US20110201458A1 - Device and Method for Ball-Handling-Skills Training - Google Patents

Device and Method for Ball-Handling-Skills Training Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110201458A1
US20110201458A1 US13/123,564 US200913123564A US2011201458A1 US 20110201458 A1 US20110201458 A1 US 20110201458A1 US 200913123564 A US200913123564 A US 200913123564A US 2011201458 A1 US2011201458 A1 US 2011201458A1
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Prior art keywords
tether
ball
harness
wearer
coupled
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Abandoned
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US13/123,564
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James C. Elder
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Individual
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Individual
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B43/00Balls with special arrangements
    • A63B43/007Arrangements on balls for connecting lines or cords
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B43/00Balls with special arrangements
    • A63B43/005Balls with special arrangements with adhesive type surfaces, e.g. hook-and-loop type fastener
    • 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
    • A63B69/0073Means for releasably holding a ball in position; Balls constrained to move around a fixed point, e.g. by tethering
    • A63B69/0079Balls tethered to a line or cord
    • A63B69/0086Balls tethered to a line or cord the line or cord being attached to the user
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2209/00Characteristics of used materials
    • A63B2209/10Characteristics of used materials with adhesive type surfaces, i.e. hook and loop-type fastener

Definitions

  • This invention relates to devices and methods for developing ball handling skills in sports and activities where a ball is kicked with the feet or legs.
  • a player may want to develop his or her skills on their own without the assistance of another. In such situations, if a untethered ball is used, the player may find themselves following and retrieving the kicked ball so that less time is spent on the player's kicking skills.
  • FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a ball-handling training device constructed in accordance with the invention
  • FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of portions of the ball-handling training device of FIG. 1 ;
  • FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a ball-handling training device, shown with a releasable coupling system for coupling a ball to a tether of the device;
  • FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of still another alternate embodiment of a ball-handling training device, shown with a net or bag coupling system for coupling a ball to a tether of the device;
  • FIG. 5 is a front view of a user in a fully upright position using the ball-handling training device of FIG. 1 , with a harness of the device secured around the shoulders of the user and the ball of the device suspended above the ground in accordance with a method of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective side view of a user kicking a ball of the ball-handling training device of FIG. 1 in accordance with a method of the invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a front view of a user in a fully upright position with the ball-handling training device with a harness of the device secured around the upper arms of a user.
  • a ball-handling training device 10 is shown.
  • the device 10 may be used in practicing and developing kicking skills, such as in soccer or other sports where a ball or other item is kicked with the legs or feet.
  • the device 10 includes a tethering system 12 that is coupled to a ball 14 .
  • the ball 14 may be generally spherical or oval in shape.
  • the ball 14 is a soccer ball that may be of different sizes, such as size 2, 3, 4 and 5 soccer balls. Other shapes and sizes for the ball 14 may also be used.
  • the ball 14 may have an oval shape, such as used in rugby or American football.
  • the term “ball” is meant to include other items that may be kicked with the legs or feet that may not customarily referred to as balls but may be kicked in a similar manner using the device.
  • the tethering system 12 includes a harness 16 that is configured for coupling to the upper torso of a human user.
  • a flexible tether 18 is coupled at one end to the harness 16 .
  • the harness 16 and tether 18 may be formed from a single continuous length of flexible material 20 , such as a length of narrow cord, rope, webbing, etc.
  • the harness 16 , tether 18 , or components thereof may be formed separately.
  • the harness 16 has two loops 22 of flexible material that are configured to pass over each arm and around each of the wearer's shoulders. As discussed, these may be formed from a section of the continuous length of material 20 .
  • a fastener 24 may be used to gather or secure the sections of flexible material 20 forming the harness 16 to form the loops 22 .
  • the fastener 24 may be selectively releasable and include a cord lock, toggle, buckle, etc., or even a slip knot formed from the flexible material 20 itself, that allows the sections or lengths of material forming the harness 16 to be gathered, moved and/or adjusted to adjust the size or position of the harness 16 .
  • Non-limiting examples of suitable releasable cord lock fasteners that may be used with device 10 include those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,288,891; 4,328,605 and 4,453,292, which are each incorporated herein by reference.
  • the fastener 24 is a cord lock fastener with a spring-biased depressible plunger 26 and two spaced apart apertures 28 , 30 through which the lengths of flexible material 20 may pass.
  • the fastener 24 may be non-releasable or permanently fix the loops 22 so that they are non-adjustable.
  • the free end 32 of the flexible material 20 forming the harness 16 may be knotted or provided with an enlarged end cap to prevent dislocating and passage of the material 20 through the apertures of the fastener 24 .
