US20130237347A1 - Sports Training Apparatus - Google Patents

Sports Training Apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130237347A1
US20130237347A1 US13/483,401 US201213483401A US2013237347A1 US 20130237347 A1 US20130237347 A1 US 20130237347A1 US 201213483401 A US201213483401 A US 201213483401A US 2013237347 A1 US2013237347 A1 US 2013237347A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
rod
cord
ball
support
base
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US13/483,401
Inventor
Bill Icim
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Bill Icim
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to AU2012900945A priority Critical patent/AU2012900945A0/en
Priority to AU2012900945 priority
Application filed by Bill Icim filed Critical Bill Icim
Priority claimed from AU2013201395A external-priority patent/AU2013201395A1/en
Publication of US20130237347A1 publication Critical patent/US20130237347A1/en
Assigned to FREEMAN, MICHAEL H, FREE reassignment FREEMAN, MICHAEL H, FREE NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS Assignors: NOTICE OF PENDING LAWSUIT TO REVOKE ASSIGNMENTS
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • 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
    • A63B67/20Games using a bat or racket with a ball or other body tethered thereto
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B61/00Tennis nets or accessories for tennis or like games, e.g. volley-ball
    • A63B61/003Nets for tennis or like games or accessories therefor
    • A63B61/006Accessories for training purposes mounted on the net
    • 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
    • A63B69/38Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for tennis
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2209/00Characteristics of used materials
    • A63B2209/02Characteristics of used materials with reinforcing fibres, e.g. carbon, polyamide fibres
    • 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
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2210/00Space saving
    • A63B2210/50Size reducing arrangements for stowing or transport
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2225/00Other characteristics of sports equipment
    • A63B2225/09Adjustable dimensions

Abstract

A sports training apparatus includes a base for mounting onto a support. A rod is attached to the base in a manner in which at least part of the rod can extend beyond the base so that when the base is mounted on the support, the rod extends above the support. An elastic cord is attached to the rod at one end. A ball is attached to another end of the cord. The rod is positioned so that when a tension is set up in the cord as a result of movement of the ball away from the support in one direction, the rod and the cord can cooperate to facilitate the return of the ball over the support in an opposite direction when the cord contracts.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of Australian Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 2012900945 filed on Mar. 9, 2012.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention relates to a sports training apparatus. The invention also provides a sports training kit.
  • BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
  • Many types of sports training apparatus, including those for racquet sports such as tennis training apparatus, are directed towards providing repetitive action to permit a user repeatedly to perform certain strokes or movements.
  • It is desirable that a user or player not have to collect a ball after each strike. This has been achieved to some degree with various ball launchers that launch multiple balls. However, such launchers suffer from a number of disadvantages.
  • Launchers can be bulky and heavy, making transport and set up difficult. They usually require a power supply, which can be inconvenient where the training area is remote. The use of a launcher also requires that a large number of balls be supplied. Also, once all the balls have been launched, it is necessary to refill the launcher. This can be tedious and time confusing.
  • In addition to the above disadvantages, launchers tend to launch balls in a predictable pattern, which is different to the random nature of a game. As a result, a user can easily anticipate the flight of the ball.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention provides a sports training apparatus, which includes: a base for mounting onto a support; a rod that is attached to the base in a manner in which at least part of the rod can extend beyond the base so that when the base is mounted on the support, the rod extends above the support; an elastic cord that is attached to the rod at one end; and a ball that is attached to another end of the cord, the rod being positioned so that when the cord extends as a result of movement of the ball away from the support in one direction, the rod and the cord can cooperate to facilitate the return of the ball over the support in an opposite direction when the cord contracts.
  • The rod may be resilient so that it can bend in the direction of movement of the ball away from the support as the cord extends to help return the ball when the cord contracts and the rod straightens so that a user can strike the ball repeatedly.
  • It will be appreciated that the height of the rod above the support also helps to return the ball over the support.
  • The rod may be elongated and formed from a material that allows the rod to bend or flex when the cord is extended by the ball being struck and travelling over the support away from the rod
  • The rod may be pivotal or hinged relative to the base to pivot or swing between an operative position in which the rod extends above the support when the base is mounted on the support and an inoperative position in which the rod extends below the support to avoid obstructing the ball as it returns over the support.
  • The sports training apparatus may include a hinge or joint for attaching the rod to the base to provide pivotal or hinged movement of the rod between the operative and inoperative positions.
