Title:
LACROSSE STICK AND LACROSSE STICK SHAFT HAVING AN INSERT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lacrosse stick shaft and a lacrosse stick are provided. The shaft includes an elongated body having a length extending along a longitudinal axis. The body has an exterior surface and an interior surface extending along the length of the body. The interior surface defines an interior space. The shaft also includes an insert disposed within the interior space, the insert extending along the length of the body. The lacrosse stick includes a head connected to one end of the shaft.



Inventors:
Luehrsen, Robert A. (Libertyville, IL, US)
Luehrsen, John R. (Libertyville, IL, US)
Luehrsen, Patrick A. (Libertyville, IL, US)
Application Number:
14/638825
Publication Date:
11/19/2015
Filing Date:
03/04/2015
Assignee:
LUEHRSEN ROBERT A.
LUEHRSEN JOHN R.
LUEHRSEN PATRICK A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/34.1
International Classes:
A63B59/00
View Patent Images:
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Other References:
Webpage download, Ghostshaft2014 , 2014, gear.laxallstars.com/ghost‐shaft‐wolf‐athletics/, 8 pages
Webpage download, Lacrosseplayground2012, 2012, www.lacrosseplayground.com/crooked‐arrows‐branded‐shafts‐from‐bamshaft/, 2 pages
Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A lacrosse stick shaft comprising: an elongated body having a length extending along a longitudinal axis, the body having an exterior surface and interior surface extending along the length of the body, the interior surface defining an interior space; and an insert disposed within the interior space, the insert extending along the length of the body.

2. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 1, wherein the insert is a longitudinal rib connected to the interior surface extending along the length of the body and extending across the interior space in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis.

3. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 2, wherein in the longitudinal rib extends diametrically across the interior space.

4. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 2, wherein the longitudinal rib is integrally formed as one, continuous piece with the body.

5. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 1, wherein the insert is a hollow tubular insert disposed in the interior space and extending along the length of the body.

6. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 5, wherein the tubular insert is cylindrical and is centered on the longitudinal axis.

7. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 1, wherein the tubular insert contacts at least a portion of the inner surface of the body.

8. The lacrosse stick shaft claim 5, wherein the tubular insert is formed from a carbon composite.

9. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 1, wherein the body is formed from polycarbonate.

10. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 9, wherein the body is translucent or transparent.

11. The lacrosse stick shaft of claim 10, wherein a graphic is formed on the insert and is visible through the body.

12. A lacrosse stick comprising: a shaft having an elongated body with a length extending along a longitudinal axis, the body having an exterior surface and interior surface extending along the length of the body, the interior surface defining an interior space; an insert disposed within the interior space, the insert extending along the length of the body; and a head connected to one end of the shaft.

13. The lacrosse stick of claim 12, wherein the insert is a longitudinal rib connected to the interior surface and extending across the interior space in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis, and along the length of the interior space in the direction of the longitudinal axis.

14. The lacrosse stick of claim 12, wherein the insert is a hollow tubular insert disposed in the interior space and extending along the length of the body.

15. The lacrosse stick of claim 12, wherein the body is formed from polycarbonate.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The following description relates to a shaft for a lacrosse stick, for example, a shaft having an insert or internal support.

Lacrosse sticks include a shaft (also referred to as a handle) and a head affixed at one end of the shaft for handling a lacrosse ball. Lacrosse shafts may vary in length depending at which player position the stick is intended to be used. For example, attackers or midfielders typically use a 30 inch shaft, goalkeepers a 40 inch shaft and defenders a 60 inch shaft.

Lacrosse shafts are typically made from either metal or a carbon composite material, such as carbon fiber. A metal lacrosse shaft may be formed from, for example, a metal alloy material including aluminum, scandium and/or titanium. These materials have been chosen because of certain physical properties, for example a strength-to-weight ratio. In addition, these materials may be made to form shafts having a desired stiffness so that player retains a desired level of control and accuracy through movement of the stick to pass or shoot the ball.

In the course of use, the lacrosse shaft may be exposed to a variety of different forces and impacts. For example, in a shooting motion, a player may swing a stick generally through an arc to propel the ball from the head toward a target. This motion subjects the shaft to bending forces through an acceleration and deceleration of the shaft. In addition, the lacrosse shaft may be subject to localized impact forces from contact with other lacrosse sticks, a goal frame, the ball, other players, and the like. Further still, a lacrosse stick may be subject to forces from the contact with the ground, which may again impart a bending force on the shaft.

However, the forces and impacts described above may cause conventional lacrosse shafts, i.e., those made from a metal, metal alloy or carbon composite, to be damaged or possibly fail. For example, a localized impact on a conventional lacrosse shaft may cause a plastic deformation in the shaft in the form of a dent or bend. In some cases, such an impact may cause the shaft to buckle or fail, rendering the lacrosse stick unusable.