  • the harness 16 may also be configured as a vest, shirt or other article or device that couples to a wearer's upper torso and may be provided with a coupling mechanism or device for coupling the tether 18 to the harness 16 to provide the desired coupling position of the tether 18 , as described more fully below.
  • the harness 16 has a midsection that generally extends transversely across the wearer's chest.
  • the tether 18 couples to the harness 16 at this midsection.
  • the harness 16 is configured so that the midsection where the tether 18 couples or connects to the harness 16 allows the tether 18 to hang freely proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passing across the wearer's sternum.
  • the tether 18 may be coupled to the harness 16 so that it hangs freely proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line that generally passes across the upper gladiolus or manubrium of the wearer's sternum.
  • the tether 18 is formed from a section of the flexible material 20 that passes through the fastener 24 , as shown in FIG. 2 .
  • the tether 18 may be formed from a separate piece of material that is coupled to the harness 16 generally along the midsection of the harness 16 .
  • a separate fastener or other coupling mechanism may be used to couple the tether 18 to the harness 16 .
  • the tether 18 may also be coupled to the harness 16 using sections of the flexible material forming either the tether 18 , the harness 16 or both and tying them together with a slip knot that allows the position of the tether to be adjusted in relation to the harness 16 without disconnecting the tether 18 from the harness 16 .
  • a fixed or non-releasable knot may be used to couple the tether 18 to the harness 16 .
  • the tether 18 extends from the harness 16 and is coupled at the other end to the ball 14 .
  • the length of material 20 forming the tether 20 may doubled back into a lower loop 34 that is secured through a fastener 36 positioned along the length of the tether 18 .
  • the fastener 36 may include a cord lock, toggle, buckle, etc., or even a slip knot formed from the flexible material 20 of the tether 18 itself, that allows the sections or lengths of material forming the tether 18 to be gathered, moved and/or adjusted to facilitate adjusting of the length of the tether 18 .
  • suitable releasable cord lock fasteners for the fastener 30 include those described in U.S. Pat.
  • an upper loop (not shown) may be provided at the upper end in the tether 18 where it couples to the harness 16 for adjusting the length of the tether 18 .
  • the fastener 30 is formed as a cord lock fastener having a longitudinal aperture or passage 38 through which the lengths of flexible material 20 forming the tether 18 are passed.
  • a spring-biased depressible plunger 40 is also provided with the cord lock 30 to facilitate selective release and engagement of the flexible material passing through the aperture 38 .
  • the free end 42 of the material 20 forming the tether 18 may be looped up and down through the aperture 40 of the cord lock 30 , as shown in FIG. 2 . This provides a bend in the flexible material 20 of the tether that facilitates preventing slippage of the flexible material through the aperture 38 during use.
  • the free end 42 may be passed up through the aperture 38 .
  • a knot or enlarged end cap may be provided at the free end 42 to prevent the free end 42 from dislocating and passing through the aperture 40 .
  • a ball coupling system 44 may be provided with the ball 14 to facilitate coupling of the ball 14 to the tether 18 .
  • the coupling system 44 may be formed from one or more lengths of a narrow flexible material or cord 46 that are coupled at one end to the ball 14 .
  • the ends of the flexible cord 46 may be sewn directly into the seams of the ball so that they are permanently fixed.
  • Other means of coupling the flexible cord 46 to the ball 14 may also be used.
  • the flexible cord 46 is non-releasably coupled or permanently fixed to the ball 14 .
  • the flexible cord 46 may be releasably coupled to the ball 14 , as well. If more than one length of flexible cord 46 is used, the ends of the material 46 that are coupled to the ball 14 may be spaced apart. In the embodiment shown, there are four generally equal lengths of flexible cord 46 that are spaced apart in a rectangular pattern from about 1 inch to about 4 inches (2.5 cm to 10.2 cm) apart from each other at the surface of the ball 14 and extend to the tether 18 . Although four lengths of cord 46 are shown, two, three or any number of lengths of flexible material may be used. If three lengths of cord are used, these may be arranged in a triangular pattern at the surface of the ball 14 where they connect. The length of each cord may range from about 1 inch to about 12 inches (2.5 cm to 30.5 cm) or more.
  • the lengths of cord 46 may converge and be gathered together at the ends that couple to the tether 18 opposite the ball 14 by means of a fastener 48 .
  • the fastener 48 may be any fastening means that facilitates the general gathering of the several lengths of cord 46 to facilitate coupling the coupling system 44 to the tether 18 .