  • The joint may permit the rod to pivot or swing under gravity from the operative position to the inoperative position. Also, one of the joint and the base can incorporate or include a stop so that the rod stops at the operative position once it has moved away from the inoperative position under action of the ball being struck and subsequently moving over the support. Return of the ball and subsequent slackening of the cord causes the rod to swing back down, under gravity, to the inoperative position to facilitate movement of the ball back over the support without obstruction by the rod.
  • The rod may be attached to the joint in a manner in which detachment is facilitated. In one embodiment, the joint may include a tubular portion defining a passage for receiving the rod, and a grub screw, clamping device, or other securing mechanism for securing the rod in the passage in a manner which allows release and removal or adjustment of a length or height of the rod above the support.
  • The joint may be configured to provide two degrees of freedom of movement. Thus, the joint can be a universal joint, or can be a complete joint with two hinge zones or locations. It follows that the rod can also tilt from side-to-side to facilitate variance in the manner in which the ball travels.
  • The base may include a board. The board may have a mounting, clipping or fastening device for mounting the board onto the support. The device may permit removal and replacement of the board.
  • The stop may be a stopper that is interposed between the joint and an end of the board. The clipping or fastening device may be oriented so that when the board is mounted on the support, the joint and the stopper are positioned with the stopper above the joint. Thus, the stopper is in a position for stopping the rod when the rod pivots towards the operative position. The stopper may be formed from a resilient shock absorbing material such as rubber.
  • The stopper can be in the form of a number of different shapes. For example, the stopper can be cylindrical to present a circular stopping face. Where the joint is universal or complex, the stopper can extend across the board to accommodate pivotal and angular movement of the rod.
  • The board may be generally rectangular in shape and may define opposing laterally inwardly projecting recesses for winding the cord onto the board. It follows that the cord can be wound about the board to facilitate stowing of the apparatus.
  • The board may also define an aperture that is shaped and sized for receiving the ball in a friction fit to facilitate stowing of the apparatus.
  • The board may include a strap that is attached to the board for strapping an operatively lower end of the board to the support to stabilise the board, in use.
  • The cord may be of latex or rubber or of a material with similar properties to latex or rubber. The latex may be natural or synthetic. The cord may solid with a diameter of between 2 mm and 4 mm, for example, 3 mm. Instead, the cord may be tubular so that the cord has less mass than a solid cord of similar dimensions with similar elastic properties. In one example, an outer diameter of the cord may be between approximately 3 mm and 5 mm while an inner diameter of the cord may be between approximately 2 mm and 4 mm. Also, the cord may be between 3 m and 15 m in length. However, it will be appreciated that this length can vary depending on the application.
  • The cord may be attached to the rod with a swivel connector mounted on an end of the rod. This permits the cord to swivel with respect to the rod to avoid winding up and subsequent entanglement of the cord.
  • The cord may be attached to the rod in a releasable manner so that the cord can be replaced if necessary. For example, the cord can be tied to the swivel connector in a releasable manner.
  • The rod may be between about 40 cm and 70 cm long. For example, the rod may be between about 55 cm and 65 cm and in one embodiment about 58 cm. The rod may have a base diameter of between about 5 mm and 9 mm and a tip diameter of between about 1 mm and 5 mm. For example, the rod may have a base diameter of between about 6 mm and 8 mm, in one embodiment about 7 mm, and a tip diameter of between about 2 mm and 4 mm, in one embodiment about 3 mm.
  • Instead of being a fixed length, the rod may be telescopic so that the length can be adjusted, if necessary.
  • In addition, the rod and the hinge or joint may be configured so that the rod can also spin freely relative to the hinge or joint while being retained against linear movement. This can enhance movement of the cord over the net and can further inhibit entanglement.
  • The ball may be a tennis ball, in which case the clip may be configured for clipping onto an upper edge portion of a tennis net. The strap may include hook-and-loop formations, such as Velcro™, for securing the lower end of the board to the net.
  • The board may define an aperture to form a carry handle, and the strap may pass through the handle, in use, for securing the board to the net.
  • The invention extends to a sports training apparatus, which comprises a base for mounting onto a support; and a rod that is attached to the base in a manner in which at least part of the rod can extend beyond the base so that when the base is mounted on the support, the rod extends above the support, an elastic cord being capable of attachment to the rod at one end with the other end of the cord being connectable to a ball, the rod being positioned so that when a tension is set up in the cord as a result of movement of the ball away from the support in one direction, the rod and the cord can cooperate to facilitate the return of the ball over the support in an opposite direction when the cord contracts.
  • The sports training apparatus may include the cord, a connector being attached to said other end of the cord to permit a ball to be connected to the cord in a releasable manner.
  • The invention also provides a sports training kit, which includes: a racquet; and a sports training apparatus as described above.
