US20110294608A1 - Target Table Tennis - Google Patents

Target Table Tennis Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110294608A1
US20110294608A1 US12/788,067 US78806710A US2011294608A1 US 20110294608 A1 US20110294608 A1 US 20110294608A1 US 78806710 A US78806710 A US 78806710A US 2011294608 A1 US2011294608 A1 US 2011294608A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
target
player
target device
table tennis
projectile
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Abandoned
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US12/788,067
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Thomas Klest
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Individual
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Individual
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Priority to US12/788,067 priority Critical patent/US20110294608A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B63/00Targets or goals for ball games
    • A63B63/06Revolving targets ; Moving targets, e.g. moving or revolving on impact
    • 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
    • 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
    • A63B2102/16Table tennis
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B67/00Sporting games or accessories therefor, not provided for in groups A63B1/00 - A63B65/00
    • A63B67/04Table games physically beneficial for the human body, modelled on outdoor sports, e.g. table tennis

Definitions

  • This invention relates to a game of table tennis.
  • Table tennis is a popular worldwide sport. The game is played with two to four players across a table, who hit a lightweight hollow ball back and forth with rackets. Typically, a game of table tennis is played on a 9 ft ⁇ 5 ft ⁇ 30 inch (2.74 m ⁇ 1.53 m ⁇ 0.76 m) table. As table tennis is a popular sport, variations of table tennis have been developed to add different features or new challenges to the game. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,034,978 discloses a modified table tennis game with end goals detachably mounted to the table.
  • Table tennis is a competitive sport which players may often need to practice in order to execute a proper swing and/or enhance the precision of a shot placement. In order to become proficient at table tennis, a player may need to practice for many hours. One way a player can increase their proficiency at table tennis is to train by having a specific target on the table to hit a certain number of times.
  • Previous table tennis target systems have components that are fixed to the table or require substantial effort to reposition the targets from a first location to a second or third location. For example, much storage space is needed and extensive setup is required to use the device of U.S. Pat. No. 5,470,057. Further, a special table is required in U.S. Pat. No. 4,010,952.
  • the present inventor has recognized the need for a table tennis training device which provides the user with visual information on the precision of their shot.
  • the present inventor has recognized the need for a table tennis training device which allows for the repetitive play needed for a user to hone-in their shots.
  • the present inventor has recognized a need for a training device that will improve a player's swing, muscle memory, hand-to-eye coordination and reflexes.
  • the present inventor has recognized the need for a training device that helps avoid boredom.
  • the present inventor has recognized that a need for a target device able to be re-positioned quickly to provide versatility needed by players.
  • the present inventor has recognized the need for a training device and game which is compact, and does not need assembly.
  • the present inventor has recognized the need for a game which is competitive, stimulating, and fast paced.
  • the present inventor has recognized the need for a variation of a table tennis game which adds new challenging features, yet is portable, inexpensive, and easy to set up without requiring any modification to the table tennis table.
  • the variation can easily be used in conjunction with other modifications to a table tennis game.
  • the invention provides a target device comprising a target portion, and a base portion for placement on the surface of a table tennis table.
  • the target device can be a base weighted target which is able to rebound to an upright position.
  • the target device can be used as part of a method for training for a player to play table tennis, or as an addition to enhance a game of table tennis.
  • the target device may be knocked down, such that user intervention is required to reposition the target device, or the target device may be able to rebound and reposition itself in an upright position without user intervention.
  • the target device may comprise a target portion having a region, such as a hoop, through which the table tennis ball may pass.
  • the invention provides a method of training a player, comprising placing target devices at predetermined locations on a table tennis playing surface to encourage the user to practice launching or returning projectiles at specified locations. If the user does not hit the target device, the user will be able to visually estimate how far they were from the target device, and compensate for the distance the next time.
  • Different difficulty levels of target devices may also be used to train the user to perfect an aim while exerting a specific degree of force. For example, a target may be more difficult to knock down due to its weight, to encourage a trainee to adapt to making a precise aim while using a certain level of force. Alternatively, a target may be more difficult to knock down because it is smaller, thus requiring more accuracy on the part of the user.
  • the invention provides a method of enhancing a table tennis game, by positioning target devices in various places on a table tennis playing surface.
  • six target devices are placed on the playing surface, with three devices on each player's side.
  • Opposing players have mirror image alignment of the target device on each side.
  • a player then tries to knock down the opponent's target device while defending the player's own target device from being knocked down.
  • Different points may be associated with each target device or target portion according to the difficulty in knocking the target device down, striking or knocking the target portion down, or sending a projectile through a target portion.
  • the difficulty associated with knocking the target device or target portion down can be due to a target device's position on the playing surface, its size, its weight, or any other parameter that would make a target more difficult to hit or knock down.
  • a player may score by sending their ball through the hoop of an opponent's target device.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table tennis table showing an exemplary embodiment of a target device placed on the table surface.
  • FIG. 2A is perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 2B is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 2C is a perspective view of an alternate exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 2D is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of yet another exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 4 is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device which provides an area through which a projectile can pass.
  • FIG. 5A is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of the target device with two target areas.
