US20070173358A1 - Training bat and method - Google Patents

Training bat and method Download PDF

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US20070173358A1
US20070173358A1 US11/675,383 US67538307A US2007173358A1 US 20070173358 A1 US20070173358 A1 US 20070173358A1 US 67538307 A US67538307 A US 67538307A US 2007173358 A1 US2007173358 A1 US 2007173358A1
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bat
barrel
training
training bat
weight
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US11/675,383
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Brian Gallagher
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Brian Gallagher
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Priority to US19228700P priority Critical
Priority to US09/817,863 priority patent/US20010056001A1/en
Priority to US10/780,805 priority patent/US20040162169A1/en
Priority to US11/000,278 priority patent/US20050096161A1/en
Application filed by Brian Gallagher filed Critical Brian Gallagher
Priority to US11/675,383 priority patent/US20070173358A1/en
Publication of US20070173358A1 publication Critical patent/US20070173358A1/en
Assigned to WILLIAM ROBERT LAWHORN TRUST U/A/D FEBRUARY 13, 1997, LEW ANN LAWHORN, SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE reassignment WILLIAM ROBERT LAWHORN TRUST U/A/D FEBRUARY 13, 1997, LEW ANN LAWHORN, SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: KINECT SPORTS, LLC
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    • 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
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B59/00Bats, rackets, or the like, not covered by groups A63B49/00 - A63B57/00
    • A63B59/50Substantially rod-shaped bats for hitting a ball in the air, e.g. for baseball
    • 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
    • A63B2069/0008Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for baseball specially adapted for particular training aspects for batting
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2102/00Application of clubs, bats, rackets or the like to the sporting activity ; particular sports involving the use of balls and clubs, bats, rackets, or the like
    • A63B2102/18Baseball, rounders or similar games
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2209/00Characteristics of used materials
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B60/00Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like
    • A63B60/54Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like with means for damping vibrations

Abstract

The training bat of the present invention has a length and weight substantially equivalent to that of a conventional bat. It furthermore has vibration-dampening properties to reduce vibration resulting from swinging motion of the bat and especially from contact between the bat and ball. The training bat is comprised of a barrel section, a handle, and a transition section intermediate to the barrel section and the handle section. The barrel section has a diameter, which is smaller than that of a conventional bat. However, the barrel section also includes a weighted member such that the training bat has a weight, which is substantially equivalent to that of a conventional bat. In addition, the training bat of the present invention provides true ball compression/ball flight and game-like exit speeds.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION
  • Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 1.78, this is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 11/000,278, filed Nov. 30, 2004, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 10/1080,805, filed Feb. 18, 2004, now abandoned, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 09/817,863, filed Mar. 26, 2001, now abandoned, which is a continuation of, claims the benefit of and priority to prior filed Provisional Application No. 60/192,287, filed Mar. 27, 2000, which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed to a training bat and method for baseball/softball, especially a training bat having a reduced diameter barrel section yet still retaining the length, weight, swing weight, ball compression and vibration dampening characteristics of a conventional bat. The training bat and method of this invention are intended to break performance barriers and enhance the performance of baseball/softball players at all levels, from experienced pros down to beginners, including children.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • In the field of athletic performance enhancement, raw strength and explosive power may be sufficient to succeed in some sports. Baseball, however, is a sport which requires explosive power coupled with pinpoint accuracy. An explosive swing, poorly timed, may result in a mis-hit in the wrong direction or a failed attempt to make contact.
  • A batter's swing is basically comprised of three components: power/velocity, accuracy, and timing. A deficiency in any of these components diminishes the effectiveness of the batter's swing. One approach to improving the batter's swing entails focusing on one component of the swing at a time. For example, a batter may train with a bat which is heavier than a conventional bat. The use of the heavier bat focuses on improving the power/velocity component of the batter's swing. That is, the heavier bat does little to enhance the accuracy and timing of a batter's swing. In contrast, bats which are lighter than conventional bats focus the batter's attention only on swing accuracy and not timing. In essence, training bats that change the weight of the conventional bat focus on only one component of the batter's swing. What is needed, therefore, is a training bat that is configured to enhance at least two of the swing components simultaneously.
  • Another important feature of the batter's swing is the batter's entire visual system, including the eyes, brain, and body. In sports, the purpose of the visual system is to gather information about what is going on around the athlete and guide the appropriate movement pattern. A batter can improve the effectiveness of his swing if he also trains his visual system to move the bat at the proper time and location.