  • The kit may include a package for packaging the racquet and the sports training apparatus.
  • The sports training apparatus may include any one or more of the options or features as herein defined, described, and illustrated. For example, a sports training apparatus of the invention may be provided with or without the cord and/or the ball.
  • The racquet may be a tennis racquet.
  • The base or board of the sports training apparatus may be shaped to correspond generally with a head of the racquet, so that the racquet and the sports training apparatus may be stored or carried together with the board within a rim of the racquet and overlying strings of the racquet.
  • The package may be a racquet cover. In that condition, the rod may be removed from the hinge and placed inside the racquet cover.
  • The invention also provides a method for facilitating return of a ball to a user for enabling a user to practice on their own with a net, the method including equipping a court or the like with a sports training apparatus as described above.
  • The sports training apparatus may include any one or more optional features as herein defined, described, and illustrated
  • A sports training apparatus, in accordance with the invention, may manifest itself in a variety of forms. It will be convenient hereinafter to describe embodiments of the invention in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. The purpose of providing this detailed description is to instruct persons having an interest in the subject matter of the invention how to carry the invention into practical effect. However, it is to be clearly understood that the specific nature of this detailed description does not supersede the generality of the preceding broad description.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 shows a three-dimensional view of one embodiment of a sports training apparatus, in accordance with the invention.
  • FIG. 2A shows a schematic side elevation view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 in a mounted, pre-use or inoperative condition, illustrating a manner of movement of a rod of the apparatus.
  • FIG. 2B shows a schematic side elevation view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 in a mounted, operative condition, with a ball of the apparatus moving away from a user.
  • FIG. 2C shows a schematic side elevation view of the sport training apparatus of FIG. 1 in a mounted, operative condition, with a ball of the apparatus moving back towards or returning to a user.
  • FIG. 3 shows a three dimensional view of a kit, in accordance with the invention, that includes a racquet and another embodiment of a sports training apparatus, in accordance with the invention.
  • FIG. 4 shows an exploded three-dimensional view of the apparatus of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 5 shows a three-dimensional view of the apparatus of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 6 shows a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 7 shows a plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 8 shows a three-dimensional view, from behind, of the apparatus of FIG. 3, with one example of a base.
  • FIG. 9 shows a three-dimensional view, from behind, of the apparatus of FIG. 3, with another example of a base.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
  • In the drawings, reference numeral 10 generally indicates a sports training apparatus, in accordance with the invention. In this embodiment, the sports training apparatus is in the form of a training apparatus for ball sports utilising a net. One example of an application is tennis training.
  • The training apparatus 10 includes a base 12 for mounting onto a support, in this example, an upper edge portion of a net 14 (FIGS. 2A to 2C) such as a tennis court net. The training apparatus 10 also includes a rod 16 that is attached to the base 12 in a manner in which at least part of the rod 16 can extend beyond the base 12 so that when the base 12 is mounted on the net 14, the rod 16 can extend above the net 14 as shown in FIG. 2B.
  • An elastic cord 18 is attached to the rod 16 at one end. A ball 20 is attached to the other end of the cord 18. A loop 19 (FIGS. 3 and 5) is attached to the ball 20. A connector 21, such as a clip or swivel, interconnects the cord 18 and the ball 20. The connector 21 permits the ball 20 to pivot or spin relative to the cord 18 to help prevent winding up and entanglement of the cord 18.
  • The rod 16 is positioned so that when the cord 18 extends or stretches as a result of movement of the ball 20 away from the net 14 in one direction (FIG. 2B), the rod 16 and the cord 18 can cooperate to facilitate the return of the ball 20 over the net 14 in an opposite direction (FIG. 2C) when the cord contracts.
  • The base 12 is in the form of a board that is generally rectangular in shape. The board 12 defines opposing laterally inwardly projecting recesses 22 for winding the cord 18 onto the board 12. It follows that the cord 18 can be wound about the board 12 to facilitate stowing of the apparatus 10.
  • The board 12 also defines an aperture 24 that is generally circular and that is shaped and sized for receiving the tennis ball 20 in a friction fit, also to facilitate stowing of the apparatus 10. A groove 26 extends from the circular aperture 24 to receive the portion of the cord 18 adjacent the tennis ball 20.
  • The board 12 has a length of between about 300 mm and 400 mm, for example, about 360 mm and a lateral width of between about 200 mm and 300 mm, for example about 240 mm.
  • The board 12 can be of a number of different materials. For example, the board 12 can be of wood, moulded plastics material or a composite, such as fibreglass composite or carbon fibre composite.