  • FIG. 5B is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device with two areas though which a projectile can pass.
  • FIG. 5C is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of the target device comprising a target area and an area through which a projectile can pass.
  • the invention provides a target device for placement on the surface of a table tennis table as illustrated in FIG. 1 .
  • the target device comprises a target portion and a base portion.
  • Target devices may be of different sizes, weights, material, and be shaped or decorated with figures, caricatures or any artistic form.
  • the target device 20 may be a one piece base weighted target device or a hollow cylinder 25 with a weighted base portion 30 where the base portion 30 weighs more than the cylinder 25 as illustrated in FIG. 2A .
  • the base portion 30 may have a lip 40 around the circumference of the base 30 to stabilize the target device 20 .
  • the base may be solid.
  • the target device may be solid, in combination with a weighted base that is solid or hollow.
  • the one piece base weighted target device is weighted such that when struck by a ball, the target device is capable of bouncing off the playing surface such that the target device repositions itself in an upright position.
  • the weight of the target device is substantially evenly distributed throughout the target device.
  • the base portion may have a suction cup disposed on the bottom surface of the base portion to temporary attach the target device to the playing surface.
  • the target device 20 has a thickness “T”, a height “H”, a diameter “d”, a base height “B”, a lip extension height of “L”, and a lip base diameter “D”.
  • the target device is 0.0165′′ (0.042 cm) thick, 2.5′′ (6.4 cm) tall, with a diameter of 0.75′′ (1.90 cm), a base diameter of 0.875′′ (2.22 cm), a base height of 0.312′′ (0.794 cm), and a lip extension height of 0.0625′′ (0.159 cm).
  • the target device 20 may be any weight within a range suitable for being knocked down by a table tennis ball.
  • the target device may have a weight of, for example, 6, 7, or 8 grams.
  • the target device may comprise a base portion 50 connected to a target portion 70 by a hinge 60 .
  • the hinge 60 may be a spring hinge that causes the target portion 70 to swing back to its original position, or may be a hinge which remains in an angle of rotation reflective of the degree of force with which the target portion 70 was hit.
  • the hinge may extend parallel to the playing surface 75 , as illustrated in FIG. 2B , or may extend perpendicular to the playing surface when the target portion extends horizontally from the base as illustrated in FIG. 5A .
  • the target device may comprise a base portion 100 with a slot or a groove 80 into which a target portion 90 may be fitted.
  • the target portion 90 can be easily removed, the target portion can be interchangeable with other target portions to increase or decrease the size of the target portion.
  • the groove or slot may be parallel to a playing surface, or aligned perpendicular to the playing surface 221 when the target portions 210 , 230 are aligned to extend horizontally from the base 220 as illustrated in FIG. 5A .
  • the base portion 110 instead of a groove or a slot in the base portion as illustrated in FIG. 2C , the base portion 110 comprises a bore 120 through which a peg 125 connected to the target portion 130 is fitted to removeably connect the target portion 130 to the base 110 to provide a similar interchangeability of target portions as discussed with respect to FIG. 2C .
  • target portions may be detached from the base portions
  • target portions may be interchanged with other target portions to display a different target portion size, a different point value, or to provide a target with a different composition.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a self-repositioning target device with a weighted concave base 160 , similar to a bop bag, which is capable of repositioning itself back in alignment with a vertical axis 170 perpendicular to the playing surface 140 .
  • a self-repositioning target returns to an original upright position after it has been hit.
  • Other self-repositioning target devices or materials suitable for repositioning target devices known to one skilled in the art can also be used.
  • Self-repositioning target devices include target devices having self-repositioning target portions such as target devices with spring hinges as discussed above, target devices with foam target portions, or other suitable material or composition to allow the target portion, once struck, to conform to its original position.
  • the target portion may also comprise a hoop or other shapes to encourage the user to aim the ball such that the ball passes through the hoop.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a target device 190 comprising a target portion 200 through which a projectile can pass and a weighted base 180 .
  • each target device can comprise more than one target portion. If a target device comprises more than one target portion such as illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5C , the target portions may vary in difficulty, such as having differently sized or shaped target portions, or a combination of different target portions as illustrated in FIG. 5C .
  • the target device can be used as part of a method for table tennis training.
  • target devices may be placed at predetermined locations on a table tennis playing surface to encourage the user to practice launching projectiles, such as table tennis balls, at specified locations indicated by the target device. If the user does not hit the target device, the user will be able to visually estimate how far they were from the target device, and compensate for the distance the next time.
  • Different difficulty levels of target devices may be used to train the user to aim with a specific degree of force. For example, a target device, or a target portion may be more difficult to knock down due to its weight, to encourage a trainee to adapt to using a certain level of force.
  • target devices with target portions that have less surface area or a smaller region through which a projectile may pass will require a greater skill of accuracy than target devices with a larger surface area or larger region through which a projectile may pass.
  • target devices which are positioned at oblique angles with respect to the playing surface can be used to encourage the player to make contact with the target portion at predetermined points in the ball trajectory.
  • the target device can be used as a part of a method of playing target table tennis.
  • the method involves following the standard rules of table tennis as modified below.
