US20060226608A1 - Apparatus and method for providing a target zone - Google Patents

Apparatus and method for providing a target zone Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060226608A1
US20060226608A1 US11/104,921 US10492105A US2006226608A1 US 20060226608 A1 US20060226608 A1 US 20060226608A1 US 10492105 A US10492105 A US 10492105A US 2006226608 A1 US2006226608 A1 US 2006226608A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
zone
accordance
elastic strands
strand
apparatus
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11/104,921
Inventor
Kent Hanson
Peter Hanson
Original Assignee
Kent Hanson
Peter Hanson
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Kent Hanson, Peter Hanson filed Critical Kent Hanson
Priority to US11/104,921 priority Critical patent/US20060226608A1/en
Publication of US20060226608A1 publication Critical patent/US20060226608A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B63/00Targets or goals for ball games
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/0002Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for baseball
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41JTARGETS; TARGET RANGES; BULLET CATCHERS
    • F41J1/00Targets; Target stands; Target holders
    • F41J1/10Target stands; Target holders
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/0002Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for baseball
    • A63B2069/0004Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for baseball specially adapted for particular training aspects
    • A63B2069/0006Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for baseball specially adapted for particular training aspects for pitching
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/02Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00 for large-room or outdoor sporting games
    • A63B71/023Supports, e.g. poles
    • A63B2071/026Supports, e.g. poles stabilised by weight