Moreover, the speed at which the ball travels, for example, during shooting, is dependent, in part, on the stiffness or flexibility of the shaft. Increased stiffness of a shaft may generally allow for a higher velocity ball speed during the shot depending on a speed of the shaft. However, in order to increase stiffness, the thickness of the shaft must be increased and/or different materials must be used. Thicker shafts result in unwanted additional weight and other materials may not have the durability of known materials and/or may be cost prohibitive. Additional weight negatively impacts shaft speed during a shooting motion of the stick as more energy is required to move the shaft at a higher speed.

Materials having greater flexibility than metals, metal alloys and carbon composites have been considered for use in shafts. For example a polymer has been considered. However, these materials, while offering greater flexibility, as discussed above, are often too flexible. For example, in the case of a polymer, the shaft may elastically bend or flex during a shooting or passing motion to an extent where a player loses velocity, accuracy or control of the ball while shooting or passing. Stiffness of the shaft may be increased by increasing wall thickness. However, again, this results in an increase in weight and material costs.

Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a shaft for a lacrosse stick that is durable and elastically flexible while maintaining a desired stiffness, for example, to allow for a desired level of control, speed and accuracy when passing or shooting a lacrosse ball.

SUMMARY

According to one embodiment, there is provided a lacrosse stick shaft having an elongated body with a length extending along a longitudinal axis, the body having an exterior surface and interior surface extending along the length of the body, the interior surface defining an interior space, and an insert disposed within the interior space, the insert extending along the length of the body.

According to another embodiment, there is provided a lacrosse stick including a shaft having an elongated body with a length extending along a longitudinal axis. The body has an exterior surface and interior surface extending along the length of the body, the interior surface defining an interior space. An insert is disposed within the interior space and extends along the length of the body. A head is connected to one end of the shaft.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the disclosure will be apparent from the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheets of drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, elements, components, steps, and processes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a lacrosse stick including a shaft and a head according to an embodiment described herein;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a section of a shaft for a lacrosse stick according to an embodiment described herein;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view along the longitudinal axis of the shaft shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing a variation of the shaft of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing a section of a shaft for a lacrosse stick according to another embodiment described herein; and

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view along the longitudinal axis of the shaft of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While the present disclosure is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings and will hereinafter be described one or more embodiments with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered illustrative only and is not intended to limit the disclosure to any specific embodiment described or illustrated.

FIG. 1 shows a lacrosse stick 10 having a shaft 12, 112 and a head 14 connected to one end of the shaft 12, 112. The head 14 may be connected to the shaft 12, 112 with a fastening mechanism, such as a screw or bolt, commonly used and known to those having skill in the art. As shown in FIG. 1, the shaft 12, 112 includes a first, free end 16 and a second end 18 to which the head 14 may be fastened.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a section of the shaft 12, according to an embodiment described herein. FIG. 3 is cross-sectional view of the shaft 12 shown in FIG. 2. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the shaft 12 includes an elongated body 20 having a length extending long a longitudinal axis ‘L’. The body 20 has an outwardly facing exterior surface 21 and an inwardly facing interior surface 22 extending along the length of the body 20. The interior surface 22 defines an interior space 24 that also extends along the length of the body 20.

In one embodiment, the body 20 may be formed having a substantially octagonal shape when viewed in the direction of the longitudinal axis ‘L’ as shown in FIG. 3. The octagonal shape may be a substantially concave octagonal shape, where each side about the outer periphery is formed with a concavity. Said differently, each side of the octagonal shape, forming an outer periphery of the shaft, may be curved or bowed inwardly toward the longitudinal axis ‘L’ at or near a central section of each side.

With further reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the shaft 12 also includes an insert disposed within the interior space 24 extending along the length of the body 20. In one embodiment, the insert is a longitudinal rib 26. The rib 26 may extend along the entire length of the body 20, i.e., from the first end 16 to the second end 18. However, it is understood that this this description is not limited to such a configuration.

Further, the rib 26 may extend across the interior space 24 in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis ‘L’. In one embodiment, the rib 26 may extend diametrically across the interior space 24. That is, the rib 26 may extend through, i.e., intersect, the longitudinal axis ‘L’, within the interior space, and extend between diametrically opposite points on the interior surface 22.