  • The board 12 also defines a generally T-shaped aperture 28 so as to form a carry handle 30. In use, a strap 32 is passed through the aperture 28 for securing an operatively lower end of the board 12 to the tennis net 14, to resist tilting of the board 12, in use. The strap 32 includes hook-and-loop formations, such as Velcro™, for securing the lower end of the board 12 to the tennis net 14. The width of the T-shaped aperture 28 is about 2.5 cm.
  • The board 12 includes a clipping device 34 for temporarily mounting the board 12 onto an upper edge of the net 14, as shown in FIGS. 2A to 2C.
  • The apparatus 10 includes a joint 38 for attaching the rod 16 to the board 12. The joint 38 enables the rod 16 to pivot or hinge between an operative position in which the rod 16 extends above the net 14 when the board 12 is mounted on the net 14 and an inoperative position in which the rod 16 extends below the support to avoid obstructing the ball 20 as it returns back over the net 14. The pivotal movement of the rod 16 is indicated by the arrow 17 in FIGS. 2A to 2C.
  • The joint 38 include a passage defined by a retaining tube 40 for receiving the rod 16, and a grub screw 37 or similar threaded through an opening 43 for bearing against and securing the rod 16 in the tube 40. That way, the rod 16 is detachable so that release and removal of the rod 16 is facilitated. Furthermore, an effective height of the rod 16 above the net 14 can be adjusted by releasing the screw 37 and sliding the rod 16 in the tube 40. It will be appreciated that the height of the rod 16 can be adjusted in other ways, for example, by providing the rod 16 as a telescopic rod. Adjustment of the height allows tuning of the apparatus 10 to suit the style of the user and the required characteristics of the ball flight.
  • The joint 38 includes a post 39 mounted in and extending from the board 12. The retaining tube 40 is mounted on the post 39 with a swivel or pivot mechanism 41.
  • In a shortened condition of the rod 16, a leg 29 of the T-shaped aperture 28 accommodates a lower portion of the rod 16 as it pivots downwardly. The leg 29 has a width of between about 20 mm and 30 mm, for example about 25 mm. A length of the aperture 28 is between about 150 mm and 250 mm, for example about 200 mm.
  • A stop in the form of a stopper 35 is mounted on the board 12. The stopper 35 is interposed between the joint 38 and an operative upper end 45 of the board 12. The clipping device 34 is oriented so that when the board 12 is mounted on the net 14, the joint 38 and the stopper 35 are positioned on a longitudinal axis of the board 12 with the stopper 35 above the joint 38. Thus, the stopper 35 is in a position for stopping the rod 16 when the rod 16 pivots or swivels towards its upright position. The stopper 35 is generally cylindrical and is formed from a resilient shock absorbing material such as rubber.
  • The joint 38 is spaced from the stopper 35 a distance of between about 80 mm and 150 mm, for example about 110 mm. It will be appreciated that the distance between the joint 38 and the stopper 35 is selected to make the best use of the characteristics of the rod 16 to achieve the necessary return force applied to the ball 20 together with the cord 18. It follows that other distances between the joint 38 and the stopper 35 can also be applicable.
  • In particular, the joint 38 and the stopper 35 are spaced so that, together with the rod 16, the ball 20 can exert a force on the rod 16 to generate a whiplash effect as it flips upwardly, strikes the stopper and flexes to return the ball 20.
  • Furthermore, the height of the rod 16 helps to ensure that the ball 20 can clear the net 14 when returning after being struck correctly. As the ball 20 returns, the cord 18 slackens and the rod 16 flips downwardly as a result of at least its centre of gravity with assistance from the recoil off the stopper 35. This allows the ball 20 to pass back over the net 14 without being obstructed by the rod 16.
  • The cord 18 is formed from latex or rubber, and is solid. The cord 18 has a diameter of between about 2 mm and 4 mm, for example about 3 mm. Instead, the cord 18 can be tubular so that the cord 18 has less mass than a solid cord of similar dimensions with similar elastic properties. In this example, an outer diameter of the cord is approximately 3 mm to 5 mm while an inner diameter of the cord 18 is approximately 2 mm to 4 mm. Also, the cord is about 4 m to 15 m long. However, it will be appreciated that this length can vary depending on the application.
  • Broadly, the rod 16 is capable of exerting a pull force on the cord 18 when the cord 18 is tightened or tensioned as a result of extension or stretching by the tennis ball 20 when it is struck over the tennis net 14. The rod 16 is configured to cooperate with the cord 18 to return the tennis ball 20 back over the tennis net 14, as is explained in more detail below.