  • target devices can be positioned in various places on a table tennis playing surface.
  • six target devices are placed on the playing surface, with three devices on each player's side.
  • Opposing players have substantial mirror image alignment of the target device on each side.
  • a player While playing under the standard rules of table tennis as modified below, a player then tries to knock down the target portion of opponent's target while defending the player's own target portion from being knocked down. Different points may be associated with each target portion according to the difficulty in knocking the target portion down.
  • the difficulty associated with knocking the target portion down can be due to a target portion's position on the playing surface, its size, its weight, or any other parameter that would make a target portion more difficult to strike, knock down or have a projectile pass through.
  • the target devices 20 are arranged as mirror images on either side of the table surface 10 .
  • Players on either end of the table tennis table attempt to knock down the target devices 20 to score points, while defending the target devices 20 on their own side from being knocked down.
  • the method of playing target table tennis involves placing three target devices on each player's side in substantial mirror image arrangement in their starting home positions.
  • a first target device is positioned at the center line 11′′ (27.94 cm) from the end edge of the table
  • a second target device is positioned 7′′ (17.78 cm) from the end edge of the table and 5′′ (12.7 cm) from the side edge.
  • a third target device is placed the same distance as the second target device, except on the opposite side of the centerline.
  • the same rules as in table tennis may be used as modified below.
  • the game is played where the object of the game is to knock out the opponent's target device. The first player to do so wins the game.
  • RRN resolution reference number
  • the target table tennis game may be played in accordance with the following rules and resolution reference numbers: A player knocks down the opponent's pin with the ball and (a) the target device bounces back up and the opponent (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN6, or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN4; (b) the target device stays down and the opponent (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN7, or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN1; (c) the ball bounces back to the player's court without being struck with the opponent's racket and (1) the target device bounces back up, invoking RRN4, or (2) the target device stays down, invoking RRN1.
  • a player knocks down the opponent's target device (a) by moving the table, invoking RRN2, (b) with another of the opponent's target device, whether or not the target device was standing at the time it was propelled, invoking RRN5, or (c) with the player's racket, invoking RRN2.
  • a player hits the opponent's target device without knocking it down with (a) the ball and the opponent (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN6, or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN4; (b) another one of the opponent's target devices, invoking RRN6; (c) the player's racket, invoking RRN2; (d) one of the player's target devices, invoking RRN3 and repositioning the opponent's target device to its new home; or (e) moving the table, invoking RRN2.
  • a player knocks down their own target device (a) with their racket, except while swinging at the ball, invoking RRN3; (b) with another one of the player's own target device, invoking RRN3; (c) with any part of the player's body except the racket hand while swinging at the ball, invoking RRN3; (d) with the player's clothing, invoking RRN3; (e) and the player's target device crosses to the opponent's court, invoking RRN3; (f) by moving the playing surface, invoking RRN3; and (g) on purpose, invoking RRN3.
  • a player hits their own target device without knocking it down (a) with the ball or with the player's racket while swinging at the ball and (1) on the serve the player otherwise (i) makes a good serve—refer to rules pertaining to a net ball, or (ii) does not make a good serve, invoking RRN2; (2) on a return the player otherwise (i) makes a good return, invoking RRN8, or (ii) does not make a good return, invoking RRN2; (b) with the players racket, invoking RRN3; (c) with another one of the player's own target device, invoking RRN8; (d) with the player's body, invoking RRN2; (e) with the player's clothing, invoking RRN2; (f) by moving the playing surface, invoking RRN2; or (g) on purpose, invoking RRN3.
  • a “neutral strike” is deemed to be one where during a rally, the ball bounces off a target device without hitting the playing surface, or when the ball bounces off a target device and then off a playing surface once (in both cases it is counted as striking the playing surface only once).
  • a ball can bounce off a target device multiple times and or off multiple target device and without hitting the playing surface or hitting the playing surface once and it is still counted as hitting the playing surface only once. Therefore, after bouncing off a target, the ball can be returned without hitting the playing surface or hitting the playing surface once saving any target device knocked over on that shot.
  • a ball can no longer be returned once it strikes the same court twice or rolls across the surface, but the ball is still alive until it passes beyond any of its home court edges, or stops.
  • the ball can still knock down other target devices.
  • the ball can only be stopped with the player's racket. Any pins that are knocked down are knocked out. Any pins that rebound up or are moved by the ball remain where they land.
  • a target device set in motion during a rally keeps the rally alive until passing beyond any of its home court edges or stops. Therefore the target device can still knock down target devices.
  • the target device can only be stopped with a player's racket. Any pins that are knocked down are knocked out. Any pins that rebound up or moved remain where they land.
  • a rally is not stopped if a target device is knocked over and the ball remains in play by a good return.
  • the target device can be removed from the playing surface by using a player's racket only.
  • RRN2 No goaltending, otherwise RRN2 is invoked. No volleying, otherwise RRN2 is invoked. A player can only hit the ball with the racket. Once a ball goes beyond the edge of the table without striking the surface or a target device, it is out of play. Any target devices traveling past the edge of the playing surface without being saved first are knocked out. At the end of each rally, all knocked over target devices are removed from the playing surface and the playing area, or replaced back up according to the rules.