In one embodiment, the rib 26 may have a substantially constant thickness extending across the interior space 24. In addition, the rib 26 may extend substantially, entirely within a plane and include two oppositely facing substantially planar surfaces 28. That is, the rib 26 may define a plane extending within the interior space 24. However, it is understood that the present description is not limited to this example, and other configurations of the rib 26 are envisioned. Further, in one embodiment, the plane defined by the insert or rib 26 is transverse to a plane for the head 14. In this manner, the plane of the rib 26 is parallel to the direction in which the ball is released from the head 14 to increase stiffness in a shooting or release direction.

The rib 26 may be formed integrally and contiguously, as a single, continuous, uninterrupted piece with the body 20. The body 20 and rib 26 may be formed together, by, for example, molding or extrusion. However, it is understood that the present description is not limited to this example. For example, the body 20 and rib 26 may be integrally formed by other suitable processes. Alternatively, the rib 26 may be formed separately from the body 20 and secured within the body 20 using suitable fastening techniques, such as a positive interlock, interference or friction fit. Other suitable, non-limiting, fastening techniques may include the use of adhesives or other known fasteners to secure the rib 26 at a desired position within the body 20.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing a variation of the shaft of FIG. 2. Referring to FIGS. 1-4, the body 20 may be made from a polymer. In one embodiment, the body 20 is made from polycarbonate. However, it is understood that the other suitable polymers may be used as well. The body 20 may be light-transmissive, e.g., translucent or transparent, so that the rib 26 in the interior space 24 is visible through the body 20, as shown in FIG. 4. The rib 26 may be marked with a graphic 30, for example, a brand or model name or logo. Other types of graphic or visual indicia are envisioned as well, including, but not limited to, different designs, patterns, colors, logos, alpha-numeric characters, symbols and/or words. The rib 26 may also be light-transmissive, e.g., translucent or transparent. The shaft 12, including body 20, and/or the insert or rib 26 may also be formed from or with a photoluminescent material so that the shaft 12 provides a “glow” affect.

In one embodiment, a wall thickness of the body 20 may between, for example, 0.07 inches and 0.11 inches. For example, in a particular embodiment, the wall thickness of the body 20 may be about 0.09 inches. The wall thickness may be generally constant about a periphery of the body 20, but may vary in the vicinity of angles or bends between the sides of the body 20. Further, the rib 26 may be formed having a thickness between, for example, 0.11 inches and 0.14 inches. For example, in one embodiment, the rib 26 has a thickness of about 0.125 inches. Further still, the shaft 12 may be formed having different maximum dimensions in different directions. For example, in one embodiment, the shaft 12, when viewed in a direction of the longitudinal axis ‘L’ may have a minor dimension ‘M1’ between 0.8 inches and 0.96 inches, and preferably about 0.88 inches. In addition, the shaft 12, when viewed in the direction of the longitudinal axis ‘L’ may have a major dimension ‘M2’, perpendicular to the minor dimension ‘M1’ and to the longitudinal axis ‘L’ between, for example, 1.06 inches and 1.08 inches, and preferably about 1.07 inches. The minor dimension ‘M1’ may be a width and the major dimension ‘M2’ may be a height, as viewed in FIG. 3. In one embodiment, the rib 26 may extend across the interior space 24 in the direction of the major dimension ‘M2’. However, it is understood that the present disclosure is not limited to this configuration and in particular, these dimensions or ranges. It is understood that the various dimensions, including wall thickness, rib thickness, minor dimension and major dimension may be varied during manufacture to achieve desirable physical shaft properties, including, for example, weight, stiffness, flexibility and strength.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing a section of a shaft 112 for a lacrosse stick 10 according to another embodiment described herein. FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view along the longitudinal axis ‘L’ of the shaft 112 of FIG. 5. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the insert may be alternatively formed as a hollow tubular insert 126 disposed in the interior space 24 and extending along the length of the body 20. In one embodiment, the tubular insert 126 may extend along the entire length of the body 20, i.e., from the first end 16 to the second end 18. It is understood, however, that the present disclosure is not limited to this configuration, and the tubular insert 126 may extend less than the entire length of the body 20.

With further reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, the tubular insert 126 may be substantially cylindrical in shape, and have a substantially circular cross section when viewed in the direction of the longitudinal axis ‘L’. However, it is understood the present description is not limited to such a configuration. For example, the tubular insert 126 may be elliptical or an elongated oval in cross section. The tubular insert 126 may extend coaxially with the body 20, along the longitudinal axis ‘L’.

In one embodiment, the tubular insert 126 is disposed in the interior space 24 in contact with at least one or portions of the interior surface 22. For example, in one embodiment, the body 20 may be formed generally in the shape of a concave octagon as described above. According to an embodiment described herein, the interior surface 22, at one or more sides of the octagon, may include a positioning rib 132. That is, the interior surface 22 may include a positioning rib 132 at one or more sides of the octagonally shaped body 20. In one embodiment, a positioning rib 132 is positioned at each side of the body 20 at the interior surface 22. However, it is understood that the positioning ribs 132 may be, for example, positioned at every other side, only two sides, or any other number of sides so as to securely position the tubular insert 126 in the interior space 24.

