Title:
Pop-up tackling practice machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pop-up tackling practice machine has a base with a peripheral tube curved at each end for safety, and a plate covering an opening formed by the tube. Outside the tube, two inverted ears are centrally located on the base and extend upwardly and outwardly at oblique angles with respect to the plate. A bracket allows pivotable mounting of a T-shaped handle that may be grasped by a coach standing on the plate. A further bracket is also mounted on the plate to which a multiple use pad may be mounted. The further bracket is vertically adjustable for height adjustment, pivotable with respect to the plate, and the bracket permits rotation with respect to the plate. The underside of the plate has an elongated roller.



Inventors:
Forrest Sr., Charles P. (Spanish Fort, AL, US)
Application Number:
13/373843
Publication Date:
06/06/2013
Filing Date:
12/02/2011
Assignee:
FORREST, SR. CHARLES P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
H. JAY SPIEGEL - H. JAY SPIEGEL & ASSOCIATES (MOUNT VERNON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A pop-up tackling practice machine, comprising: a) a base including a peripheral hollow tube having an arcuate forward end and a rearward end, and a plate attached over said tube and at least partially covering an opening formed by said tube; b) a bracket mounted on said plate forward of said rearward end of said tube and supporting a pad for pivoting movements about a horizontal axis with respect to said plate; c) a pair of ears mounted on opposed sides of said base and extending upwardly therefrom; and d) said machine having a low center of gravity, whereby when said machine is tipped on a side thereof, one of said ears limits the degree of tipping and due to said low center of gravity, said machine automatically rights itself; and e) a chamber on said machine selectively fillable with a material to adjust weight of said machine.

2. The machine of claim 1, wherein said tube is bent upward at said forward end thereof.

3. The machine of claim 2, wherein said plate is correspondingly bent upward.

4. The machine of claim 1, wherein said bracket supports said pad for rotative movements about a vertical axis with respect to said plate.

5. The machine of claim 1, further including a roller mounted on an underside of said plate.

6. The machine of claim 1, wherein each of said ears comprises an inverted U-shaped tube.

7. The machine of claim 6, wherein said ears extend angled outwardly with respect to said peripheral hollow tube.

8. The machine of claim 1, wherein said peripheral hollow tube defines said chamber, and a fill port in said tube facilitating filling a portion of said chamber with said material.

9. The machine of claim 8, wherein said material comprises a mixture of water and antifreeze.

10. The machine of claim 1, further including a further bracket on said plate forward of said bracket, and a handle mounted on said further bracket.

11. The machine of claim 10, wherein said handle is pivotably mounted on said further bracket.

12. The machine of claim 1, wherein an elevation of said pad on said brackets is height adjustable.

13. The machine of claim 8, further including a cap releasably attached to said fill port.

14. The machine of claim 4, further including a further bracket on said plate forward of said bracket, and a handle mounted on said further bracket.

15. The machine of claim 14, wherein said handle is pivotably mounted on said further bracket.

16. The machine of claim 15, further including a roller mounted on an underside of said plate.

17. A pop-up tackling practice machine, comprising: a) a base including a peripheral hollow tube having an arcuate forward end and a rearward end, and a plate attached over said tube and at least partially covering an opening formed by said tube, said tube and plate being bent upward at said forward ends thereof, and a roller mounted under said plate; b) a bracket mounted on said plate forward of said rearward end of said tube and supporting a pad for pivoting movements about a horizontal axis and rotative movements about a vertical axis, with respect to said plate; c) a pair of ears mounted on opposed sides of said base and extending upwardly therefrom; d) said machine having a low center of gravity, whereby when said machine is tipped on a side thereof, one of said ears limits the degree of tipping and due to said low center of gravity, said machine automatically rights itself; and e) a chamber on said machine selectively fillable with a material to adjust weight of said machine.

18. The machine of claim 17, wherein said peripheral hollow tube defines said chamber, and a fill port in said tube facilitating filling a portion of said chamber with said material and a cap releasably attached to said fill port.

19. The machine of claim 17, further including a further bracket on said plate forward of said bracket, and a handle mounted on said further bracket.