  • a serve is deemed to be a “net ball” if on the serve the ball hits the net or net support but is otherwise a good serve, if the ball or racket while swinging at the ball hits the server's target devices but is otherwise a good serve, or if the ball strikes the server's target device and proceeds over the net without touching the server's court, but is otherwise a good serve.
  • the rally is over. Any target devices moved or knocked down are replaced back to their new home.
  • the server serves over. Any combination of net balls on one serve is counted as one net ball.
  • a player serving two consecutive net balls gives up the serve to their opponent. Definitions of game terminology for use in one embodiment of the target table tennis game are shown in Table 2. Handicaps such as removing and adding target devices, or placing target devices in more difficult positions, may be used. In a doubles game, partners alternate their serves.
  • RRN1 The rally is over.
  • the opponent's target device is knocked out and the player gets the serve.
  • RRN2 The rally is over.
  • the player positions the target device back to its new home position.
  • the opponent gets the serve.
  • RRN3 The rally is over.
  • the player's target device is knocked out and the opponent gets the serve RRN4 The rally is over.
  • the target device remains where it landed and the player gets the serve.
  • the target device is knocked out.
  • RRN6 Play continues as long as the ball is in play.
  • the target device remains where it landed.
  • RRN7 Play continues as long as the ball is in play. After the rally, any target device that are saved are replaced to their starting home position.
  • RRN8 Play continues as long as the ball is in play. After the rally the target device is replaced back to its new home.
  • New Home The position of a target device just prior to the previous serve.
  • Pin Target device Racket The racket hand below the wrist while the racket is in the player's hand, and the racket Rally The period in which the ball is in play through the period in which there is no movement of the target device or ball above or on the playing surface Starting The position of a target device at the beginning of a game.
  • Home Start of a The start of the serve with the ball in the open palm of the server.
  • Rally The Serve Starts with the ball in the open palm of the server. Volley Upon a return, a player strikes the ball before it touches the playing surface or a target device.
  • each player can set up one target device on the center line 11′′ (27.94 cm) from their end edge of the table.
  • the player scores a point, or the player may use the rules as described to count knock outs. The first player to accrue eleven points wins.
  • the target device can also be adapted for use in conjunction with other variations of table tennis, such as weatherproof outdoor tables, and swimming pool versions of table tennis, wherein appropriate weight, a suction cup, or other suitable means is used to maintain the target device in position on the playing surface if so desired.
  • the target device may also be used in conjunction with other variations of table tennis, such as variations which include boards with holes, or nets as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,034,978 herein incorporated by reference.
  • the target device may be used with automatic serving machines, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,213,724.
  • the use of the target device to training or play a game can improve a player's reflexes and hand-eye coordination by repetition, and further may promote activity and health in players.
  • the target device is highly portable.

Abstract

A target device and method of training for table tennis, and providing a variation of table tennis. Target devices, comprising a target portion and a base portion, are placed on a playing surface. The target portion may be self-repositioning and/or interchangeable. Target devices are placed at predetermined locations on a playing surface to encourage user to practice a swing for aiming at specific locations. The user will be able to visually estimate how far they were from the target device, and compensate for the distance the next time, if the user does not hit the target device. Different difficulty levels of target devices, due to differences in weight or size of the target portion, may be used. Target devices are also placed on a playing surface to provide variations to a table tennis game, wherein the object of the game is to knock down the opponent's target devices.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to a game of table tennis.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Table tennis is a popular worldwide sport. The game is played with two to four players across a table, who hit a lightweight hollow ball back and forth with rackets. Typically, a game of table tennis is played on a 9 ft×5 ft×30 inch (2.74 m×1.53 m×0.76 m) table. As table tennis is a popular sport, variations of table tennis have been developed to add different features or new challenges to the game. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,034,978 discloses a modified table tennis game with end goals detachably mounted to the table.
  • Table tennis is a competitive sport which players may often need to practice in order to execute a proper swing and/or enhance the precision of a shot placement. In order to become proficient at table tennis, a player may need to practice for many hours. One way a player can increase their proficiency at table tennis is to train by having a specific target on the table to hit a certain number of times.
  • Previous table tennis target systems have components that are fixed to the table or require substantial effort to reposition the targets from a first location to a second or third location. For example, much storage space is needed and extensive setup is required to use the device of U.S. Pat. No. 5,470,057. Further, a special table is required in U.S. Pat. No. 4,010,952.
  • The present inventor has recognized the need for a table tennis training device which provides the user with visual information on the precision of their shot.
  • The present inventor has recognized the need for a table tennis training device which allows for the repetitive play needed for a user to hone-in their shots. The present inventor has recognized a need for a training device that will improve a player's swing, muscle memory, hand-to-eye coordination and reflexes.
  • The present inventor has recognized the need for a training device that helps avoid boredom.
  • The present inventor has recognized that a need for a target device able to be re-positioned quickly to provide versatility needed by players.
  • The present inventor has recognized the need for a training device and game which is compact, and does not need assembly.