The positioning ribs 132 may extend along an entire length of the body 20, or alternatively, extend less than the entire length, or be intermittently spaced apart along the length. In addition, in one embodiment, each positioning rib 132 includes a contact face 134 (FIG. 6) configured to engage the tubular insert 126. The contact face 134 may be concave so as to match an outer profile of the tubular insert 126. However, the contact faces 134 are not limited to such a configuration. For example, the contact faces 134 may be substantially flat.

The tubular insert 126 may be separately formed from the body 20 and inserted into the interior space 24. The tubular insert 126 may be firmly held in the interior space 24 by way of an interference or friction fit against the one or more positioning ribs 132. In other embodiments, the positioning ribs 132 may be omitted at the tubular insert 126 may directly engage the interior surface 22 at spaced apart locations about a perimeter of the tubular insert 126. Alternatively, or in addition, the tubular insert 126 may be secured in the interior space 24 with a fastening mechanism, such as an adhesive or a suitable mechanical fastener, such as a screw or set pin.

In one embodiment, the body 20 may be made from a polymer such as a polycarbonate as described above. The body 20 may be light-transmissive, e.g., translucent or transparent. In addition, the tubular insert 126 may be marked with a graphic, for example, a brand or model name or logo. Other types of graphics or visual indicia are envisioned as well, including, but not limited to, different designs, patterns, colors, logos, alpha-numeric characters, symbols and/or words. The tubular insert 126 may be made from, for example a carbon composite such as carbon fiber.

It is understood that various features described in one embodiment above may be used together with or implemented in other embodiments above. Moreover, it is understood that where certain features in the different embodiments are identified with the same reference number and/or terminology, the features in the different embodiments may be structurally and/or functionally similar but may have different characteristics. For example, these features may have different dimensions or shapes, and/or may be formed of a different material.

In the embodiments above, the insert, for example, the rib 26 or the tubular insert 126 disposed in the interior space 24 of the body 20 of the shaft 12, 112 may add rigidity or stiffness to the shaft 12. Accordingly, a desired ball velocity, level of control and accuracy may be realized in use of the stick 10. However, by forming the shaft 12 from a polymer, such as a polycarbonate, the shaft 12 remains flexible so as to be durable upon impact from different forces. For example, the shaft 12 may flex or bend up to, approximately 90 degrees and still return to its original shape. That is, by using a polymer such as a polycarbonate, the shaft has improved elastic flexibility properties compared to conventional shafts, and the inserts allow the shaft 12 to be sufficiently rigid or stiff during passing and shooting for the player to retain or improve ball velocity, control and accuracy.

In addition, it is understood that different inserts may be better suited for different lengths of shafts. For example, it may be preferable to use the rib 26 insert in an attacker/midfield stick shaft that is approximately 30 inches long, while it may be preferable to use the hollow tubular insert in a longer shaft, such one used in a goalkeeper stick shaft (approximately 40 inches long) or a defender stick shaft (approximately 60 inches long). However, these examples are non-limiting, and the different inserts may be used in different length shafts as desired.

Moreover, in the embodiments above, enhanced performance characteristics may be realized. For example, the flexible shafts 12, 112 described herein, when moved along a path for shooting a lacrosse ball are capable of flexing as a result of acceleration and deceleration forces. The flexing creates a “whipping” effect where energy is initially stored in the shaft as the shaft flexes during acceleration and is released as the shaft continues to move along the path. Thus, the head 14, positioned at a distal end of the shaft, may move at an increased speed compared to a proximate end of the shaft, i.e., a portion being held by the user or player, when the stored energy is released. Accordingly, an increased ball velocity may be realized. That is, when compared to a conventional or stiff shaft lacrosse stick moving a predetermined speed to shoot a ball, the shaft described herein, when moved at the same predetermined speed, may shoot a ball at a higher velocity due to the energy storage and release from the flexing of the shaft.

Lacrosse sticks manufactured with the shafts 12, 112 according to the embodiments described herein, may, for example, propel a ball from head 14 at approximately 6-8 mph faster than with sticks having conventional shafts. Further, even compared to sticks having flex shafts, in the embodiments above, the ball may be propelled approximately 3-4 mph faster. In addition, the flexible shafts 12, 112 described herein may have increased durability and resistance to breaking or failure compared to conventional shafts because external forces and impacts may be absorbed through flexing or elastic deflections of the shafts 12, 112.

It should also be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently disclosed embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.