  • the fastener 48 may be a buckle, ring, sleeve, crimp or other device that facilitates coupling to and gathering the lengths of cord 46 together.
  • a single length of flexible cord is used to form two shorter lengths 46 , with the midsection of the flexible cord being coupled to the fastener 48 to form the two separate shorter lengths.
  • the fastener 48 may be movably or non-movably coupled to the lengths of cord.
  • the fastener 48 may also include a knot formed by tying the lengths of cord together or by tying the lengths of cord to the flexible material 20 of the tether 18 .
  • the fastener 48 may be eliminated in certain embodiments.
  • a single cord may be used and formed as a continuation of the material 20 forming the tether 18 so that the tether 18 is continuous and is essentially coupled directly to the ball 14 .
  • the fastener 48 may form a loop, eyelet or other means for coupling the tether 18 to the coupling system 44 . This may include tying the cord lengths 46 together to provide such a loop or eyelet.
  • the tether 18 may be coupled to the fastener 48 through a swivel 50 , which is shown having a swivel body 52 and opposite eyelets 54 , 56 . This facilitates eliminating twisting of the tether 18 and lengths cord material 46 .
  • the eyelet 56 of the swivel 50 is shown coupled to the fastener 48 .
  • the swivel 50 may also serve as the fastener 48 (i.e. eyelet 56 ), so that a separate fastener 48 is not required. In other embodiments, no swivel may be used.
  • the loop 34 of the tether may be passed from the loop of the fastener 48 or through the eyelet 54 of the swivel 50 , as shown.
  • An elastic or non-elastic band 58 or other device may be coupled to or otherwise be provided with the device 10 to facilitate gathering the flexible materials and cords of the device 10 and securing them together for storage.
  • the band 58 is coupled to one of the cords 46 of the coupling system 44 .
  • a repositionable sleeve or other gathering device may secure around or to the several cords 46 at different positions along their lengths. This may facilitate gathering the cords 46 together at different positions to adjust the effective length of the cords 46 . This may cause the ball 14 to twist and turn at different rates or in a different manner so that a different play may be provided depending upon the position of the sleeve or gathering device.
  • the band 58 may be used for this purpose.
  • the gathering device may be provided by tying the cords 46 together along their lengths at different positions.
  • FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of a ball coupling system 60 for use with the device 10 , with similar components designated with the same reference numerals.
  • the coupling system 60 is a releasable coupling system.
  • the ball 14 is provided with one or more attachment members 62 , which may be formed from a layer of hook and loop fastener material that is secured to the surface of the ball 14 .
  • the ends of the lengths of cord 46 are similarly coupled to one or more attachment members 64 , which may also be in the form of a layer of hook and loop fastener material.
  • the attachment members 64 are configured for releasable engagement with the attachment member(s) 62 of the ball 14 .
  • the coupling system 60 should provide sufficient coupling engagement with the ball such that the ball 14 does not become easily uncoupled from the device 10 during ordinary use.
  • the attachment members may be provided as part of a kit with the device 10 so that they may be applied and used with the user's own supplied ball.
  • a release liner over an adhesive material may be applied to the attachment member 62 so that the user can remove the release liner and couple the attachment member 62 to the surface of the ball.
  • the device 10 may be provided with or without a ball component.
  • FIG. 4 shows still another embodiment of a ball coupling system 70 for use with the device 10 , with similar components designated with the same reference numerals.
  • the coupling system 70 utilizes a net, bag, sheet or other flexible sheet-like member 72 that can be secured around the ball 14 .
  • the cord member or members 46 may be coupled to edges or corners of the member 72 , such as at eyelets 74 provided with the member 72 .
  • This embodiment also allows the user to use's own supplied ball. In such situations the device 10 may be provided with or without a ball component.
  • the harness 16 is secured around the user's upper torso, with the two loops 22 of the harness 16 passing over each arm and around each of the wearer's shoulders.
  • the user may adjust the harness 16 by pressing the plunger 26 of the cord lock fastener 24 so that the lengths of material 20 passing through the fastener of the harness 16 can be moved. Once fully adjusted, releasing the plunger causes the cord lock fastener to engage and secure the lengths of flexible material of the harness in place.
  • the tether 18 hangs freely from a position proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passes across the wearer's sternum.
  • the tether 18 is generally centered on the wearer's chest. If desired, the position where the tether 18 couples to the harness 16 may be adjusted to either side of the wearer's chest by loosening and sliding the fastener 24 to the desired side accordingly.
  • the length of the tether 18 may be adjusted by shortening or lengthening the lower loop 34 by extending or retracting the free end 42 from the cord lock fastener 36 .
