examples, the area of the resilient material may be less than the total hitting area. Also in this particular example, the resilient material (8) is effectively an additional layer of material fixed (e.g. by glue) onto what would otherwise be the normal hitting area (10) of a typical cricket bat. In this example, the portion (10) of the body which would otherwise be the normal hitting area extends adjacent to the entire hitting area (8) so as to provide support to it.

In this particular example, the area (12) of the body closest to the handle (2) is tapered or waisted. Also, the rear area (14) of the body is shaped so as to form a ridge (16) at the back of the body along it's length to help provide the appropriate bat characteristics.

The typical dimensions of the bat of FIG. 1 may be as follows: body length 35-45 cm, handle length 25-30 cm, body width 9-11 cm. The typical weight of this bat is 1-1.25 kg. The bat may have a strengthening rod (not shown) through the centre of the blade, e.g. made of carbon fibre.

As mentioned previously, the resilient material used on hitting area (8) may be any suitable material providing the desired resilient characteristics to give the appropriate bat performance. However, particularly suitable materials are rubber and polyurethane foam, in particular closed cellular polyurethane foam. The thickness of the layer resilient material and the density of the material chosen may be related and may depend on the performance characteristics required. In one example, where the resilient material is a closed cellular polyurethane foam, the density of the foam is between 300 and 350 kg per metre3. The thickness (i.e. depth) of the resilient material is 2-4 cm, preferably around 3 cm. Other types of polyurethane foam may also be suitable, for example polyether based polyurethane foam, reticulated polyurethane foam, or polyisocyanurate foam. Trade names of two suitable materials are Vulcalan™ and Vulcacel™.

Typical materials for the manufacture of the main body of the bat are the usual materials for cricket bats i.e. wood of various types (willow, poplar, ash, beech, hickory), composite materials (carbon fibre, Kevlar or glass fibre) or metal (DEG aluminium).

In another example (not shown), the rear area (14) of the bat may not form the ridge (16) but may form a further hitting area instead. The further hitting area may be formed to function as a hitting area similar to that of a regular bat. In other words the bat may be reversible to provide two hitting areas, one hitting area which incorporates the area of resilient material, the (further) other hitting area preferably being formed of a respectively different material which would e.g. typically be used to make up the regular hitting area of a regular bat in the appropriate sport, e.g. the further hitting area may be formed as a cricket bat ball hitting face. The different material may be any of the typical materials set out in the preceding paragraph. The different material may be the same as the material from which the body of the bat is formed. The different material is preferably stiffer, e.g. less resilient, than the resilient material(s) described herein. The different material is preferably less compliant than the resilient material(s) described herein.

FIG. 2 shows a different embodiment of a bat incorporating the present invention. In this example, the bat is of the style typically used in baseball, softball or rounders (depending on size). In other words, it consists of a handle (20) connected to a generally cylindrical body (22).

The body (22) has a hitting area (24), which in this particular example is made of a resilient material, which again is preferably a material of a different resilience to the rest of the body (22). Also in this example, the entire hitting area is made of the resilient material, but as before this need not be the case. However, unlike the cricket bat example of FIG. 1, with this particular style of bat the resilient material is effectively used in place of a part of the body which would otherwise make up the hitting area, i.e. the overall size, shape and/or appearance of the bat is similar to that of a normal bat for the particular sport in question.

As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 2b, in this particular example the portion of resilient material replaces more than half of what would otherwise be the body. In other words, viewed from the end of the bat (FIG. 2b), which is generally circular, the portion of the resilient material (24) takes up an arc of approximately 240° of the body of the bat at that point.

To put it another way, of the overall body of the bat, approximately two thirds of the surface area is made of the resilient material and only one third (26) is made of the normal body material. So, the face provided by the body portion (26) can act as a regular ball hitting face, making the bat reversible as described above.

Suitable resilient materials and body materials are as described previously with reference to the cricket bat embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a further embodiment of a bat using aspects of the present invention. In this example, the bat is similar to a baseball bat but with a generally planer face (30). So the bat consists of a handle (32) connected to a body (34). The hitting area (36) of the body (34) is again made of a resilient material (38) for the purposes as previously described. Suitable body materials and resilient material are also as previously described.

It is to be understood that the invention is not intended to be restricted to the details of the above described embodiments, which are described by way of example only. A skilled person will appreciate that modifications can be made within the scope of the invention.





 
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