  • The present inventor has recognized the need for a game which is competitive, stimulating, and fast paced.
  • The present inventor has recognized the need for a variation of a table tennis game which adds new challenging features, yet is portable, inexpensive, and easy to set up without requiring any modification to the table tennis table. The variation can easily be used in conjunction with other modifications to a table tennis game.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention provides a target device comprising a target portion, and a base portion for placement on the surface of a table tennis table. The target device can be a base weighted target which is able to rebound to an upright position. The target device can be used as part of a method for training for a player to play table tennis, or as an addition to enhance a game of table tennis.
  • The target device may be knocked down, such that user intervention is required to reposition the target device, or the target device may be able to rebound and reposition itself in an upright position without user intervention. Alternatively, the target device may comprise a target portion having a region, such as a hoop, through which the table tennis ball may pass.
  • The invention provides a method of training a player, comprising placing target devices at predetermined locations on a table tennis playing surface to encourage the user to practice launching or returning projectiles at specified locations. If the user does not hit the target device, the user will be able to visually estimate how far they were from the target device, and compensate for the distance the next time. Different difficulty levels of target devices may also be used to train the user to perfect an aim while exerting a specific degree of force. For example, a target may be more difficult to knock down due to its weight, to encourage a trainee to adapt to making a precise aim while using a certain level of force. Alternatively, a target may be more difficult to knock down because it is smaller, thus requiring more accuracy on the part of the user.
  • The invention provides a method of enhancing a table tennis game, by positioning target devices in various places on a table tennis playing surface. In one embodiment, six target devices are placed on the playing surface, with three devices on each player's side. Opposing players have mirror image alignment of the target device on each side. A player then tries to knock down the opponent's target device while defending the player's own target device from being knocked down. Different points may be associated with each target device or target portion according to the difficulty in knocking the target device down, striking or knocking the target portion down, or sending a projectile through a target portion. The difficulty associated with knocking the target device or target portion down can be due to a target device's position on the playing surface, its size, its weight, or any other parameter that would make a target more difficult to hit or knock down. Alternatively, a player may score by sending their ball through the hoop of an opponent's target device.
  • Numerous other advantages and features of the present invention will be become readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention and the embodiments thereof, from the claims and from the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table tennis table showing an exemplary embodiment of a target device placed on the table surface.
  • FIG. 2A is perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 2B is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 2C is a perspective view of an alternate exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 2D is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of yet another exemplary embodiment of the target device.
  • FIG. 4 is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device which provides an area through which a projectile can pass.
  • FIG. 5A is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of the target device with two target areas.
  • FIG. 5B is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the target device with two areas though which a projectile can pass.
  • FIG. 5C is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of the target device comprising a target area and an area through which a projectile can pass.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there are shown in the drawings, and will be described herein in detail, specific embodiments thereof with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated.
  • The invention provides a target device for placement on the surface of a table tennis table as illustrated in FIG. 1. The target device comprises a target portion and a base portion. Target devices may be of different sizes, weights, material, and be shaped or decorated with figures, caricatures or any artistic form. For example, the target device 20 may be a one piece base weighted target device or a hollow cylinder 25 with a weighted base portion 30 where the base portion 30 weighs more than the cylinder 25 as illustrated in FIG. 2A. The base portion 30 may have a lip 40 around the circumference of the base 30 to stabilize the target device 20. The base may be solid. Alternatively, the target device may be solid, in combination with a weighted base that is solid or hollow. In one embodiment, the one piece base weighted target device is weighted such that when struck by a ball, the target device is capable of bouncing off the playing surface such that the target device repositions itself in an upright position. In another embodiment, the weight of the target device is substantially evenly distributed throughout the target device. In an alternative embodiment, the base portion may have a suction cup disposed on the bottom surface of the base portion to temporary attach the target device to the playing surface.
  • The target device 20 has a thickness “T”, a height “H”, a diameter “d”, a base height “B”, a lip extension height of “L”, and a lip base diameter “D”. In one embodiment, the target device is 0.0165″ (0.042 cm) thick, 2.5″ (6.4 cm) tall, with a diameter of 0.75″ (1.90 cm), a base diameter of 0.875″ (2.22 cm), a base height of 0.312″ (0.794 cm), and a lip extension height of 0.0625″ (0.159 cm). The target device 20 may be any weight within a range suitable for being knocked down by a table tennis ball. The target device may have a weight of, for example, 6, 7, or 8 grams.
  • In another embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 2B, the target device may comprise a base portion 50 connected to a target portion 70 by a hinge 60. The hinge 60 may be a spring hinge that causes the target portion 70 to swing back to its original position, or may be a hinge which remains in an angle of rotation reflective of the degree of force with which the target portion 70 was hit. The hinge may extend parallel to the playing surface 75, as illustrated in FIG. 2B, or may extend perpendicular to the playing surface when the target portion extends horizontally from the base as illustrated in FIG. 5A. In an alternative embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 2C, the target device may comprise a base portion 100 with a slot or a groove 80 into which a target portion 90 may be fitted. Because the target portion 90 can be easily removed, the target portion can be interchangeable with other target portions to increase or decrease the size of the target portion. In another embodiment, the groove or slot may be parallel to a playing surface, or aligned perpendicular to the playing surface 221 when the target portions 210, 230 are aligned to extend horizontally from the base 220 as illustrated in FIG. 5A. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2D, instead of a groove or a slot in the base portion as illustrated in FIG. 2C, the base portion 110 comprises a bore 120 through which a peg 125 connected to the target portion 130 is fitted to removeably connect the target portion 130 to the base 110 to provide a similar interchangeability of target portions as discussed with respect to FIG. 2C.