  • the tether 18 may also be adjusted at the fastener 24 by extending or retracting more material of the free end 32 of the harness 16 from the fastener 24 .
  • the device is configured so that the tether 18 has a length such that when the harness 16 is coupled to the wearer's upper torso, the ball 14 is suspended above the ground or level support surface on which the wearer is standing when the wearer is standing in a fully upright position.
  • the expression “fully upright position” is meant to encompass the position wherein the user's legs are generally shoulder width apart and fully extended and the upper body to which the harness is attached is not crouched, stooped or otherwise bent over.
  • the ball 14 may be suspended from about 2 to about 7 inches (5 cm to 18 cm) or more above the ground or support surface.
  • the length of the flexible material may range from about 6 feet to about 10 feet (1.m to m), more particularly in some embodiments from about 7 feet to about 9 feet (2 m to 2.75 m), to provide a length wherein the ball is suspended.
  • the tether 18 may have a length such that the ball 14 may rest on the ground or support surface and may even have a sufficient length such that the ball may rest directly in front or several feet away from the user. As will be described later on, such a configuration does not provide the same type of skills training when the ball is suspended off the ground in accordance with one particular method of the invention. Although, methods wherein the ball rests on the ground when attached to the tether may be useful in some applications.
  • FIG. 6 shows the device 10 being used in accordance with one method of the invention.
  • the ball 14 is suspended above the ground from about 2 to about 7 inches (5 cm to 18 cm) so that it freely hangs from the tether 18 from an area proximate to the user's chest.
  • the ball 14 is kicked away from the user it returns to the user so that it can be kicked repeatedly with the feet or legs, with the ball never touching the ground.
  • the user may alternate between using their left and right legs and feet.
  • the ball 14 can be kicked in generally any direction.
  • the user may employ two or more devices that are worn at the same time so that the user is required to keep the balls in motion by kicking them.
  • the wearer may adjust the position where the tether is suspended from the user's chest so that one tether is positioned a distance to the left or right of the other.
  • a single device 10 may be used that employs more than one tether and ball.
  • FIG. 7 shows a variation of using the device 10 .
  • the user may adjust the harness 16 so that the loops 22 are positioned around the user's upper arms of the wearer's upper torso. This may provide a different degree of control so that the user can make slight adjustments to the swing of the ball using their arms.
  • the tether 16 may still be coupled generally proximate to the user's chest even when coupled to the wearer's arms, as is shown.

Abstract

A ball-handling-skills training device (10) includes a harness (16) configured for coupling to a wearer's upper torso, a ball (14) and a flexible tether (18). The tether (18) is coupled at one end to the harness (16) so that the tether (18) freely hangs proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passing across the wearer's sternum when the harness (16) is coupled to the wearer's upper torso. The tether (18) is configured for coupling at the other end to the ball (14). In a method of use, the ball (14) is kicked with one's feet or legs while the harness (16) is coupled to one's upper torso.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/107,524, filed Oct. 22, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND
  • This invention relates to devices and methods for developing ball handling skills in sports and activities where a ball is kicked with the feet or legs. In soccer or other sports or activities where a ball is kicked, a player may want to develop his or her skills on their own without the assistance of another. In such situations, if a untethered ball is used, the player may find themselves following and retrieving the kicked ball so that less time is spent on the player's kicking skills.
  • To overcome such shortcomings, there have been prior art devices that utilize a tethered ball that is secured to a user so that the ball does not travel too far and is quickly returned to the user. One such device that has been used in the past utilized a tether that attached around a user's neck for suspending a ball. The tether was elastic to facilitate return of the ball to the user after being kicked. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,358,258 and 6,152,838 disclose training devices where an elastic tether is secured around a user's waste so that the ball returns to the user after being kicked off the ground.
  • While such devices may be useful, they have certain limitations. Accordingly, improvements are necessary.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a ball-handling training device constructed in accordance with the invention;
  • FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of portions of the ball-handling training device of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a ball-handling training device, shown with a releasable coupling system for coupling a ball to a tether of the device;
  • FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of still another alternate embodiment of a ball-handling training device, shown with a net or bag coupling system for coupling a ball to a tether of the device;
  • FIG. 5 is a front view of a user in a fully upright position using the ball-handling training device of FIG. 1, with a harness of the device secured around the shoulders of the user and the ball of the device suspended above the ground in accordance with a method of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective side view of a user kicking a ball of the ball-handling training device of FIG. 1 in accordance with a method of the invention; and
  • FIG. 7 is a front view of a user in a fully upright position with the ball-handling training device with a harness of the device secured around the upper arms of a user.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a ball-handling training device 10 is shown. The device 10 may be used in practicing and developing kicking skills, such as in soccer or other sports where a ball or other item is kicked with the legs or feet. The device 10 includes a tethering system 12 that is coupled to a ball 14.