  • The rod 16 is elongated and formed from a suitable material, such as graphite, carbon fibre or fibre glass that allows the rod 16 to bend against a bias of its original shape or flex resiliently when the cord 18 is tightened by the ball 20 being struck over the tennis net 14 away from the rod 16. An example of a suitable configuration of the rod 16 could be similar to that used for fishing rods. The rod 16 can thus be of a fibre glass composite. Other examples of suitable material include plastics materials and metal, such as spring steel and aluminium or aluminium alloy. It will be appreciated that the cross sectional dimensions of the rod will vary depending on the type of material being used.
  • The rod 16 has a length of between about 400 mm and 700 mm, for example about 580 mm, and tapers from an operative lower end to an operative upper end. When of a glass fibre composite, the rod 16 has a base diameter of between about 5 mm and 9 mm, for example about 7 mm, and a tip diameter of between about 1 mm and 5 mm, for example about 3 mm.
  • The rod 16 also includes a swivel or pivot mount 64 at its end and a loop 66 for attaching the cord 18 to the swivel 64. The swivel 64 allows the loop 66 to spin. That accommodates spinning of the ball 20 at least to some extent which obviates undue twisting of the cord 18 and resultant entanglement. It will be appreciated that the cord 18 can also be detached from the mount 64, for replacement, if necessary. For example, the cord 18 can be tied or untied to or from the mount 64. It follows that it is envisaged that the apparatus 10 can be supplied with or without the cord 18 and/or the ball 20.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a kit 50 is shown that includes a tennis racket 52 and another embodiment of a training apparatus 54. The kit 50 also includes a package (not shown) in the form of a racquet cover for packaging the racquet 52 and the tennis training apparatus 50. With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, like reference numerals refer to like parts, unless otherwise specified.
  • The training apparatus 54 has a board 58 shaped to correspond generally with a head of the racquet 52, so that the racquet 52 and the tennis training apparatus 54 can be stowed generally coincident with each other in the racquet cover. The board 58 is dimensioned to be received within a rim 59 of the racquet 52.
  • The cover can define an aperture so that the joint 38 can project through the aperture when the tennis training apparatus 54 is packaged with the racquet in the racquet cover. The rod 16 can also be packaged by positioning it along a length of the racquet 52 within the racquet cover.
  • Further, instead of a circular aperture for holding the tennis ball 20, the board 58 of the tennis training apparatus 54 defines a widened aperture portion, at 62, for receiving the tennis ball 20 in a frictional fit.
  • FIGS. 4 to 9 show the apparatus 54 in further detail.
  • The clipping device or clip 34 is of a resiliently flexible material, such as a plastics material or sprung steel, that is formed to define a rear flap 68 and a front lip 70 so that the clip 34 is received on the end 45 of the board 58. The end 45 has a recessed portion 72 to accommodate the clip 34.
  • The recessed portion 72 defines a hole 74 that is aligned with an opening 76 in the lip 70 when the lip 70 is fastened to the board 58 with fasteners 78.
  • The board 58 defines a series of locating formations 80 about a periphery of the hole 74. The stopper 35 has a base 82 that defines a series of complementary locating formations 84 that engage the formations 80 as the base 82 is inserted through the opening 76 and into the hole 74.
  • The base 82 also defines a retaining formation 86 to retain the base 82 in the hole 74. A suitable fastener 88 is used to secure the base 82 in the hole 74.
  • A stop member 90 of rubber, elastomeric, or similar material is attached to the base 82.
  • The post 39 of the joint 38 has a pair of arms 92 extending from a base 96. The board 58 defines a socket 94 in which the base 96 is received. The socket 94 and the base 96 define complementary nesting formations 98 to secure the base 96 rotationally with respect to the board 58. A fastener 100, received through a floor 102 of the socket 94 is threaded into the base 96 to secure the base 96 in the socket 94.
  • The arms 92 define aligned, inwardly extending pivot formations 104. A carrier 106 extends from the retaining tube 40. The carrier 106 defines an aperture 108. Each of the pivot formations 104 are received in the aperture 108. The post 39 is oriented so that pivotal movement of the retaining tube 40 is in a plane that substantially longitudinally bisects the board 12.
  • A tubular socket 114 extends from the retaining tube 40. The socket 114 has a hexagonal internal profile to receive a threaded nut 116 so that the nut 116 is locked against rotation. A locking screw 118 has a threaded shank 120 and a head 122 so that the shank 120 can be threaded through the nut 116 to bear against the rod 16. Thus, when the locking screw 118 is loosened, the rod 16 can be shifted into a desired position, or removed. When the rod 16 is in a desired position, the locking screw 118 can be rotated so that the shank 120 bears against the rod 16 to secure the rod 16 in position.