20. The machine of claim 19, wherein said handle is pivotably mounted on said further bracket.

21. A pop-up tackling practice machine, comprising: a) a base including a peripheral hollow tube having an arcuate forward end and a rearward end, and a plate attached to said tube and at least partially covering an opening formed by said tube, said peripheral hollow tube defining an internal chamber, and a fill port in said tube facilitating filling a portion of said chamber with liquid; b) a bracket mounted on said plate forward of said rearward end of said tube and supporting a pad; c) a pair of ears mounted on opposed sides of said base and extending upwardly therefrom; and d) said machine having a low center of gravity, whereby when said machine is tipped on a side thereof, one of said ears limits the degree of tipping and due to said low center of gravity, said machine automatically rights itself.

22. A pop-up tackling practice machine, comprising: a) a base including a peripheral hollow tube having an arcuate forward end and a rearward end, and a plate attached to said tube and at least partially covering an opening formed by said tube, said tube being bent upward at said forward end thereof, and a roller mounted under said plate, said peripheral hollow tube defining an internal chamber, and a fill port in said tube facilitating filling a portion of said chamber with liquid and a cap releasably attached to said fill port; b) a bracket mounted on said plate forward of said rearward end of said tube and supporting a pad for pivoting and rotative movements with respect to said plate; c) a pair of ears mounted on opposed sides of said base and extending upwardly therefrom; and d) said machine having a low center of gravity, whereby when said machine is tipped on a side thereof, one of said ears limits the degree of tipping and due to said low center of gravity, said machine automatically rights itself.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an improved pop-up tackling practice machine. Applicant is the originator of the concept that a tackling sled can right itself automatically without the need for any exertion of force on the part of a player or coach. In Applicant's earlier U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,696, a pop-up tackling practice machine was disclosed having triangular upright arms that engaged the ground when the machine is tipped to the side and with a center of gravity causing the machine to automatically right itself. The machine described and claimed in Applicant's earlier patent has become a staple of high school, college and professional football programs, all of which have seen the need to have such a machine in their inventory to enhance the efficiency of practice.

Subsequently, Applicant came up with a new design for the same machine and obtained U.S. Patent Nos. D466,963; D469,142; and D478,954 to cover the ornamental appearance of that improved design. The improved design replaced the triangular upright arms with a single hoop that performed the same function.

Others have devised football training sleds that have similar structure to that of Applicant's earlier Utility patent. Thus, three patents issued to Neil F. Gilman that disclose football training sleds. U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,727,089; 7,955,223; and 7,972,224 all disclose football training sleds having upright arms triangular or rectangular that are incorporated into those devices. While similar in appearance to the teachings of Applicant's earlier Utility patent, these devices are not intended to perform the same function nor do they.

U.S. Patent No. D562,417 to Noojin discloses an athletic training sled having a central upright post apparently provided to be grasped by a user. The Noojin patent does not teach the concept of a football tackling sled that automatically rights itself.

As football practices have evolved and become more efficient, a need has developed for a more efficient, and easier to use and operate pop-up tackling practice machine. It is with this need in mind that the present invention was developed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an improved pop-up tackling practice machine. The present invention includes the following interrelated objects, aspects and features:

(1) In a first aspect, the present invention contemplates a base having an elongated tube at its periphery bent up at the forward end and curved at each end for safety, and a central plate that covers a central opening formed by the tube. Outside the tube, two short inverted U-shaped ears are centrally located on the base and extend upwardly and outwardly at oblique angles with respect to the plate.

(2) A fill port is provided on the peripheral tube to allow the tube to be partially filled with water or other liquid including a mixture of water and antifreeze in cooler climates to allow the base to be weight adjustable when the dummy is hit on the rise as would a tackler. As the base is moved, the water moves within the tube to shift the weight back and forth to increase difficulty of tipping the machine over.

(3) On the plate, a bracket is located that allows pivotable mounting of a T-shaped handle that may be grasped by a coach standing on the plate and may be pivoted to a desired orientation for use in offensive as well as defensive line drills. A further bracket is also mounted on the plate to which a multiple use pad may be mounted. The further bracket is vertically adjustable for height adjustment, pivotable with respect to the plate, and the bracket permits rotation with respect to the plate. In this way, the rotative and vertical orientation of the pad can be adjusted or a player can move the pad to a variety of rotative orientations when hitting the pad during drills.