  • By way of background, the following description relates to the visual aspects of athletics in general and baseball in particular. Many so-called physical mistakes may be attributed to visual deficits. Some academic weaknesses may also be a function of poor visual skills or undue fatigue. According to Dr. Paul Planer, an optometrist and on the board of The International Academy of Sports Vision, too often the only concern of coaches, trainers, and some athletes with the visual system is with static visual ability (SVA). This statistical measurement is the ability of the athlete to resolve (identify) a certain sized letter/number on the highest contrast target available (black letters on a white background) on your standard eye chart (i.e., 20/20, etc.). The ability to discern detail in an object is called visual acuity. There are many factors that affect visual discrimination including contrast, lighting, motion, time, color, age, attention ability.
  • There are a variety of visual abilities utilized by athletes and non-athletes alike whenever there is a decision to be made involving the coordinated efforts of hand and eye. The following is a synopsis of some of these visual abilities, a couple of easy to administer assessments, visual enhancement exercises to train the athlete's eyes, and how the training bat and method of the present invention address some of these particular visual abilities.
  • Static Visual Acuity—the ability to resolve various sizes of letters/numbers from a standard distance. Although the importance of this stationary ability is minimal in other sports, for baseball it is desirable that the athlete have at least 20/15 to 20/10 acuity for resolving the size of the baseball from a standard distance (length of bat), and determining spatial relationships.
  • Dynamic Visual Acuity—the ability to maintain clarity of an object while either the object or the athlete, or both, are in motion (as in a pitched baseball). Deficits in this ability can cause perceptions of the viewed object to vary. Deficits in clearness can affect timing during a swing.
  • Contrast sensitivity—this is the ability of the visual system to discriminate variations in color of the object looked at in comparison with the color of the background the object may be against. In baseball, a white baseball against a dark outfield wall such as when the baseball is pitched provides for a sharp contrast and allows the batter to more readily see the pitched baseball. As the brightness and color of background merge closer (as in tracking a baseball against a light colored outfield wall), the contrast of the baseball becomes less. In baseball, the ability to track the baseball in flight or on the ground is of significant value as the player attempts to intercept the baseball. This sensitivity is the smallest amount of distinction between object and background that can exist while still being distinguishable by the athlete. It may be possible to enhance the ability to see a pitched white baseball by taking batting practice in front of a light colored background.
  • Eye Movement (Ocular Motility)—this is the ability of the athlete to physically shift his eyes from place to place in space rapidly, and accurately without hesitation or fatigue. Athletes keen in this ability can quickly make decisions such as whether to swing at a particular pitch. An athlete deficient in this ability may commit to swinging at a bad pitch without time to change the decision. Thus, eye movement is a key element in baseball.
  • Fusion—the eyes send information to the brain where the information is integrated and interpreted as a three-dimension (3-D) phenomenon. The integration of visual information from both eyes into a 3-D image is called fusion. The integration of visual information is termed fixation. Typically, a person's focusing ability is limited to 3 degrees. To get an idea of the size of this visual field, one can extend his arm straight and forward with his thumb pointing vertically. The width of the thumb in this position is an approximation of the size and focus of your visual field.
  • Focus Flexibility (Accommodation)—the ability that allows the athlete to change focus from one point in space to another and to maintain precise clarity such as shifting from home plate to the pitching mound during a pitch.
  • Fusion Flexibility (Binocularity)—this is the ability to accurately “team” the two eyes together so they perform as one as the athlete glances around, shifts focus, and follows the ball.
  • Depth Perception—the ability of the athlete to rapidly and accurately utilize fused images from the eyes to judge distance from the ball. Obviously this is closely related to the former three abilities.
  • Visual Reaction Time—the time required to perceive and respond to visual stimulation. Involved in this ability is the effectiveness of the athlete to utilize auditory (sound) information to assist in any visual stimulation.
  • Central Peripheral Awareness—sometimes referred to as side vision. This is the ability of the athlete to maintain a “hard focus” on the central task such as striking the ball while screening out the activity to the side such as movement in the surrounding stands. Other sports rely on the athlete's ability to maintain an awareness or soft focus on “side” activity, baseball demands that this activity is eliminated from the only task at hand—focusing on the ball.