  • The ball 14 may be generally spherical or oval in shape. In one embodiment, the ball 14 is a soccer ball that may be of different sizes, such as size 2, 3, 4 and 5 soccer balls. Other shapes and sizes for the ball 14 may also be used. The ball 14 may have an oval shape, such as used in rugby or American football. As used herein, the term “ball” is meant to include other items that may be kicked with the legs or feet that may not customarily referred to as balls but may be kicked in a similar manner using the device.
  • The tethering system 12 includes a harness 16 that is configured for coupling to the upper torso of a human user. A flexible tether 18 is coupled at one end to the harness 16. As shown in FIG. 1, the harness 16 and tether 18 may be formed from a single continuous length of flexible material 20, such as a length of narrow cord, rope, webbing, etc. In other embodiments, the harness 16, tether 18, or components thereof may be formed separately.
  • In one particular embodiment, the harness 16 has two loops 22 of flexible material that are configured to pass over each arm and around each of the wearer's shoulders. As discussed, these may be formed from a section of the continuous length of material 20. A fastener 24 may be used to gather or secure the sections of flexible material 20 forming the harness 16 to form the loops 22. The fastener 24 may be selectively releasable and include a cord lock, toggle, buckle, etc., or even a slip knot formed from the flexible material 20 itself, that allows the sections or lengths of material forming the harness 16 to be gathered, moved and/or adjusted to adjust the size or position of the harness 16. Non-limiting examples of suitable releasable cord lock fasteners that may be used with device 10 include those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,288,891; 4,328,605 and 4,453,292, which are each incorporated herein by reference. In the embodiment shown, the fastener 24 is a cord lock fastener with a spring-biased depressible plunger 26 and two spaced apart apertures 28, 30 through which the lengths of flexible material 20 may pass. In other embodiments, the fastener 24 may be non-releasable or permanently fix the loops 22 so that they are non-adjustable. The free end 32 of the flexible material 20 forming the harness 16 may be knotted or provided with an enlarged end cap to prevent dislocating and passage of the material 20 through the apertures of the fastener 24.
  • Other configurations for the harness 16 may also be used. The harness 16 may also be configured as a vest, shirt or other article or device that couples to a wearer's upper torso and may be provided with a coupling mechanism or device for coupling the tether 18 to the harness 16 to provide the desired coupling position of the tether 18, as described more fully below.
  • In the embodiment shown, the harness 16 has a midsection that generally extends transversely across the wearer's chest. The tether 18 couples to the harness 16 at this midsection. The harness 16 is configured so that the midsection where the tether 18 couples or connects to the harness 16 allows the tether 18 to hang freely proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passing across the wearer's sternum. In some embodiments, the tether 18 may be coupled to the harness 16 so that it hangs freely proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line that generally passes across the upper gladiolus or manubrium of the wearer's sternum.
  • In the embodiment shown, the tether 18 is formed from a section of the flexible material 20 that passes through the fastener 24, as shown in FIG. 2. In other embodiments, the tether 18 may be formed from a separate piece of material that is coupled to the harness 16 generally along the midsection of the harness 16. A separate fastener or other coupling mechanism may be used to couple the tether 18 to the harness 16. The tether 18 may also be coupled to the harness 16 using sections of the flexible material forming either the tether 18, the harness 16 or both and tying them together with a slip knot that allows the position of the tether to be adjusted in relation to the harness 16 without disconnecting the tether 18 from the harness 16. Alternatively, a fixed or non-releasable knot may be used to couple the tether 18 to the harness 16.
  • The tether 18 extends from the harness 16 and is coupled at the other end to the ball 14. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the length of material 20 forming the tether 20 may doubled back into a lower loop 34 that is secured through a fastener 36 positioned along the length of the tether 18. The fastener 36 may include a cord lock, toggle, buckle, etc., or even a slip knot formed from the flexible material 20 of the tether 18 itself, that allows the sections or lengths of material forming the tether 18 to be gathered, moved and/or adjusted to facilitate adjusting of the length of the tether 18. Examples of suitable releasable cord lock fasteners for the fastener 30 include those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,288,891; 4,328,605 and 4,453,292, as previously discussed. In an alternate embodiment, an upper loop (not shown) may be provided at the upper end in the tether 18 where it couples to the harness 16 for adjusting the length of the tether 18.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, the fastener 30 is formed as a cord lock fastener having a longitudinal aperture or passage 38 through which the lengths of flexible material 20 forming the tether 18 are passed. A spring-biased depressible plunger 40 is also provided with the cord lock 30 to facilitate selective release and engagement of the flexible material passing through the aperture 38. The free end 42 of the material 20 forming the tether 18 may be looped up and down through the aperture 40 of the cord lock 30, as shown in FIG. 2. This provides a bend in the flexible material 20 of the tether that facilitates preventing slippage of the flexible material through the aperture 38 during use. In other embodiments, the free end 42 may be passed up through the aperture 38. A knot or enlarged end cap may be provided at the free end 42 to prevent the free end 42 from dislocating and passing through the aperture 40.