(4) The underside of the plate has mounted thereto an elongated roller that allows more easy movement of the sled over a ground surface once the pad has been hit by the player.

As such, it is a first object of the present invention to provide an improved pop-up tackling practice machine.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a device in which a peripheral tube may selectively be filled with water or other liquid such as a water-antifreeze mixture to adjust the weight of the base and make the machine harder to drive as weight balance moves with moving liquid, particularly when the pad is hit and the roller is lifted off the ground.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide such a device with obliquely angled short inverted U-shaped ears that facilitate righting the base when it has been turned to the side by a player.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide such a device including a pad mounted on a bracket that may be height adjusted or pivoted and rotated either when hit by a player or positioned in a particular rotative and pivoted orientation.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide such a device in which a T-shaped handle is pivotably mounted on a plate mounted within an opening formed by the peripheral tube.

These and other objects, aspects and features of the present invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment when read in conjunction with the appended drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a rear side exploded perspective view of the inventive machine.

FIG. 2 shows a right side view thereof.

FIG. 3 shows a right rear perspective view with the pad removed to show detail.

FIG. 4 shows a view from the front of the inventive machine.

FIG. 5 shows a right side view with the pad installed.

FIG. 6 shows a left front perspective view with the pad installed.

FIG. 7 shows a rear view with the pad installed.

FIG. 8 shows a right side view with the pad installed and with the machine partially tipped.

FIGS. 9A, 9B and 9C show views with the pad installed and the machine completely tipped to reveal (in FIGS. 9A and 9B) the roller underneath.

FIG. 10 shows a left side schematic exploded representation.

FIG. 11 shows a rear exploded view.

FIG. 12 shows a bottom view of the invention.

FIG. 13 shows a right side schematic view of the invention.

FIG. 14 shows a view looking from the rear of the invention.

FIG. 15 shows a front view of the T-shaped handle of the present invention.

FIG. 16 shows a rear view of the pad bracket.

FIG. 17 shows a side view of the pad bracket.

FIG. 18 shows a front view of the pad bracket.

FIG. 19 shows a view of shock absorbers for the pad bracket and the fill cap for the tube.

FIG. 20 shows the pad rotated with respect to the base.

FIG. 21 shows a bracket shock absorber.

SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Reference is first made to FIGS. 1-9 where the pop-up tackling practice machine is generally designated by the reference numeral 10 and includes a base or sled made up of a peripheral tube 11 that is internally hollow and has a fill port 13 that may selectively be opened to allow filling of material such as water or a water-antifreeze mix facilitating adjustment of the weight of the inventive machine. Within the opening 15 defined by the peripheral tube, an elongated plate 17 is provided. As seen in the figures, at the end of the tube 11 distal from the pad bracket, the tube angles upwardly. As seen, the plate 17 has a portion 19 that correspondingly angles upwardly so that the entirety of the plate 17, 19 mimics the angulation of the tube 11 and provides a platform on which a coach or player may stand.

Centrally located on the plate 17 is a T-shaped handle 21 including a rod 23 and a grasping handle 25. The T-shaped handle 21 is mounted on a bracket 27 welded or otherwise suitably attached to the plate 17. As seen in FIG. 15, the rod 23 includes a pull pin 29 that interfaces with the bracket 27 to allow either locking of the rod 23 in the position shown, for example, in FIG. 1, or pivoting of the rod to a desired orientation such as shown in FIGS. 4, 6 and 8. As also shown in FIG. 15, a threaded fastener 31 is provided at the bottom of the rod 23 and that fastener 31 is also seen extending through the bracket 27 to pivotably mount the rod 23 thereon.