  • Eye-Hand-Body Coordination—this ability is related to proprioception, or the ability to have a sense of where limbs are in space without looking at them. This ability is key when swinging at a pitched baseball. The batter must “feel” where the hands and feet are without looking. Eye-hand-body then is an integration of the eyes, the hands, and the body as a unit. While the eyes must lead and guide the motor (movement) system, sense of limb awareness is paramount.
  • Visual Adjustability—this relates to the athlete's ability to have a visual system flexible enough to rapidly adjust and guide the body's motor responses quickly and accurately as the surrounding environment changes. A lack of being “tuned into” the body's responses is exemplified in an inability to adjust to unfamiliar ballparks, surfaces, brightness, time zones, etc. A batter plays at opponents' fields for nominally half of the season, which is why batting practice before an “away” game is so important.
  • Visualization—familiar to many coaches, the ability to mentally imagine and rehearse situations, actions, and responses that can occur during play, and modify them to be more efficient and correct. As anything, the exercise gets better with practice, and therefore should be done year-round, during games and practices, and away from games and practices. If an athlete cannot visualize, they may be deficient in the ability to learn from mistakes.
  • Eye (Sighting) Dominance—everyone has a dominant eye that sends information to the brain slightly faster than the other. This dominant eye directs the movement and fixation of the other eye. Therefore it is prudent for the batter to stand in the batter's box so his head has an unobstructed and aligned view of the baseball with the dominant eye. In order to test which eye is dominant, one may extend his arms straight and forward and form about a 1″ diameter triangular hole by connecting both thumbs and index fingers. That person should pick a distant object on a wall, and center it between the triangle. Without moving head or hands, the person should close one eye, then the other. The eye that has the object lined up closest to the hole is the dominant eye.
  • Visual Search Patterns (Saccades)—how an athlete watches the motion of an object being tracked may help determine what is seen and not seen by an athlete. The types of eye movements used in tracking an object are actually a very complex process. Sports like volleyball rely on Saccadic eye movements in order to observe action. Eyes can follow an object smoothly up to visual angular velocities of about 70 degrees per second. Volleyball, for example, requires visual angular velocities in excess of 500 degrees per second in order to follow the trajectory of a spike. While saccades can reposition eyes to track an object at angular velocities exceeding 700 degrees per second, the eyes “turn off” briefly as they saccade or move to the next fixation. In other words, the eyes move in frames perhaps exemplified in baseball when a batter's eyes attempt to track a 95 MPH fastball coming from the pitcher's mound.
  • The athlete should be tested in order to probe for visual deficits and to provide a baseline set of measures to integrate into a visual enhancement program. Tests and measures from a strength, conditioning, movement, or sport standpoint should reflect the movement, energy system, and task-specific demands of the sport. Visual assessments which do not take a dynamic environment into consideration are inadequate to assess visual abilities.
  • It is important now to introduce the concept of Divided Attention. During assessments and drills the athlete should be required to perform an additional task (balancing, solving math problems, game situations, etc.) known as the “soft focus” while maintaining a “hard focus” on the central task (in this case the visual assessment or exercise).
  • The following description relates to various test probes, which may be utilized to assess visual acuity.
  • SVA or Static Visual Acuity—although the testing only begins here, it is still important. This can be done by a team physician, usually monocularly first, then binocularly at a distance of 20 feet with moderate lighting.
  • Ocular Motility Near (Testing “oneness” of eyes).
  • Pursuits (Near Vision)—goal: to test and train visual accuracy for tasks occurring in a close visual hemisphere such as blocking and setting
      • 1. Target: small bell on a clear string of nylon or thin black thread.
      • 2. Technique: move the target in front of the athlete in a random motion in various positions of gaze from arm's reach distance to his forehead.
      • 3. Observe: watch for loss of fixation on the bell (hint: eyes will wander), head movement, crossing or closing one or both eyes.
      • 4. Divided Attention: have the athlete solve math problems, game situational tactics, balance on two tennis balls or one leg, etc. on top of the requirement and record the effects.
  • Saccades (Near Vision)
      • 1. Target: same as pursuits except use at least two of them requiring the athlete to shift eyes on command back and forth to each bell.
      • 2. Observe: same as pursuits, but look at eyes to determine if they “overlook” or “underlook” the target and how quickly they get back to the central target bell. Does it just take a glance (through visualizing the previous position, or is there time spent looking)?
      • 3. Divided Attention: same as above.