  • A cord winding groove 124 extends from the aperture 28 to one of the recesses 22 to facilitate winding the cord 18 about the board 58 for storage.
  • As can be seen in FIG. 5, the strap 32 has one part 126 of a hook and loop fastening material arranged along its length. Another part 128 of the hook and loop fastening material is arranged on part of an inner surface of the board 58 bounding the aperture 28. Thus, the strap 32 can be used to fasten the board 58 to the net by attaching one end of the strap 32 to the inner surface, threading the strap through the net and fastening the other end of the strap 32 also to the inner surface.
  • FIGS. 6 and 7 show, approximately, the relative dimensions and orientation of the components of the apparatus 54. In particular, selection of the dimensions A, B and C has a material effect on the manner in which the apparatus operates.
  • Dimension A is a height or length of the stopper 35. Dimension B is a distance of a centre-line 130 of the tube 40 from a face 132 of the board 58. Dimension C is a distance from a pivotal axis 134 of the rod 16 to the stopper 35 in a plane of rotation of the rod 16.
  • In this embodiment, A is between approximately 30 mm and 40 mm, for example 33 mm to 37 mm. B is between approximately 35 mm and 50 mm, for example, 35 mm and 40 mm. C is between approximately 90 mm and 100 mm. In one embodiment, the dimensions A and B are selected so that when the rod 16 bears against the stopper 35, a longitudinal axis of the rod 16 diverges from the board 58 towards the end 45 at an angle of between 0 degrees and 10 degrees, for example, 5 degrees. Furthermore, C is selected to achieve a suitable whiplash or dynamic flex of the rod 16 when it strikes the stopper 35.
  • FIGS. 8 and 9 show two different examples of a structure of the board 58. In FIG. 8, the board 58 is moulded with ribbing to provide a board 58 with a structural rigidity similar to that of a solid board, without the weight of a solid board. In FIG. 9, the board 58 can either be solid, or can be the board of FIG. 8 with a backing plate 112 for aesthetic purposes.
  • In use, when a user wishes to train, the user unwinds the cord 18 from the board 12, and mounts the board 12 onto an upper edge portion of the tennis net 14 using the clip 34 and the strap 32 (FIGS. 2A to 2C).
  • At rest, the rod 18 is positioned as shown by 16.1 in FIG. 2A. When a user strikes the tennis ball 20 over the tennis net 14, and with sufficient force, the tennis ball 20 causes the cord 18 to tighten which in turn pulls the rod 16 which then hinges into its upright position. The start of that movement is shown in FIG. 2A by 16.2 as the rod 16 moves into the position shown in FIG. 2B.
  • When the rod 16 reaches its upright position, it bears against the stopper 35, and further tension from the cord 18 causes the rod 16 to bend away from its original shape, as shown in FIG. 2B, while the cord 18 stretches.
  • When the inertia of the tennis ball 20 depletes under influence of the elastic cord 18, the rod 16 returns to its original shape. As a result, the rod 16 pulls the cord 18 and thus the ball 20. This facilitates return of the tennis ball 20 over the tennis net, in a motion similar to a whiplash as shown in FIG. 2C.
  • The return of the tennis ball 20 enables a user to strike the tennis ball 20 repeatedly with the rod 16 moving as indicated by arrow 17.
  • Furthermore, the apparatus permits the ball to bounce on the other side of the net, before returning to the user. This allows the user to determine whether or not he or she has accuracy when playing. This is an aspect which cannot be achieved when a user simply uses a wall against which to train.
  • It is to be appreciated that the selection of relative dimensions, weights and materials determines the operational characteristics of the apparatus 10, 54.
  • For example, the average height of a tennis net is between about 90 and 94 cm, in practice. The length of the rod 16 is selected so that return of the ball 20 over the net is facilitated. As described above, there is an angle between the rod 16 and the board 58 when the rod 16 strikes the stopper 35. That angle is selected so that, when the cord 18 slackens, the rod 16 drops with gravity immediately, allowing the ball 20 to pass back over the net 14 without striking the rod 16.
  • In addition, in one embodiment, the total weight of the rod 16 and the swivel 64 is selected to be about 8% to 12%, for example 10%, lighter than the ball 16. That, together with the angle described above, helps to allow the rod 16 to drop away in a sufficiently short time to avoid obstructing the ball 16.