With further reference to FIGS. 1-9, it is seen that a further bracket 33 is provided that supports a pad bracket 35 for pivotable movement about a pivot rod 37. The pad bracket 35 is also so mounted that it is able to be rotated with respect to the plate 17 by actions of a player blocking the pad 30. This rotatable mount is best seen with reference to FIG. 10 which shows a lower portion 36 of the bracket 35 with circular cross section and received for relative rotation within a circular opening 40 of the block 38 that pivots about pivot rod 37. FIG. 20 shows the pad 30 rotated with respect to the base. As shown in FIG. 21, the bracket 35 may have a shock absorber 42 mounted between it and a mounting block 44. The shock absorber 42 absorbs shocks when a player strikes the pad 30. Additionally, another shock absorber 48 (FIG. 19) may be coupled to bracket 35 by fitting 56. The shock absorber 48 consists of a coil spring 54 captured within cups 50 and 52, with the fitting extending centrally within the spring 54 coils. The shock absorber 48 absorbs shocks from hitting the pad 30 laterally from either side thereof.

As seen with particular reference to FIGS. 4-9, the bracket 35 has mounted thereon the pad 30. As seen in FIG. 7 in particular, the pad 30 consists of an upper pad portion 39 and a lower pad portion 41. These portions may be assembled and may be movable with respect to one another. The pad 39 includes laterally extending arms 43 and 45, while the lower pad 41 has laterally extending arms 47 and 49.

As best seen with respect to FIGS. 16-18, a portion of the pad bracket 35 includes an upper inverted U-shaped tube 51 connected to a lower attachment member 53 that has a plurality of holes 55 therein which can be aligned with holes 57 in a lower bracket portion 59 and whereby pins may be inserted in the aligned holes 55, 57 to vertically adjust the vertical position of the U-shaped member 51 with respect to the lower portion 53. Additional pins 61, 63, particularly shown in FIG. 17, are also useful in adjusting the vertical position of the bracket portion 51 with respect to the lower portion 53. A pull pin may be located behind the lower pad to facilitate quick height adjustment.

With reference to FIGS. 1-9, extending obliquely from the sides of the tube 11 are two inverted U-shaped arms or ears 67 and 69. The angulation of these arms with respect to the tube 11 is best seen in FIG. 4. FIG. 14 also shows the arms 67 and 69 and notes a preferred angulation with respect to the horizontal of 45°. The arms 67 and 69 are provided to prevent the inventive device 10 from completely tipping over in use. Once the device is tipped over as shown in FIG. 9, the arm 67 or 69 precludes further movement of the device 10, whereupon its low center of gravity causes it to pop back to the position shown in FIGS. 1-7.

With particular reference to FIGS. 9A and 9B, it is seen that the underside of the plate 17 reveals a roller 77 rotatably mounted on a bracket 79, 81. The roller rotates on an axle and the bracket allows vertical adjustment of the elevation of the roller 77 with respect to the plate 17 a distance of about 4″ to 6″. This is also seen with reference to FIG. 12. The roller 77 permits the device 10 to more easily glide along the ground when it is not being tipped over to one side or the other. The roller 77 may be vertically adjusted with respect to the plate 17.

FIG. 13 also shows the location of the roller 77.

The present invention other than the pad is preferably made of metal components including steel tubing, steel plates, and steel rods as well as strong metal fasteners. The fill port may include a valve or a screw on cap 14 releasably attachable on a tube 13.

Through use of the present invention, a player or coach may stand on the plate 17 and grasp the handle 21 to make sure they are secure on the plate 17 when the device 10 is moved by a player. The bracket 35 is vertically adjustable to adjust the vertical location of the pad 30. The bracket 35 is also rotatable with respect to the plate 17, either through adjustment or impact on the pad 30 by a player. The rod 23 is pivotable with respect to the bracket 17 to allow it to be laid down flat as shown, for example, in FIG. 4.

As best seen with respect to FIGS. 8 and 9, the inventive device 10 may be pivoted sideways. Based on its low center of gravity, it will automatically right itself to the orientation shown in FIGS. 1-7.

Accordingly, an invention has been disclosed in terms of a preferred embodiment thereof which fulfills each and every one of the objects of the invention as set forth hereinabove, and provides a new and useful improved pop-up tackling practice machine of great novelty and utility.

Of course, various changes, modifications, and alterations in the teachings of the present invention may be contemplated by those skilled in the art without departing from the intended spirit and scope thereof.

As such, it is intended that the present invention only be limited by the terms of the appended claims.