  • Near To Far
      • 1. Target: Use the dangled bell as the near target. The far target can be any small target at least 10 feet away such as a snellen chart (typical eye chart), clock's hand, person holding fingers or juggling numbered/colored balls, people on the street and the clothes they are wearing, other miscellaneous targets, etc. Upon direction, the athlete is to shift his visual attention from the bell to the distant target, etc. The goal is to train the athlete to obtain more information from a glance as in lining up a putt.
      • 2. Divided Attention: same as above and use your imagination. Just reproduce when re-testing.
  • Binocularity—Near Point of Convergence (Eye Teaming)
      • 1. Target: Block on a string
      • 2. Technique: the athlete holds the end of a string with two colored beads on the tip of his or her nose. The athlete should focus on one of the beads. Record how many strings the athlete reports and if possible where the strings meet (if at all) within the field of vision. The athlete should see two strings at all times, in all distances, in all directions of the string, and for them to meet each other at the bead as opposed to in front or beyond the bead. At times one of the strings may cross the other further/closer or above/below the other or one string may disappear or crossing points may fluctuate. Start with the string attached in a straight line to a fixed location then proceed downward, which is more specific to the game of golf.
      • 3. Evaluate: record if the strings cross beyond where the bead is located, in front where the bead is located. If the string seen by the athlete coming from the left side appears above the plane, record this as right hyper. If the string appearing above the plane appears above the plane of the bead, record as left hyper. Note if the string disappears; record when and where.
      • 4. Distances: distance bead is at 20 feet, the intermediate bead is at 10 feet, and the near bead is at 3 feet from the athlete's face.
  • The next category, visualization, will include not only an assessment, but how the “assessment” can then be used as a task-specific visual training aid for a batter.
  • Visualization—the ability to mentally rehearse and perform an athletic situation. In this situation, the athlete will quickly process information and physically perform a movement. Since the athlete may have to perform a different action than what he or she sees—they must—in a matter of milliseconds, mentally rehearse that movement. The batter mentally rehearses swinging at pitches of various styles, such as fastballs, sliders, curve balls, and the like. The batter should make a mental note on the feel of a properly struck baseball.
  • Central Peripheral Awareness—maintaining focus on a central task while screening out information to the sides is especially good for batters.
  • It is also important for any athlete to practice in order to mimic game-like situations such as movement patterns in a very focused and controlled environment. Training by design is done to show the mind and body that they are capable of operating at higher levels.
  • It is also important, especially during live batting practice, to eliminate or significantly reduce the amount of vibration resulting from the high speed contact made between the bat and the ball, so as to minimize the level of discomfort and shock transmission to the athlete's hands and body. The practice bat invention addresses this by positioning an extruded rubber tube into the hitting chamber (barrel) to absorb vibration at the moment of impact. Additionally, this vibration dampening system allows the manufacturer to control not only the length and weight of the practice bat, but also the “swing weight” of the practice bat. By controlling the tube length and position of the internal rubber tube, the manufacturer can control not only the length and “static weight” variable, but also the length, static weight, and “swing weight” variable to ensure an absolute identical replica of an athlete's game bat regardless of the age demographic. Notwithstanding the vibration dampening positioned inside the barrel of the invention, there are two more vibration dampening components included in the invention to ensure user safety and satisfaction. A rubberized component is positioned inside the handle of the invention to catch any vibration not immediately absorbed by the internal rubber barrel tube. The invention also comes with a two-ply external vibration dampening grip as a third tier of vibration dampening protection.
  • Lastly, it is important and highly desirable to simulate the trajectory and ball flight achieved with a conventional bat but during Live batting practice using a power and accuracy-enhancing training bat. The practice bat invention uses optimal variable wall thickness in order to produce a “game-like” ball and wall compression, which produces the near identical ball flight as a conventional bat. In a training environment it is vital that ball flight with a practice bat be comparable to a conventional bat, because “ball flight” provides immediate feedback to the athlete and allows the athlete to make immediate associations relative to the “feel” of a swing movement in direct correlation to ball striking, swing release and ultimately ball flight. Repeating this process of movement feel, ball striking and desired ball flight, over and over again, feeds the bio-mechanics of an athlete swing and allows performance barriers to be broken.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The training bat of the present invention has a length and weight substantially equivalent to that of a conventional bat. The training bat is comprised of a barrel section, a handle, and a transition section intermediate to the barrel section and the handle section. The barrel section has a diameter, which is smaller than that of a conventional bat. However, the barrel section also includes a weighted member such that the training bat has a weight, which is substantially equivalent to that of a conventional bat. The training bat, furthermore, contains one or more vibration-dampening materials throughout its length, and particularly in the barrel section, to reduce the amount of vibration usually observed during and after the swinging motion and specifically when ball contact is made.