  • A ball coupling system 44 may be provided with the ball 14 to facilitate coupling of the ball 14 to the tether 18. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the coupling system 44 may be formed from one or more lengths of a narrow flexible material or cord 46 that are coupled at one end to the ball 14. In certain embodiments, such as when the ball 14 is configured as a soccer ball, the ends of the flexible cord 46 may be sewn directly into the seams of the ball so that they are permanently fixed. Other means of coupling the flexible cord 46 to the ball 14 may also be used. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the flexible cord 46 is non-releasably coupled or permanently fixed to the ball 14. The flexible cord 46 may be releasably coupled to the ball 14, as well. If more than one length of flexible cord 46 is used, the ends of the material 46 that are coupled to the ball 14 may be spaced apart. In the embodiment shown, there are four generally equal lengths of flexible cord 46 that are spaced apart in a rectangular pattern from about 1 inch to about 4 inches (2.5 cm to 10.2 cm) apart from each other at the surface of the ball 14 and extend to the tether 18. Although four lengths of cord 46 are shown, two, three or any number of lengths of flexible material may be used. If three lengths of cord are used, these may be arranged in a triangular pattern at the surface of the ball 14 where they connect. The length of each cord may range from about 1 inch to about 12 inches (2.5 cm to 30.5 cm) or more.
  • It should be noted that when a numerical range is presented herein as an example, or as being useful, suitable, etc., it is intended that any and every amount or point within the range, including the end points, is to be considered as having been stated. Furthermore, when the modifier “about” is used with reference to a range or numerical value, it should also be alternately read as to not include this modifier, and when the modifier “about” is not used with reference to a range or numerical value, the range or value should be alternately read as including the modifier “about.”
  • The lengths of cord 46 may converge and be gathered together at the ends that couple to the tether 18 opposite the ball 14 by means of a fastener 48. The fastener 48 may be any fastening means that facilitates the general gathering of the several lengths of cord 46 to facilitate coupling the coupling system 44 to the tether 18. The fastener 48 may be a buckle, ring, sleeve, crimp or other device that facilitates coupling to and gathering the lengths of cord 46 together. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a single length of flexible cord is used to form two shorter lengths 46, with the midsection of the flexible cord being coupled to the fastener 48 to form the two separate shorter lengths. The fastener 48 may be movably or non-movably coupled to the lengths of cord. The fastener 48 may also include a knot formed by tying the lengths of cord together or by tying the lengths of cord to the flexible material 20 of the tether 18. Where a single length of cord 46 is employed, the fastener 48 may be eliminated in certain embodiments. In some embodiments, a single cord may be used and formed as a continuation of the material 20 forming the tether 18 so that the tether 18 is continuous and is essentially coupled directly to the ball 14.
  • The fastener 48 may form a loop, eyelet or other means for coupling the tether 18 to the coupling system 44. This may include tying the cord lengths 46 together to provide such a loop or eyelet. The tether 18 may be coupled to the fastener 48 through a swivel 50, which is shown having a swivel body 52 and opposite eyelets 54, 56. This facilitates eliminating twisting of the tether 18 and lengths cord material 46. The eyelet 56 of the swivel 50 is shown coupled to the fastener 48. In some embodiments, the swivel 50 may also serve as the fastener 48 (i.e. eyelet 56), so that a separate fastener 48 is not required. In other embodiments, no swivel may be used. The loop 34 of the tether may be passed from the loop of the fastener 48 or through the eyelet 54 of the swivel 50, as shown.
  • An elastic or non-elastic band 58 or other device may be coupled to or otherwise be provided with the device 10 to facilitate gathering the flexible materials and cords of the device 10 and securing them together for storage. In the embodiment shown, the band 58 is coupled to one of the cords 46 of the coupling system 44.