Abstract

An apparatus and method for providing a target zone for an object in motion is disclosed. An apparatus includes an inelastic strand that defines a perimeter of a zone, and at least two elastic strands. Each elastic strand is connected to a point along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • In many sports and other activities, the ability to provide a target is of paramount importance for learning and training. For example, many devices exist that provide a target against or through which a person can throw a ball. Many of these devices, however, do not provide a target zone that is positioned and suspended in a particular location in free space, and which yield for an object that makes contact with the device so that the target zone maintains its shape and position.
  • For instance, many target devices will change the trajectory of an object if contact is made. As such, these devices really cannot provide a true and effective target zone of desired dimensions, which can be used in realistic situations of the associated sport or activity. What is needed is an apparatus and system for providing a target zone in free space and which can be employed in realistic sports situations.
  • SUMMARY
  • An apparatus and method for providing a target zone for an object in motion is disclosed. In one aspect, an apparatus includes an inelastic strand that defines a perimeter of a zone, and at least two elastic strands. Each elastic strand is connected to a point along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape.
  • In another aspect, a system for providing a target zone for an object in motion includes an inelastic strand that defines a perimeter of a zone, and at least two elastic strands. Each elastic strand is connected to a point along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape. The system further includes a support having an attachment mechanism to which the at least two elastic strands can be connected to suspend the zone at a predetermined height.
  • The support can include two support structures. Each support structures may be formed as a post connected to a base for placement on a substantially planar surface. The post can be telescopically arranged to a particular desired height.
  • In yet another aspect, a method for providing a target zone for an object in motion, includes defining a perimeter of a zone with an inelastic strand, and connecting at least two elastic strands to respective points along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape.
  • The details of one or more embodiments are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other aspects will now be described in detail with reference to the following drawings.
  • FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of an apparatus for providing a target zone for an object in flight.
  • FIG. 2 shows a system for providing a target zone.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B show several examples of a mechanism for attaching an elastic strand to a support structure.
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B show several examples of a mechanism for connecting an elastic strand to a point of an inelastic strand.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a system for providing a target zone.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an example of a clip for connecting an elastic strand to a support structure.
  • Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of an apparatus 100 for providing a target zone for an object in motion. The apparatus 100 includes an inelastic strand 102 that forms a perimeter of a zone 101. The inelastic strand 102 can be any string, cord, rope, thread or twine that has a minimal amount of elasticity, and can be formed of any natural or synthetic textile materials. In one exemplary embodiment, the inelastic strand 102 is formed of nylon twine.
  • The apparatus 100 further includes at least two elastic strands 104, and preferably at least four elastic strands 104. Each elastic strand is connected to a point 103 along the inelastic strand 102, such that, when the at least two elastic strands 104 are stretched outward from the inelastic strand 102 in a direction parallel to a central axis of each elastic strand 104, the zone 101 is formed into a shape 106 of predetermined dimensions. Each elastic strand 104 can be any string, cord, rope, thread or twine that has elasticity. Most or all of the energy of an object that grazes or touches the inelastic strand 102 is absorbed by the elasticity of one or more of the elastic strands 104 such that the trajectory of the object is not materially impeded.
  • The shape 106 is preferably rectangular, to provide a rectangular target space 101, but can also be triangular or any other polygonal shape. In an embodiment, the dimensions of the shape 106 in a rectangular form range from 10 to 30 inches in height by 10 to 30 inches in width. In a preferred exemplary embodiment, the dimensions of the shape 106 in a rectangular form are around 24 inches in height by around 17 inches in width, to correspond approximately with a baseball strike zone. The baseball strike zone is that area over home plate, the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of a batter's shoulders and the top of the batter's uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the batter's knee cap. The baseball strike zone is determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball, which the apparatus 100 allows in a realistic practice scenario.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the dimensions of the zone 101 are configurable to allow dimensions of any size. In this example, the connection point of at least one elastic strand 104 can be moved or changed to change the associated dimensions of the shape 106 of the zone 101. In an exemplary embodiment, the inelastic strand 102 has a color that is different from the color of the elastic strands 104. Preferably, the color of the inelastic strand 102 contrasts with the color of the elastic strands 104 in order for the inelastic strand 102 to stand out while being suspended in the shape 106 of the zone 101.
  • As depicted in FIG. 2, the apparatus 100 can be integrated into a system 110 that includes a support structure 112 to which one or more of the elastic strands 104 can be attached to suspend the inelastic strand 102 in the shape 106 of the zone 101. In a preferred embodiment, support structure 112 includes two supports 113, and the system 110 includes four elastic strands 104 connected in pairs to the two supports 113.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, each support 112 includes a post 116 connected to and secured in an upright position by a base 114. The post 116 can be telescopic, i.e. formed of two or more telescoping pieces, for adjustment to any range of height. The base 114 is sufficiently heavy and of sufficient size to inhibit substantial bending of the post 116 when the apparatus 100 is suspended in a target-providing mode. The base 114 and/or post 116 can be made of wood, plastic, or metal, or any other suitably rigid and/or heavy supportive material.
  • Each post 116 can include at least one hook, eye bolt, strap, aperture, or other connecting mechanism to which at least one elastic strand 104 can attach. The arrangement and connection between the support 112 and at least one elastic strand 104 provides the desired length, position and/or tension of the elastic strand 104. In an embodiment, the post 116 includes a retraction mechanism to allow the elastic strand 104 to be extendable from the post 116. Alternatively, the elastic strand 104 can be wound around or unwound from the post 116 to a desired length or tension.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B show several examples of a mechanism for attaching an elastic strand 104 to a support structure, such as a fence, a wall, a post, or the support 112. The elastic strand 104 can be attached to a hook 120, as shown in FIG. 3A, or to a velcro™ strap 112, as shown in FIG. 3B.
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B show several examples of a mechanism for connecting an elastic strand 104 to a point 103 of an inelastic strand 102. As illustrated in FIG. 4A, the inelastic strand 102 can be looped and secured at the point 103 to define a comer to which the elastic strand 104 can be attached. As illustrated in FIG. 4B, the elastic strand 104 can be connected to the inelastic strand 102 by a knot at the point 103. Other mechanisms for connecting the elastic strand 104 to the inelastic strand 102 can also be used.
  • FIG. 5 shows an alternative embodiment of a system 200 that includes an apparatus 202 for providing a target zone in free space, coupled to two support structures 204. The apparatus 202 includes four elastic strands 206 formed of an inelastic cord that is formed into a corkscrew form, where the loops of the corkscrew are biased to converge but which will yield to expand apart when the strand 206 is stretched or when an object impacts with the strand 206. Each elastic strand 206 is coupled at one end to a spring-loaded clip 208 that has at least one first aperture 209 that can be opened and closed, and which is closed in a default position by a spring in the clip 208.
  • Each elastic strand 206 is coupled at an opposite end to an inelastic strand 210 that is formed into a shape 211 of predetermined dimensions. The shape 211 is preferably rectangular, but can also be triangular or any other polygonal shape. In an alternative preferred embodiment, the dimensions of the shape 211 can be adjustable to correspond with a baseball strike zone, substantially as described above. The inelastic strand 210 has a color that is different from the color of the elastic strands 206. Preferably, the color of the inelastic strand 210 contrasts with the color of the elastic strands 206.
  • The apparatus 202 can be connected to a fence, a post, a wall or any other stationary structure. Alternatively, the system 200 also includes two support structures 204 to which the apparatus 202 can be connected. Each support structure 204 includes a base 220 for being placed on a substantially planar surface, and an adjustable post comprising a lower post member 222 and an upper post member 224 that is slidably mated with the lower post member 222. In an embodiment, the lower post member 222 and the upper post member 224 are cylindrical, and the upper post member 224 fits within the lower post member 222 in a telescoping arrangement. One or more holes 228 are provided in the lower post member 222 to receive a depressible pin (not shown) in the upper post member 224 to secure the post members in an arrangement for a desired height that is selectable from two or more predetermined height arrangements.
  • The upper post members 224 include an attachment mechanism 226 to which an elastic strand 206 of the apparatus 202 can be coupled. An attachment mechanism 226 can also be provided by the lower post member 222 or even on the base 220. In an exemplary embodiment, the attachment mechanism is an eye bolt, but can also be a ring, a hook, or other attachment device.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates one example of a spring-loaded clip 208 having at least one first aperture 209 that can be opened and closed. The clip 208 may also include a second aperture 230 for attaching to an interface 232 connected to the elastic strand 206. In one embodiment, the second aperture 230 is closed, and adapted to rotate relative to the rest of the clip 208.
  • Although a few embodiments have been described in detail above, other modifications are possible. Other embodiments may be within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (20)