  • The training bat of the present invention may include one or more of the following features: customizable length/weight/swing weight combinations; optimal barrel reduction for true ball compression/ball flight; variable, optimal barrel wall thickness for game-like ball exit speeds; three tier vibration dampening system, which may include an internal extruded rubber tube for the barrel, an internal rubber insert for the handle, and a two-ply rubber grip; and static weight/swing weight customization. By positioning the extruded rubber tube in one of multiple positions within the barrel hitting chamber (e.g., low near the end cap, middle, or high near the taper), different “swing weights” are produced for a given length/weight combination. Thus, nearly identical customization of a practice bat to a game bat is achievable in terms of length, weight, swing weight, ball compression and vibration dampening.
  • The present invention also provides a swing training method that utilizes the training bat described above. The method involves a batter swinging at a baseball with the training bat having the reduced diameter barrel section. Next, the batter swings at the baseball with a conventional bat. That step is followed by the batter swinging at a ball having a smaller diameter such as a golf ball using the training bat and then using the conventional bat.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of the training bat according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a cross section of the training bat of FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2 thereof.
  • FIG. 3 is a plan view of another embodiment of the training bat of the present invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the training bat of FIG. 3 taken along line 3-3 thereof.
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view of another embodiment of the invention showing a training bat similar to that of FIGS. 3 and 4 but with a rubber grip in the handle section.
  • FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the training bat of FIG. 5 taken along line 4-4 thereof.
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the invention showing a training bat similar to that of FIGS. 5 and 6 but with a different position of a rubber tube in the barrel section.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a training bat 10 in accordance with the principles of the present invention has a barrel section 12, a transition section 14, and a handle section 16. The barrel section 12 has a diameter D which is substantially constant along the entire length of the barrel section 12. The handle section 16 has a diameter d which is substantially constant over the length of the handle section 16. Transition section 14 has a non-constant diameter to accommodate the change in diameter between diameter D of the barrel section 12 and diameter d of the handle section 16. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, barrel section 12, transition section 14, and handle section 16 are constructed of wood. It will be appreciated that these sections could be constructed of any suitable material having the necessary weight and strength requirements. For example, these sections could be constructed of plastic composite, aluminum and its alloys, aluminum-titanium alloys, beryllium, scandium and the like.
  • The training bat 10 of this embodiment of the present invention is constructed to have a weight and length substantially equivalent to those of a conventional bat. However, the diameter D of barrel section 12 is reduced in size relative to the barrel section of a conventional bat. The typical diameter of the barrel section of a conventional baseball bat is 2¾ inches and 2½ inches for the barrel of a softball bat. Youth bats such as those used in Little League typically have a barrel diameter of 2¼ inches. In contrast, the diameter D of the barrel section 12 of the training bat 10 ranges between about 1½ inches and about 1¾ inches, and is preferably 1⅝ inches.
  • Because the diameter D of the barrel section 12 is smaller relative to that of a conventional baseball or softball bat, the training bat must be augmented with additional weight so that its weight is substantially equivalent to that of a conventional baseball or softball bat. To that end, the end of the training bat 10 is drilled out and an elongated rod 18 is inserted into the drilled out portion of the barrel section 12. The size, i.e., length and diameter, of rod 18 should be chosen such that it replaces both the weight of wood eliminated because of the reduced diameter D of barrel section 12 and the weight of wood removed when the barrel section 12 is drilled out. Using the elongated rod 18 helps to maintain the proper weight distribution along the length of the training bat 10 relative to a conventional bat. The rod 18 may be constructed of any suitable material having the appropriate weight, and strength such as steel, for example. Table 1 shows representative length/weight combinations of conventional bats. Because the training bat 10 of the present invention will match the weight/length combinations of conventional bats, Table 1 also applies to the training bat 10.