  • In embodiments where target portions may be detached from the base portions, target portions may be interchanged with other target portions to display a different target portion size, a different point value, or to provide a target with a different composition.
  • The entire target device may be knocked down, such that user intervention is required to reposition the target device, or the entire target device may be able to rebound and reposition itself in an upright position without user intervention. For example, FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a self-repositioning target device with a weighted concave base 160, similar to a bop bag, which is capable of repositioning itself back in alignment with a vertical axis 170 perpendicular to the playing surface 140. A self-repositioning target returns to an original upright position after it has been hit. Other self-repositioning target devices or materials suitable for repositioning target devices known to one skilled in the art can also be used. Self-repositioning target devices include target devices having self-repositioning target portions such as target devices with spring hinges as discussed above, target devices with foam target portions, or other suitable material or composition to allow the target portion, once struck, to conform to its original position.
  • The target portion may also comprise a hoop or other shapes to encourage the user to aim the ball such that the ball passes through the hoop. FIG. 4 illustrates a target device 190 comprising a target portion 200 through which a projectile can pass and a weighted base 180. In another embodiment, each target device can comprise more than one target portion. If a target device comprises more than one target portion such as illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5C, the target portions may vary in difficulty, such as having differently sized or shaped target portions, or a combination of different target portions as illustrated in FIG. 5C.
  • In one aspect, the target device can be used as part of a method for table tennis training. To train a player, target devices may be placed at predetermined locations on a table tennis playing surface to encourage the user to practice launching projectiles, such as table tennis balls, at specified locations indicated by the target device. If the user does not hit the target device, the user will be able to visually estimate how far they were from the target device, and compensate for the distance the next time. Different difficulty levels of target devices may be used to train the user to aim with a specific degree of force. For example, a target device, or a target portion may be more difficult to knock down due to its weight, to encourage a trainee to adapt to using a certain level of force. Other ways of generating differences in difficulty level can be attributed to a difference in the size or height of the target device. For example, target devices with target portions that have less surface area or a smaller region through which a projectile may pass will require a greater skill of accuracy than target devices with a larger surface area or larger region through which a projectile may pass. In other embodiments, target devices which are positioned at oblique angles with respect to the playing surface can be used to encourage the player to make contact with the target portion at predetermined points in the ball trajectory.
  • In another aspect, the target device can be used as a part of a method of playing target table tennis. The method involves following the standard rules of table tennis as modified below. To enhance a table tennis game, target devices can be positioned in various places on a table tennis playing surface. In one embodiment, six target devices are placed on the playing surface, with three devices on each player's side. Opposing players have substantial mirror image alignment of the target device on each side. While playing under the standard rules of table tennis as modified below, a player then tries to knock down the target portion of opponent's target while defending the player's own target portion from being knocked down. Different points may be associated with each target portion according to the difficulty in knocking the target portion down. The difficulty associated with knocking the target portion down can be due to a target portion's position on the playing surface, its size, its weight, or any other parameter that would make a target portion more difficult to strike, knock down or have a projectile pass through. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the target devices 20 are arranged as mirror images on either side of the table surface 10. Players on either end of the table tennis table attempt to knock down the target devices 20 to score points, while defending the target devices 20 on their own side from being knocked down.