1. An apparatus for providing a target zone for an object in motion, the apparatus comprising:
an inelastic strand that defines a perimeter of a zone; and
at least two elastic strands, each elastic strand being connected to a point along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape.
2. An apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein the inelastic strand is a first color, and wherein the at least two elastic strands are a second color that is different from the first color.
3. An apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein the predetermined shape is rectangular.
4. An apparatus in accordance with claim 3, wherein the predetermined shape is approximately 24 inches in height and approximately 17 inches in width.
5. An apparatus in accordance with claim 2, wherein the first color is white, and wherein the second color is black.
6. An apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein each of the at least two elastic strands includes an attachment mechanism for attaching to a support to suspend the zone at a predetermined height.
7. An apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein the at least two elastic strands includes four elastic strands.
8. A system for providing a target zone for an object in motion, the system comprising:
an inelastic strand that defines a perimeter of a zone;
at least two elastic strands, each elastic strand being connected to a point along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape;
a support having an attachment mechanism to which the at least two elastic strands can be connected to suspend the zone at a predetermined height.
9. An apparatus in accordance with claim 1, wherein the inelastic strand is a first color, and wherein the at least two elastic strands are a second color that is different from the first color.
10. A system in accordance with claim 8, wherein the predetermined shape is rectangular.
11. A system in accordance with claim 10, wherein the predetermined shape is approximately 24 inches in height and approximately 17 inches in width.
12. A system in accordance with claim 9, wherein the first color is white, and wherein the second color is black.
13. A system in accordance with claim 8, wherein each of the at least two elastic strands includes an attachment mechanism for attaching to a support to suspend the zone at a predetermined height.
14. A system in accordance with claim 8, wherein the at least two elastic strands includes four elastic strands.
15. A system in accordance with claim 8, wherein the support comprises a pair of posts.
16. A system in accordance with claim 15, wherein the support further comprises a base connected to each post.
17. A system in accordance with claim 15, wherein each post is telescopically adjustable in height.
18. A method for providing a target zone for an object in motion, the apparatus comprising:
defining a perimeter of a zone with an inelastic strand; and
connecting at least two elastic strands to respective points along the inelastic strand, such that when biased outward from the inelastic strand, the at least two elastic strands form the zone into a predetermined shape.
19. A method in accordance with claim 18, further comprising connecting the at least two elastic strands to a support to suspend the zone at a predetermined height and form the zone into the predetermined shape.
20. A method in accordance with claim 18, wherein the predetermined shape is approximately 24 inches in height and approximately 17 inches in width.
US11/104,921 2005-04-12 2005-04-12 Apparatus and method for providing a target zone Abandoned US20060226608A1 (en)