  • In one embodiment, the weight of the swivel 64 is greater than that of the rod 16. For example, the swivel is between about 4 and 6 grams, for example, 5 grams, and the weight of the rod 16 is between about 1 and 3 grams lighter. Thus, the weight of the swivel 64 together with the angle of the rod 16 relative to the board 12, 58, as described above, helps the rod 16 to drop out of the way of the returning ball 20. In that embodiment, the ball 20 is between about 60 and 70 grams, for example about 66 grams, and the cord 16 is selected to have a weight of between about 10 and 20 grams, for example about 16 grams.
  • It will be appreciated that the relatively high weight of the ball 20 compared to the cord 18 and the rod 16 allow the ball 20 to travel in a natural manner back and forth over the net. Also, the relative dimensions, weights and materials selected allow the rod 16 to swing back and forth in a manner which is consistent and smooth, in a pendulum-type motion, allowing the player to develop a rhythm while still facing ball returns that are more realistic than those from a wall or a machine that launches tennis balls.
  • It will be appreciated that players of different heights will have different stroke requirements. As described above, an extent to which the rod 16 extends above the board 12, 58 is adjustable. This adjustability can be used to tune the apparatus 10, 54 to suit the player's height.
  • The ball 20 can be a standard tennis ball or it can be a high-bounce tennis ball. Alternatively, the ball 20 can be configured for attachment to the cord 18, while being provided with characteristics similar to those of a standard tennis ball, such as weight and bounce. For example, the connector 21 can be releasable, allowing the tennis ball to be connectable to the cord and to be changed if necessary. It will be appreciated that any other means can be provided to allow the ball 20 to be connectable and changed, if necessary. It follows that both the cord 18 and the ball 20 can be replaced, if necessary.
  • The ball 20 can be attached to the cord 18 or the loop 19 in any one of a number of conventional ways which are known in the art. For example, the cord 18 or the loop 19 can be attached to a plug located in the ball 20. The ball 20 can then be sealed, if necessary, to maintain pressure.
  • At present, it is possible to use machines that project tennis balls. However, such machines can be predictable, allowing the user to be lulled into a groove. The apparatus 10 incorporates a level of unpredictability, particularly after the ball bounces. The reason is that it is difficult to assess how the ball will return over the net and from what direction. This enhances the training experience.
  • Throughout the specification, including the claims, where the context permits, the term “comprising” and variants thereof such as “comprise” or “comprises” are to be interpreted as including the stated integer or integers without necessarily excluding any other integers.
  • It is to be understood that the terminology employed above is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The described embodiments are intended to be illustrative of the invention, without limiting the scope thereof. The invention is capable of being practiced with various modifications and additions as will readily occur to those skilled in the art.
  • The above description describes embodiments of the sports training apparatus defined in the claims. As such, the claims are intended to cover variations, modifications or enhancements of these embodiments that could become apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art. It follows that the language used in the above description of the drawings should not be regarded as an indication that any material described above is essential to the working of the sports training apparatus defined in the claims, unless the above description clearly indicates otherwise.
  • When any number or range is described herein, that number or range is approximate. The ranges of values described are intended to cover each separate value falling within the range as if it were individually described.

Claims (15)

1. A sports training apparatus, which comprises
a base for mounting onto a support;
a rod that is attached to the base in a manner in which at least part of the rod can extend beyond the base so that when the base is mounted on the support, the rod extends above the support;
an elastic cord that is attached to the rod at one end; and
a ball that is attached to another end of the cord, the rod being positioned so that when a tension is set up in the cord as a result of movement of the ball away from the support in one direction, the rod and the cord can cooperate to facilitate the return of the ball over the support in an opposite direction when the cord contracts.
2. A training apparatus, as claimed in claim 1, in which the rod is resilient so that it can bend in the direction of movement of the ball away from the support as the cord extends to help return the ball when the cord contracts and the rod straightens so that a user can strike the ball repeatedly.
3. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 2, in which the rod is pivotal relative to the base to pivot between an operative position in which the rod extends above the support when the base is mounted on the support and an inoperative position in which the rod extends below the support to avoid obstructing the ball as it returns over the support.
4. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 3, which includes a joint for attaching the rod to the base to provide pivotal movement of the rod between the operative and inoperative positions, one of the joint and the base including a stop so that the rod stops at the operative position once it has moved away from the inoperative position under action of the ball being struck and subsequently moving over the support and so that return of the ball and subsequent slackening of the cord causes the rod to swing back down to the inoperative position to facilitate movement of the ball back over the support without obstruction by the rod.
5. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 4, in which the rod is attached to the joint in a manner in which detachment is facilitated.
6. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 5, in which the joint includes a tubular portion defining a passage for receiving an end of the rod, and a securing mechanism for securing the rod in the passage in a manner in which release and removal or adjustment of the height of the rod is facilitated.
7. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 6, in which the base includes a board that can be mounted onto the support in the form of a net.
8. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 7, in which the stop may be a stopper that is interposed between the joint and an end of the board so that when the board is mounted on the support, the joint and the stopper are positioned with the stopper above the joint and in a position for stopping the rod when the rod pivots towards an upright condition.
9. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 8, in which the board defines opposing laterally inwardly projecting recesses for winding the cord onto the board and an aperture that is shaped and sized for receiving the ball in a friction fit for storing the apparatus.
10. A training apparatus as claimed in claim 1, in which a swivel connector is mounted on an end of the rod to attach the cord to the rod to permit the cord to swivel with respect to the rod to avoid winding up and subsequent entanglement of the cord.
11. A sports training apparatus, which comprises
a base for mounting onto a support; and
a rod that is attached to the base in a manner in which at least part of the rod can extend beyond the base so that when the base is mounted on the support, the rod extends above the support, an elastic cord being capable of attachment to the rod at one end with the other end of the cord being connectable to a ball, the rod being positioned so that when a tension is set up in the cord as a result of movement of the ball away from the support in one direction, the rod and the cord can cooperate to facilitate the return of the ball over the support in an opposite direction when the cord contracts.
12. A sports training apparatus as claimed in claim 11, which includes the cord, a connector being attached to the other end of the cord to permit a ball to be connected to the cord in a releasable manner.
13. A sports training kit, which comprises
a racquet; and
a sports training apparatus as claimed in claim 1.
14. A sports training kit, which comprises
a racquet; and
a sports training apparatus as claimed in claim 11.
15. A sports training kit as claimed in claim 13, in which the base is a board that is shaped to fit within a rim of a head of the racquet while overlying strings of the racquet.
US13/483,401 2012-03-09 2012-05-30 Sports Training Apparatus Abandoned US20130237347A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU2012900945A AU2012900945A0 (en) 2012-03-09 A Sports Training Apparatus
AU2012900945 2012-03-09

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

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JP2012153810A JP2013184055A (en) 2012-03-09 2012-07-09 Sports training apparatus
CN 201210308752 CN103301621A (en) 2012-03-09 2012-08-27 Sports training apparatus
TW101131469A TW201336559A (en) 2012-03-09 2012-08-30 A sports training apparatus
AU2013201395A AU2013201395A1 (en) 2012-03-09 2013-03-08 A Sport Training Apparatus

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JP (1) JP2013184055A (en)
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US20160271474A1 (en) * 2015-03-17 2016-09-22 Brian L. Draeger Selectively attached and oriented indicator of body position and movement
CN107073322A (en) * 2014-05-13 2017-08-18 盖尔·克罗肯 Ball training equipment with stretch cord

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CN107670255A (en) * 2015-07-15 2018-02-09 龚春华 A kind of physical health exercise apparatus for group's cooperation training

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US4949973A (en) * 1989-12-11 1990-08-21 Williamson Bob C Practice device for ball hitter or kicker
US5271618A (en) * 1992-12-10 1993-12-21 Malwitz Lonnie D Batting practice device
US5685542A (en) * 1994-06-13 1997-11-11 Weis; Raymond P. Tennis teaching apparatus
US6837808B1 (en) * 2003-05-05 2005-01-04 Garland Hatch Sport training device
US8137218B2 (en) * 2009-12-08 2012-03-20 Lesniewicz Mikolaj Tennis training device

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4949973A (en) * 1989-12-11 1990-08-21 Williamson Bob C Practice device for ball hitter or kicker
US5271618A (en) * 1992-12-10 1993-12-21 Malwitz Lonnie D Batting practice device
US5685542A (en) * 1994-06-13 1997-11-11 Weis; Raymond P. Tennis teaching apparatus
US6837808B1 (en) * 2003-05-05 2005-01-04 Garland Hatch Sport training device
US8137218B2 (en) * 2009-12-08 2012-03-20 Lesniewicz Mikolaj Tennis training device

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN107073322A (en) * 2014-05-13 2017-08-18 盖尔·克罗肯 Ball training equipment with stretch cord
EP3142755A4 (en) * 2014-05-13 2018-01-17 Geir Kroken Ball training equipment comprising flexible string
US20160271474A1 (en) * 2015-03-17 2016-09-22 Brian L. Draeger Selectively attached and oriented indicator of body position and movement

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JP2013184055A (en) 2013-09-19
CN103301621A (en) 2013-09-18
TW201336559A (en) 2013-09-16

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