    TABLE 1
    Length/Weight Combinations
    LENGTH (inches) WEIGHT (ounces)
    25 13
    14
    15
    16
    26 14
    15
    16
    17
    27 15
    16
    17
    18
    28 16
    17
    18
    19
    29 17
    18
    19
    20
    30 18
    19
    20
    21
    22
    23
    24
    25
    31 19
    20
    21
    22
    23
    24
    25
    26
    27
    28
    29
    30
    31
    32
    32 20
    21
    22
    23
    24
    25
    26
    27
    28
    29
    30
    31
    32
    33
    33 21
    22
    23
    24
    25
    26
    27
    28
    29
    30
    31
    32
    33
    34
    35
    34 22
    23
    24
    25
    26
    27
    28
    29
    30
    31
    32
    33
    34
    35
    36
    35 27
    28
    29
    30
    31
    32
    33
    34
    35
    36 30
    31
    32
    33
    34
    35
    36
  • The length/weight combinations of Table 1 would be used in order to size rod 18 so that the weight of training bat 10 can be modified to meet the batter's preference.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, another embodiment of a training bat 20 according to this invention is shown. Like the bat 10 of FIGS. 1 and 2, the training bat 20 has a barrel section 22 of substantially constant diameter D2, a handle section 26 of substantially constant diameter d2 and a transition section 24 of non-constant diameter. The non-constant diameter of transition section 24 accommodates the change in diameter between the diameter D2 of barrel section 22 and the diameter d2 of handle section 26.
  • Moreover, the training bat 20 according to this embodiment is constructed to have a weight and length substantially equivalent to those of a conventional bat. However, the diameter D2 of barrel section 22 is reduced in size relative to the barrel section of a conventional bat. The diameter D2 of the barrel section 22 of the training bat 20 ranges between about 1½ inches and about 1¾ inches, and is preferably 1⅝ inches.
  • The barrel section 22, handle section 26 and transition section 24 of the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4 are furthermore made of ultra light aluminum, although other suitable materials may be substituted without deviating from the scope of this invention. Because the diameter D2 of the barrel section 22 is smaller relative to that of a conventional baseball or softball bat, the training bat must be augmented with additional weight so that its weight is substantially equivalent to that of a conventional baseball or softball bat. To that end, and to dampen and absorb the vibration induced by the impact of the ball when it makes contact with the bat, the barrel section 22 is filled a two-ply rubber tube 28. This rubber tube, in one embodiment, may have a linear density of about 17 grams per inch. The rubber tube may similarly have varied lengths, depending on the desired static weight, swing weight distribution, ball compression and amount of vibration dampening. Furthermore, an end cap 30 attached to or integrally formed with the barrel section 22 may also be filled with hot melt material 32, in an amount, for example, in the range of about 1 ounce to about 2 ounces, in order to accommodate heavier swing weight configurations.
  • The handle section 26 of the training bat 20 contains, in accordance with this embodiment, vibration-dampening materials 32, such as two-ply rubber and a silicone-based hot melt, which absorb vibration internally and the relative and absolute amounts of which determine the static bat weight. The amount of hot melt and rubber used in the handle section varies according to the size of the bat as well as the swing weight required for a specific bat design.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, another embodiment according to this invention is shown. For purposes of illustration, parts that are similar to those of previous embodiments will retain the same numbers as in the figures depicting such embodiments. The training hat 40 of this embodiment is identical in all respects to the training bat 20 of FIGS. 3 and 4, except for the addition of a two-ply rubber grip 43, applied over to the outside surface of the handle section 26 and located proximate the distal end 49 of the handle section 26. This rubber grip 43 further dampens vibration of the bat during the swinging motion and especially after contact between the ball and the bat 40.
  • FIG. 6 shows a cross-sectional view of the bat 40 of FIG. 5, taken along line 4-4. It can be appreciated that the axial position of the rubber tube 48 in the barrel section 22 of bat 40 is such that the inside end 45 of the rubber tube 48 is proximate the transition section 24 of the bat 40. In comparison, FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of a bat 50, very similar to the bat 40 of FIG. 5, but with a different axial position of the rubber tube 58 in barrel section 22. In this embodiment, the interior end 55 of the rubber tube 58 is not as close to the transition section 24 as was the case with the embodiment of the bat 40 of FIGS. 5 and 6. Also, unlike the rubber tube 48 of bat 40 in FIGS. 5 and 6, the distal end 57 of the rubber tube 58 of training bat 50 is proximate the end cap 30 of the bat 50.
  • FIG. 7 furthermore shows the addition of a weight-increasing material such as silicone-based hot melt to the end section 60 of barrel section 22 of training bat 50. This end section 60 may be attached to or integrally formed with the end cap 30 of the bat 50.