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20150367212A1 (en) * 2014-03-31 2015-12-24 John Charles Marcin Attachment for a Sports Training Device

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US42A (en) * 1836-10-08 Hanging lamp
US3427026A (en) * 1966-10-10 1969-02-11 Kenneth J Mahoney Projectile return apparatus
US3583703A (en) * 1968-11-01 1971-06-08 William S Brown Practice pitching devices
US3997158A (en) * 1972-07-26 1976-12-14 Britton Howard B Strike-zone target
US4026551A (en) * 1976-04-09 1977-05-31 Larson Charles W Baseball pitcher's practice target
US4204677A (en) * 1978-01-12 1980-05-27 Haggarty Michael J Baseball throwing practice target
US4210326A (en) * 1978-06-29 1980-07-01 Booth John A Portable baseball pitching target and catching apparatus
US4239235A (en) * 1977-01-06 1980-12-16 Torres Remy G Training device for football or for all games using a small or large ball
US4364562A (en) * 1980-04-17 1982-12-21 White John M Baseball rebound target
US4497485A (en) * 1984-06-04 1985-02-05 Macosko Robert L Baseball pitching target
US4629188A (en) * 1984-03-09 1986-12-16 Mahieu Peter A Baseball pitching target with an adjustable strike zone
US4830369A (en) * 1987-09-22 1989-05-16 Leandre Poitras Baseball pitching practice target
US4863166A (en) * 1988-07-25 1989-09-05 Becera San J Adjustable throwing target
US4913427A (en) * 1988-09-12 1990-04-03 Wilson Jackie L Baseball pitching target with a ball return
US5046729A (en) * 1990-09-12 1991-09-10 Yancey William E Baseball pitchers practice target
USD322288S (en) * 1989-05-15 1991-12-10 Coleman Phillip G Baseball pitching target
US5083774A (en) * 1991-02-27 1992-01-28 Fikri Yalvac Baseball pitching target device
USD330227S (en) * 1990-04-05 1992-10-13 Franklin Sports Industries, Inc. Baseball game target
USD331426S (en) * 1991-01-30 1992-12-01 Riffle Richard L Baseball pitching target
USD350569S (en) * 1993-06-28 1994-09-13 Perfect Pitcher Corporation Baseball pitching target
US5433434A (en) * 1995-01-04 1995-07-18 Helmetsie; Eugene A. Baseball pitching target
US5439211A (en) * 1994-11-01 1995-08-08 Moe Drabowsky Target training system and method for baseball pitchers
US5599017A (en) * 1995-07-17 1997-02-04 Dick Bixler Sports, Inc. Baseball target and projector apparatus
US5772537A (en) * 1997-02-04 1998-06-30 Happy Day Sports Company Device for returning a ball at a user determinable speed
US5820496A (en) * 1997-06-06 1998-10-13 Sportronics Holdings, Inc. Backstop system for measuring position, velocity, or trajectory
US5944318A (en) * 1997-09-30 1999-08-31 Payton; Michael B. Flying disc target game apparatus
US6155936A (en) * 1998-06-23 2000-12-05 Dorr; Kenneth C. Baseball pitcher's practice target with ball return
US6322461B1 (en) * 2000-04-13 2001-11-27 Stephen Paul Walsh Baseball pitching target
US6659466B2 (en) * 2001-05-04 2003-12-09 Michael Searles Throwing game and goal therefor
US6669582B1 (en) * 2000-05-19 2003-12-30 Roscoe Beeler Glove mounted target device and method for aiding a player in accurately throwing a baseball