  • In one embodiment, the method of playing target table tennis involves placing three target devices on each player's side in substantial mirror image arrangement in their starting home positions. A first target device is positioned at the center line 11″ (27.94 cm) from the end edge of the table, a second target device is positioned 7″ (17.78 cm) from the end edge of the table and 5″ (12.7 cm) from the side edge. A third target device is placed the same distance as the second target device, except on the opposite side of the centerline. The same rules as in table tennis may be used as modified below. The game is played where the object of the game is to knock out the opponent's target device. The first player to do so wins the game. Rules pertaining to whether a target device should be considered “knocked out” or “saved” need to be established. Where applicable, a player may refer to a resolution reference number (RRN), provided in Table 1, to determine the outcome of a particular set of playing circumstances. In one example, the target table tennis game may be played in accordance with the following rules and resolution reference numbers: A player knocks down the opponent's pin with the ball and (a) the target device bounces back up and the opponent (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN6, or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN4; (b) the target device stays down and the opponent (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN7, or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN1; (c) the ball bounces back to the player's court without being struck with the opponent's racket and (1) the target device bounces back up, invoking RRN4, or (2) the target device stays down, invoking RRN1. A player knocks down the opponent's target device (a) by moving the table, invoking RRN2, (b) with another of the opponent's target device, whether or not the target device was standing at the time it was propelled, invoking RRN5, or (c) with the player's racket, invoking RRN2. A player hits the opponent's target device without knocking it down with (a) the ball and the opponent (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN6, or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN4; (b) another one of the opponent's target devices, invoking RRN6; (c) the player's racket, invoking RRN2; (d) one of the player's target devices, invoking RRN3 and repositioning the opponent's target device to its new home; or (e) moving the table, invoking RRN2. A player knocks down their own target device with the ball or their racket while swinging at the ball and (a) on the serve the player otherwise (1) makes a good serve—refer to rules regarding net balls, or (2) does not make a good serve, invoking RRN3; (b) the target device bounces back up and the player (1) make a good return, invoking RRN8 or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN2; or (c) the target device stays down and the player (1) makes a good return, invoking RRN8 or (2) does not make a good return, invoking RRN4. A player knocks down their own target device (a) with their racket, except while swinging at the ball, invoking RRN3; (b) with another one of the player's own target device, invoking RRN3; (c) with any part of the player's body except the racket hand while swinging at the ball, invoking RRN3; (d) with the player's clothing, invoking RRN3; (e) and the player's target device crosses to the opponent's court, invoking RRN3; (f) by moving the playing surface, invoking RRN3; and (g) on purpose, invoking RRN3. A player hits their own target device without knocking it down (a) with the ball or with the player's racket while swinging at the ball and (1) on the serve the player otherwise (i) makes a good serve—refer to rules pertaining to a net ball, or (ii) does not make a good serve, invoking RRN2; (2) on a return the player otherwise (i) makes a good return, invoking RRN8, or (ii) does not make a good return, invoking RRN2; (b) with the players racket, invoking RRN3; (c) with another one of the player's own target device, invoking RRN8; (d) with the player's body, invoking RRN2; (e) with the player's clothing, invoking RRN2; (f) by moving the playing surface, invoking RRN2; or (g) on purpose, invoking RRN3.
  • A “neutral strike” is deemed to be one where during a rally, the ball bounces off a target device without hitting the playing surface, or when the ball bounces off a target device and then off a playing surface once (in both cases it is counted as striking the playing surface only once). A ball can bounce off a target device multiple times and or off multiple target device and without hitting the playing surface or hitting the playing surface once and it is still counted as hitting the playing surface only once. Therefore, after bouncing off a target, the ball can be returned without hitting the playing surface or hitting the playing surface once saving any target device knocked over on that shot. A ball can no longer be returned once it strikes the same court twice or rolls across the surface, but the ball is still alive until it passes beyond any of its home court edges, or stops. Therefore the ball can still knock down other target devices. The ball can only be stopped with the player's racket. Any pins that are knocked down are knocked out. Any pins that rebound up or are moved by the ball remain where they land. A target device set in motion during a rally keeps the rally alive until passing beyond any of its home court edges or stops. Therefore the target device can still knock down target devices. The target device can only be stopped with a player's racket. Any pins that are knocked down are knocked out. Any pins that rebound up or moved remain where they land. A rally is not stopped if a target device is knocked over and the ball remains in play by a good return. The target device can be removed from the playing surface by using a player's racket only. No goaltending, otherwise RRN2 is invoked. No volleying, otherwise RRN2 is invoked. A player can only hit the ball with the racket. Once a ball goes beyond the edge of the table without striking the surface or a target device, it is out of play. Any target devices traveling past the edge of the playing surface without being saved first are knocked out. At the end of each rally, all knocked over target devices are removed from the playing surface and the playing area, or replaced back up according to the rules. A serve is deemed to be a “net ball” if on the serve the ball hits the net or net support but is otherwise a good serve, if the ball or racket while swinging at the ball hits the server's target devices but is otherwise a good serve, or if the ball strikes the server's target device and proceeds over the net without touching the server's court, but is otherwise a good serve. In one embodiment, if the serve is a net ball, the rally is over. Any target devices moved or knocked down are replaced back to their new home. The server serves over. Any combination of net balls on one serve is counted as one net ball. A player serving two consecutive net balls gives up the serve to their opponent. Definitions of game terminology for use in one embodiment of the target table tennis game are shown in Table 2. Handicaps such as removing and adding target devices, or placing target devices in more difficult positions, may be used. In a doubles game, partners alternate their serves.
  • TABLE 1
    Resolution Reference Numbers and Rules
    RRN Resolution Result
    RRN1 The rally is over. The opponent's target device is knocked out and the player gets
    the serve.
    RRN2 The rally is over. The player positions the target device back to its new home
    position. The opponent gets the serve.
    RRN3 The rally is over. The player's target device is knocked out and the opponent gets
    the serve
    RRN4 The rally is over. The target device remains where it landed and the player gets the
    serve.
    RRN5 Play continues as long as the ball is in play. The target device is knocked out.
    RRN6 Play continues as long as the ball is in play. The target device remains where it
    landed.
    RRN7 Play continues as long as the ball is in play. After the rally, any target device that
    are saved are replaced to their starting home position.
    RRN8 Play continues as long as the ball is in play. After the rally the target device is
    replaced back to its new home.