  • The versatility in axial position of the rubber tube 48, 58 shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrates a key aspect of this invention. As pointed out earlier, the length of the rubber tube 48, 58 can be varied to accommodate different training bat design requirements. FIGS. 6 and 7 show that the axial position of the rubber tube 48, 58 can also be varied to obtain a desired combination of static weight, swing weight distribution, ball compression and amount of vibration dampening.
  • The training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 is most effective if used in conjunction with a structured training program. The training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 of the present invention teaches the batter to hit the optimal sweet spot of the training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 as well as establish an exact swing tempo. By isolating the sweet spot of the training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 and forcing precise accuracy and concentration, while maintaining swing weight integrity, the training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 teaches the batter how to carry out a very accurate and timely swing.
  • Tables 2-5 provide a representative structured training program for batters. The training can be accomplished using tee work, ball toss, cage work or batting practice and combinations thereof.
    TABLE 2
    Tee Work
    # of Hits w/ # of Hits w/
    Acuity Bat: Game Bat:
    Start:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
    Move to:
    Golf balls 5 Followed by 15
    Finish:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
  • TABLE 3
    Ball Toss
    # of Hits w/ # of Hits w/
    Acuity Bat: Game Bat:
    Start:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
    Move to:
    Golf balls 5 Followed by 15
    Finish:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
  • TABLE 4
    Cage Work
    # of Hits w/ # of Hits w/
    Acuity Bat: Game Bat:
    Start:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
    Move to:
    Golf Balls 5 Followed by 15
    Finish:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
  • TABLE 5
    Batting Practice
    # of Hits w/ # of Hits w/
    Acuity Bat: GameBat:
    Baseballs 5 Followed by 15
  • The structure of the training program is similar regardless of the type of batting practice. For example, for cage work (Table 4) the batter starts the training session by swinging the training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 five times at baseballs. This step is followed by fifteen swings at baseballs using a conventional bat. Following that, the batter swings the training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 five times at golf balls. The batter then swings a conventional bat fifteen times at golf balls. The next phase repeats the first phase of the training. A similar methodology is used for each of the different methods of batting practice: tee work, ball toss, cage work, or batting practice. With the cage work and batting practice, the pitches are thrown initially at moderate speeds with the speed increasing as the batter's hitting improves.
  • The above-mentioned training program consists of exercises that improve the athlete's vision by systematically teaching the entire visual system (eyes to brain to body) how to operate at higher levels. The training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 takes visual training into the highest realm of “integrated specificity” where the athlete combines visual training and specific skill development. Integrated specificity selectively controls the amount of information received during training to force the athlete to execute a sport specific movement with precise form, focus, and accuracy. Typically the athlete starts with a very small and controlled movement pattern and then gradually increases the movement along a series of progressions. At any time which form, focus or accuracy is lost the movement is reduced until they are regained. In short, integrated specificity recreates game situations in a highly stressful but controlled environment. The training bat 10, 20, 40, 50 combines visual training designed to improve visual skills such as eye teaming, binocular coordination, depth perception, focus flexibility, acuity (clarity of sight), “hand-eye” or “visual-body” coordination with actual hitting skills such as swing, tempo, and timing.
  • While the invention has been described with specific examples in reference to specific dimensions, persons skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications and changes may be made to the invention as described herein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof which are defined by the appended claims.

Claims (17)

1. A training bat comprising:
a barrel section having a diameter, said diameter being smaller than that of a conventional bat; and
a handle section operatively connected to said barrel section;
wherein said training bat has a length and a weight which are substantially equivalent to the length and weight of a conventional bat; and
wherein said barrel and handle sections are adapted to dampen vibration, provide true ball compression, and game-like ball exit speeds.
2. The training bat of claim 1, further wherein said barrel section includes a weighted member such that the weight of the training bat is substantially equivalent to that of a conventional bat having a length substantially equivalent to the length of said training bat.
3. The training bat of claim 1, said barrel section made from a material selected from the group consisting of wood, aluminum, aluminum-titanium alloys, beryllium, scandium and plastic composite.
4. A training bat comprising:
a barrel section having a diameter, said diameter being smaller than the diameters of the barrel sections of respective conventional Little League, baseball, and softball bats, where the diameters of said respective conventional bats range between about 2¼ inches and about 2¾ inches; and
a handle section operatively connected to said barrel section;
wherein said training bat has a length and a weight which are substantially equivalent to the length and weight of said respective conventional bats; and
wherein said barrel and handle sections are adapted to dampen vibration, provide true ball compression, and game-like ball exit speeds.