  • In certain embodiments, a repositionable sleeve or other gathering device may secure around or to the several cords 46 at different positions along their lengths. This may facilitate gathering the cords 46 together at different positions to adjust the effective length of the cords 46. This may cause the ball 14 to twist and turn at different rates or in a different manner so that a different play may be provided depending upon the position of the sleeve or gathering device. In some embodiments, the band 58 may be used for this purpose. In other embodiments, the gathering device may be provided by tying the cords 46 together along their lengths at different positions.
  • FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of a ball coupling system 60 for use with the device 10, with similar components designated with the same reference numerals. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the coupling system 60 is a releasable coupling system. The ball 14 is provided with one or more attachment members 62, which may be formed from a layer of hook and loop fastener material that is secured to the surface of the ball 14. The ends of the lengths of cord 46 are similarly coupled to one or more attachment members 64, which may also be in the form of a layer of hook and loop fastener material. The attachment members 64 are configured for releasable engagement with the attachment member(s) 62 of the ball 14. The coupling system 60 should provide sufficient coupling engagement with the ball such that the ball 14 does not become easily uncoupled from the device 10 during ordinary use. In certain embodiments, the attachment members may be provided as part of a kit with the device 10 so that they may be applied and used with the user's own supplied ball. A release liner over an adhesive material may be applied to the attachment member 62 so that the user can remove the release liner and couple the attachment member 62 to the surface of the ball. In such situations the device 10 may be provided with or without a ball component.
  • FIG. 4 shows still another embodiment of a ball coupling system 70 for use with the device 10, with similar components designated with the same reference numerals. The coupling system 70 utilizes a net, bag, sheet or other flexible sheet-like member 72 that can be secured around the ball 14. The cord member or members 46 may be coupled to edges or corners of the member 72, such as at eyelets 74 provided with the member 72. This embodiment also allows the user to use's own supplied ball. In such situations the device 10 may be provided with or without a ball component.
  • Other ball coupling systems may also be used with the device 10, such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,358,258; 5,772,542 and 6,152,838, which are each incorporated herein by reference.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, a user is shown employing the device 10. As can be seen, the harness 16 is secured around the user's upper torso, with the two loops 22 of the harness 16 passing over each arm and around each of the wearer's shoulders. The user may adjust the harness 16 by pressing the plunger 26 of the cord lock fastener 24 so that the lengths of material 20 passing through the fastener of the harness 16 can be moved. Once fully adjusted, releasing the plunger causes the cord lock fastener to engage and secure the lengths of flexible material of the harness in place. As can be seen, the tether 18 hangs freely from a position proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passes across the wearer's sternum. As shown, the tether 18 is generally centered on the wearer's chest. If desired, the position where the tether 18 couples to the harness 16 may be adjusted to either side of the wearer's chest by loosening and sliding the fastener 24 to the desired side accordingly.
  • The length of the tether 18 may be adjusted by shortening or lengthening the lower loop 34 by extending or retracting the free end 42 from the cord lock fastener 36. The tether 18 may also be adjusted at the fastener 24 by extending or retracting more material of the free end 32 of the harness 16 from the fastener 24. In some embodiments, the device is configured so that the tether 18 has a length such that when the harness 16 is coupled to the wearer's upper torso, the ball 14 is suspended above the ground or level support surface on which the wearer is standing when the wearer is standing in a fully upright position. As used herein, the expression “fully upright position” is meant to encompass the position wherein the user's legs are generally shoulder width apart and fully extended and the upper body to which the harness is attached is not crouched, stooped or otherwise bent over. In such situations, the ball 14 may be suspended from about 2 to about 7 inches (5 cm to 18 cm) or more above the ground or support surface. Where the device 10 is constructed using a single continuous length of flexible material to form the harness 16 and tether 18, as has been previously described, the length of the flexible material may range from about 6 feet to about 10 feet (1.m to m), more particularly in some embodiments from about 7 feet to about 9 feet (2 m to 2.75 m), to provide a length wherein the ball is suspended.
  • In other embodiments, the tether 18 may have a length such that the ball 14 may rest on the ground or support surface and may even have a sufficient length such that the ball may rest directly in front or several feet away from the user. As will be described later on, such a configuration does not provide the same type of skills training when the ball is suspended off the ground in accordance with one particular method of the invention. Although, methods wherein the ball rests on the ground when attached to the tether may be useful in some applications.