  • TABLE 2
    Definitions of Game Terminology
    Term Definition
    A Good Returning the ball to your opponent's court in a manner which keeps the ball in
    Return play.
    Ball in play Start of the serve through the point at which the ball can no longer be returned.
    Ball out of The ball can no longer be returned.
    play
    Goaltending Placing the racket between the ball and the target device before the ball strikes
    the playing surface.
    Home Court 1. Playing surface between a player's end edge and the net; 2. The court a target
    device is on at the beginning of a game; 3. The side of the court which a ball
    bounces more than once in a row or rolls.
    Knock To cause a target device to fall down.
    Down
    Knock Out A target device being knocked down during a rally without being able to be
    replaced back into the game.
    New Home The position of a target device just prior to the previous serve.
    Pin Target device
    Racket The racket hand below the wrist while the racket is in the player's hand, and the
    racket
    Rally The period in which the ball is in play through the period in which there is no
    movement of the target device or ball above or on the playing surface
    Starting The position of a target device at the beginning of a game.
    Home
    Start of a The start of the serve with the ball in the open palm of the server.
    Rally
    The Serve Starts with the ball in the open palm of the server.
    Volley Upon a return, a player strikes the ball before it touches the playing
    surface or a target device.
  • Alternate arrangements with more or less target devices, and in other positions are possible, as well as the use of a combination of devices, such as those in FIGS. 2A-2D, 3, and 5A-5C, as well as target devices designed to vary in difficulty level as discussed above. For example, each player can set up one target device on the center line 11″ (27.94 cm) from their end edge of the table. Each time a player hits the opponent's target device, the player scores a point, or the player may use the rules as described to count knock outs. The first player to accrue eleven points wins.
  • The target device can also be adapted for use in conjunction with other variations of table tennis, such as weatherproof outdoor tables, and swimming pool versions of table tennis, wherein appropriate weight, a suction cup, or other suitable means is used to maintain the target device in position on the playing surface if so desired. The target device may also be used in conjunction with other variations of table tennis, such as variations which include boards with holes, or nets as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,034,978 herein incorporated by reference. The target device may be used with automatic serving machines, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,213,724.
  • Moreover, the use of the target device to training or play a game can improve a player's reflexes and hand-eye coordination by repetition, and further may promote activity and health in players. The target device is highly portable.
  • From the foregoing, it will be observed that numerous variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific apparatus illustrated herein is intended or should be inferred.

Claims (12)

1. A table tennis target device for use on the surface of a table tennis table comprising a weighted base portion configured to placement on a table surface and a target portion extending from the weighted base portion, wherein the base portion biases the device toward an upright position.
2. The target device of claim 1 wherein the target portion is removeably connected to the weighted base portion.
3. The target device of claim 1 wherein the target device or the target portion is self-repositioning.
4. The target device of claim 1 wherein the target portion comprises an opening through which a projectile can pass.
5. The target device of claim 1, further comprising more than one target portion extending from the weighted base portion.
6. The target device of claim 1, comprising at least one target portion extending horizontally from the weighted base portion.
7. A method of training a table tennis player comprising the steps of:
providing a visual designation of where the player should aim a projectile;
providing a visual indication if the player has successfully aimed the projectile at a specific location; and
providing a visual determination of how close the player was to aiming the projectile at the specific location if the player does not successfully aim the projectile at a specific location.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the step of providing a visual designation comprises positioning a target device at which the user aims the projectile.
9. The method of claim 7, wherein the step of providing a visual indication if the player has successfully aimed the projectile comprises providing a visual indication of the degree of success or strength with which the player has hit the projectile in the desired location.
10. The method of claim 7, wherein the step of providing a visual designation further comprises providing different difficulty levels of aim for training the player.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein different difficulty levels train the player's aim, or the ability of the player to aim at a desired strength with which the player hits the projectile.
12. A method for playing an interactive multiple player game of a variation of table tennis between at least two players, comprising the steps of:
arranging target devices on the table tennis playing surface such that each player's side of the table is in substantially mirror image alignment with the target devices on the opponent's side;
striking down the opponents target device or striking the target portion of the opponent's target device using the table tennis ball or aiming the table tennis ball to pass through a target portion if the target portion comprises a region through which a projectile can pass; and
preventing a player's own set of target devices from being struck down, or being struck at the target portion by deflecting the opponent's table tennis ball using a paddle, or preventing the opponent's table tennis ball from passing through the target portion if the target portion comprises a region through which a projectile can pass.
US12/788,067 2010-05-26 2010-05-26 Target Table Tennis Abandoned US20110294608A1 (en)

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US8641562B1 (en) * 2012-05-16 2014-02-04 Jerry Tuttle Table tennis system
CN103908770A (en) * 2014-03-28 2014-07-09 沈阳师范大学 Ping pong ball flying drop point control device
USD736328S1 (en) * 2014-12-15 2015-08-11 Pro Performance Sports, L.L.C. Athletic field cone marker
CN105080098A (en) * 2015-08-25 2015-11-25 于芳 Multifunctional table tennis table
CN115212538A (en) * 2022-07-20 2022-10-21 山东财经大学 Device for stimulating learning interest of students in physical education teaching management

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