5. The training bat of claim 4, further wherein said barrel section includes a weighted member such that the weight of the training bat is substantially equivalent to that of said respective conventional bats having a length substantially equivalent to the length of said training bat.
6. The training bat of claim 4, said barrel section made from a material selected from the group consisting of wood, aluminum, aluminum-titanium alloys, beryllium, scandium and plastic composite.
7. A training bat comprising:
a barrel section having a diameter in the range between about 1½ inches and about 1¾ inches; and
a handle section operatively connected to said barrel section;
wherein said training bat has a length and a weight which are substantially equivalent to the length and weight of a respective conventional Little League, baseball, or softball bat; and
wherein at least one of said barrel and handle sections is adapted to dampen vibration, provide true ball compression, and game-like ball exit speeds.
8. The training bar of claim 1, wherein said barrel section diameter is about 1⅝ inches.
9. The training bat of claim 7, further wherein said barrel section includes a weighted member such that the weight of the training bat is substantially equivalent to that of said respective conventional bats having a length substantially equivalent to the length of said training bat.
10. The training bat of claim 7, said barrel section made from a material selected from the group consisting of wood, aluminum, aluminum-titanium alloys, beryllium, scandium and plastic composite.
11. The training bat of claim 1, wherein a filler material in one of said barrel section and said handle section is rubber.
12. The training bat of claim 11, wherein said filler material is two-ply rubber.
13. The training bat of claim 11, wherein said filler material has a density of 17 grams per linear inch.
14. The training bat of claim 1, wherein a silicone-based hot melt is a filler material in said handle section.
15. The training bat of claim 1, wherein an end section in said barrel section contains a silicone-based hot melt in an amount ranging from about 1 ounce to about 2 ounces.
16. The training bat of claim 1, wherein said handle section includes a rubber grip.
17. The training bat of claim 16, wherein said said handle section includes a two-ply rubber grip.
US11/675,383 2000-03-27 2007-02-15 Training bat and method Abandoned US20070173358A1 (en)

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US09/817,863 US20010056001A1 (en) 2000-03-27 2001-03-26 Training bat and method
US10/780,805 US20040162169A1 (en) 2000-03-27 2004-02-18 Training bat and method
US11/000,278 US20050096161A1 (en) 2000-03-27 2004-11-30 Training bat and method
US11/675,383 US20070173358A1 (en) 2000-03-27 2007-02-15 Training bat and method

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Cited By (4)

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US20080207359A1 (en) * 2007-02-27 2008-08-28 James Gibadlo Practice Bat
US20090011873A1 (en) * 2007-07-06 2009-01-08 Tailored Turf, Llc Artificial pitching surface
US20150111671A1 (en) * 2013-10-18 2015-04-23 Ramsey Blankenship Practice Swing Bat and Method
US9837682B1 (en) * 2016-08-29 2017-12-05 Microsoft Technology Licensing, Llc Variable layer thickness in curved battery cell

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Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20080207359A1 (en) * 2007-02-27 2008-08-28 James Gibadlo Practice Bat
US20090011873A1 (en) * 2007-07-06 2009-01-08 Tailored Turf, Llc Artificial pitching surface
US8216095B2 (en) 2007-07-06 2012-07-10 Jane L. Weber, legal representative Artificial pitching surface
US20150111671A1 (en) * 2013-10-18 2015-04-23 Ramsey Blankenship Practice Swing Bat and Method
US9837682B1 (en) * 2016-08-29 2017-12-05 Microsoft Technology Licensing, Llc Variable layer thickness in curved battery cell
US20180069259A1 (en) * 2016-08-29 2018-03-08 Microsoft Technology Licensing, Llc Variable layer thickness in curved battery cell
US10170788B2 (en) * 2016-08-29 2019-01-01 Microsoft Technology Licensing, Llc Variable layer thickness in curved battery cell
US20190140306A1 (en) * 2016-08-29 2019-05-09 Microsoft Technology Licensing, Llc Variable layer thickness in curved battery cell
US10763535B2 (en) * 2016-08-29 2020-09-01 Microsoft Technology Licensing, Llc Variable layer thickness in curved battery cell

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