  • FIG. 6 shows the device 10 being used in accordance with one method of the invention. In such method, the ball 14 is suspended above the ground from about 2 to about 7 inches (5 cm to 18 cm) so that it freely hangs from the tether 18 from an area proximate to the user's chest. Once the ball 14 is kicked away from the user it returns to the user so that it can be kicked repeatedly with the feet or legs, with the ball never touching the ground. The user may alternate between using their left and right legs and feet. The ball 14 can be kicked in generally any direction. In a variation of use, the user may employ two or more devices that are worn at the same time so that the user is required to keep the balls in motion by kicking them. When two or more devices 10 are used, the wearer may adjust the position where the tether is suspended from the user's chest so that one tether is positioned a distance to the left or right of the other. Alternatively, a single device 10 may be used that employs more than one tether and ball.
  • FIG. 7 shows a variation of using the device 10. In this variation, the user may adjust the harness 16 so that the loops 22 are positioned around the user's upper arms of the wearer's upper torso. This may provide a different degree of control so that the user can make slight adjustments to the swing of the ball using their arms. The tether 16 may still be coupled generally proximate to the user's chest even when coupled to the wearer's arms, as is shown.
  • While the invention has been shown in only some of its forms, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible to various changes and modifications without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention.

Claims (22)

1. A method of ball-handling-skills training, the method comprising:
kicking with one's feet or legs a ball of a ball-handling training device that is provided with a harness that is coupled to one's upper torso, the ball being coupled to a flexible tether that is coupled at one end to the harness so that the tether freely hangs proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passing across the wearer's sternum when the harness is coupled to the wearer's upper torso, the tether configured for coupling at the other end to the ball.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether is adjustable in length.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein:
a releasable fastener is provided with the tether to facilitate selectively adjusting the length of the tether.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether and harness are formed from a single continuous length of flexible material.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the ball is coupled to the tether through a swivel.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the ball is releasably coupled to the tether.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether is non-elastic.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether is elastic.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether has a length such that when the harness is coupled to the wearer's upper torso, the ball is suspended above the ground or support surface on which the wearer is standing when the wearer is standing in a fully upright position.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether is coupled to the ball by at least two lengths of cord that couple to the ball at spaced apart positions.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the tether is coupled to the ball by at least three lengths of cord that couple to the ball at spaced apart positions.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the ball is a soccer ball.
13. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the harness has two loops of flexible material configured to pass over each arm and around each of the wearer's shoulders.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein:
a releasable fastener is provided with the harness to facilitate selectively adjusting the size of the harness.
15. A ball-handling-skills training device comprising:
a harness configured for coupling to a wearer's upper torso;
a ball;
a flexible tether that is coupled at one end to the harness so that the tether freely hangs proximate to the wearer's chest at a position along a transverse line generally passing across the wearer's sternum when the harness is coupled to the wearer's upper torso, the tether configured for coupling at the other end to the ball.
16. The training device of claim 15, further comprising:
the tether is adjustable in length.
17. The training device of claim 15, wherein:
the tether and harness are formed from a single continuous length of flexible material.
16. The training device of claim 15, wherein:
the ball is releasably coupled to the tether.
17. The training device of claim 15, wherein:
the tether is non-elastic.
18. The training device of claim 15, wherein:
the tether has a length such that when the harness is coupled to the wearer's upper torso, the ball is suspended above the ground or support surface on which the wearer is standing when the wearer is standing in a fully upright position.
19. The training device of claim 15, wherein:
the harness has two loops of flexible material configured to pass over each arm and around each of the wearer's shoulders.
20. The training device of claim 1, wherein:
a releasable fastener is provided with the tether to facilitate selective adjusting of the size of the harness.
US13/123,564 2008-10-22 2009-10-21 Device and Method for Ball-Handling-Skills Training Abandoned US20110201458A1 (en)

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US10752408P 2008-10-22 2008-10-22
PCT/US2009/061451 WO2010048267A1 (en) 2008-10-22 2009-10-21 Device and method for ball-handling-skills training
US13/123,564 US20110201458A1 (en) 2008-10-22 2009-10-21 Device and Method for Ball-Handling-Skills Training

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KR101780497B1 (en) 2017-04-19 2017-10-10 조위현 Exercising apparatus using a ball
US20180028889A1 (en) * 2015-02-26 2018-02-01 Geir Kroken Training equipment comprising harness for ball training
KR101953806B1 (en) * 2018-02-20 2019-06-11 조위현 exercising apparatus using a ball
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KR101953806B1 (en) * 2018-02-20 2019-06-11 조위현 exercising apparatus using a ball

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WO2010048267A1 (en) 2010-04-29
EP2349501A4 (en) 2013-11-13
ZA201103668B (en) 2012-01-25
EP2349501A1 (en) 2011-08-03
AU2009307640A1 (en) 2010-04-29

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