Patent Citations (30)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US42A (en) * 1836-10-08 Hanging lamp
US3427026A (en) * 1966-10-10 1969-02-11 Kenneth J Mahoney Projectile return apparatus
US3583703A (en) * 1968-11-01 1971-06-08 William S Brown Practice pitching devices
US3997158A (en) * 1972-07-26 1976-12-14 Britton Howard B Strike-zone target
US4026551A (en) * 1976-04-09 1977-05-31 Larson Charles W Baseball pitcher's practice target
US4239235A (en) * 1977-01-06 1980-12-16 Torres Remy G Training device for football or for all games using a small or large ball
US4204677A (en) * 1978-01-12 1980-05-27 Haggarty Michael J Baseball throwing practice target
US4210326A (en) * 1978-06-29 1980-07-01 Booth John A Portable baseball pitching target and catching apparatus
US4364562A (en) * 1980-04-17 1982-12-21 White John M Baseball rebound target
US4629188A (en) * 1984-03-09 1986-12-16 Mahieu Peter A Baseball pitching target with an adjustable strike zone
US4497485A (en) * 1984-06-04 1985-02-05 Macosko Robert L Baseball pitching target
US4830369A (en) * 1987-09-22 1989-05-16 Leandre Poitras Baseball pitching practice target
US4863166A (en) * 1988-07-25 1989-09-05 Becera San J Adjustable throwing target
US4913427A (en) * 1988-09-12 1990-04-03 Wilson Jackie L Baseball pitching target with a ball return
USD322288S (en) * 1989-05-15 1991-12-10 Coleman Phillip G Baseball pitching target
USD330227S (en) * 1990-04-05 1992-10-13 Franklin Sports Industries, Inc. Baseball game target
US5046729A (en) * 1990-09-12 1991-09-10 Yancey William E Baseball pitchers practice target
USD331426S (en) * 1991-01-30 1992-12-01 Riffle Richard L Baseball pitching target
US5083774A (en) * 1991-02-27 1992-01-28 Fikri Yalvac Baseball pitching target device
USD350569S (en) * 1993-06-28 1994-09-13 Perfect Pitcher Corporation Baseball pitching target
US5439211A (en) * 1994-11-01 1995-08-08 Moe Drabowsky Target training system and method for baseball pitchers
US5433434A (en) * 1995-01-04 1995-07-18 Helmetsie; Eugene A. Baseball pitching target
US5599017A (en) * 1995-07-17 1997-02-04 Dick Bixler Sports, Inc. Baseball target and projector apparatus
US5772537A (en) * 1997-02-04 1998-06-30 Happy Day Sports Company Device for returning a ball at a user determinable speed
US5820496A (en) * 1997-06-06 1998-10-13 Sportronics Holdings, Inc. Backstop system for measuring position, velocity, or trajectory
US5944318A (en) * 1997-09-30 1999-08-31 Payton; Michael B. Flying disc target game apparatus
US6155936A (en) * 1998-06-23 2000-12-05 Dorr; Kenneth C. Baseball pitcher's practice target with ball return
US6322461B1 (en) * 2000-04-13 2001-11-27 Stephen Paul Walsh Baseball pitching target
US6669582B1 (en) * 2000-05-19 2003-12-30 Roscoe Beeler Glove mounted target device and method for aiding a player in accurately throwing a baseball
US6659466B2 (en) * 2001-05-04 2003-12-09 Michael Searles Throwing game and goal therefor

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20150367212A1 (en) * 2014-03-31 2015-12-24 John Charles Marcin Attachment for a Sports Training Device
US9694266B2 (en) * 2014-03-31 2017-07-04 John Charles Marcin Attachment for a sports training device

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