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Publication numberUS20010034271 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/725,261
Publication dateOct 25, 2001
Filing dateNov 29, 2000
Priority dateApr 24, 2000
Also published asCN1220535C, CN1320467A
Publication number09725261, 725261, US 2001/0034271 A1, US 2001/034271 A1, US 20010034271 A1, US 20010034271A1, US 2001034271 A1, US 2001034271A1, US-A1-20010034271, US-A1-2001034271, US2001/0034271A1, US2001/034271A1, US20010034271 A1, US20010034271A1, US2001034271 A1, US2001034271A1
InventorsKazu Nozato
Original AssigneeToa Sports Machine Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flying ball stopping net device
US 20010034271 A1
Abstract
A flying ball stopping net device including an elastic wire rod assembly which assumes an annular form when it is in a free state lying on a horizontal flat surface. The assembly first and second end members with intermediate members constituting transition members between the first and second members. A flying ball stopping net is provided closing a first end space surrounded by the first member. A flexible first connecting member interconnects the first and second members and counteracts the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly to enable imaginary extension planes of the first end space and a second end space to cross each other at a predetermined angle.
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Claims(5)
What is claimed is:
1. A flying ball stopping net device including an elastic wire rod assembly that assumes an annular form when it is in a free state lying on a horizontal flat surface, said wire rod assembly including a first end member constituting one end of said wire rod assembly in one direction extending along said horizontal flat surface, a second end member constituting the other end of said wire rod assembly in the direction opposite to said one direction, and a pair of intermediate members respectively positioned in a longitudinally intermediate place in each side of said wire rod assembly to constitute a transition portion from the first end member to the second end member, said flying ball stopping net device further including a flying ball stopping net closing a first end space surrounded by said first end member, and attached at its outer edge to said first end member, each of said intermediate members being bendable such that imaginary extension planes of a second end space surrounded by said second end member and of said first end space cross each other at a predetermined angle, in which bent state said second end member is contacted with the ground while said first end member is raisable with respect to the ground, said flying ball stopping net device being characterized in that
a flexible first connecting member is provided for interconnecting said first and second end members while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly, so as to retain said predetermined angle.
2. A flying ball stopping net device as set forth in
claim 1
, characterized in that said first end member is tilted toward the second end member as seen in a side view of said flying ball stopping net device with respect to a vertical line.
3. A flying ball stopping net device as set forth in
claim 1
or
2
, characterized in that a second connecting member, which is flexible, is provided for interconnecting the sides of said wire rod assembly in the state in which said sides are brought closer to each other while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly.
4. A flying ball stopping net device as set forth in any one of claims 1 through 3, characterized in that a bag-like ball collecting net is attached to said first end member, said ball collecting net being adapted, when said first end member is raised, to be positioned adjacent the lower portion of said flying ball stopping net and opened upward.
5. A flying ball stopping net device as set forth in any one of claims 1 through 4, characterized in that by bending the wire rod assembly while counteracting the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly, a plurality of spiral annuluses of substantially the same diameter can be formed and superposed on each other on substantially the same axis.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a flying ball stopping net device, which, in a toss batting in baseball practice or in golf ball driving practice, for example, is used to prevent a flying ball from flying farther than is necessary over a desired position.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] As for the aforesaid flying ball stopping net device, there has been one disclosed in Japanese Utility Model Registration NO. 3057465.

[0003] According to the above publication, an elastic wire rod assembly is provided that assumes an annular form when it is in a free state lying on a horizontal flat surface. This wire rod assembly comprises a first end member constituting one end of said wire rod assembly in one direction extending along said horizontal flat surface, an second end member constituting the other end of said wire rod assembly in a direction opposite to said one direction, and a pair of intermediate members respectively positioned in a longitudinally intermediate place in each side of said wire rod assembly to constitute a transition portion from the first end member to the second end member. Further, there is provided a flying ball stopping net closing a first end space surrounded by said first end member, and attached at its outer edge to said first end member.

[0004] Each of said intermediate members is bendable such that it elastically deforms to assume a curved form, as a result of which bending, imaginary extension planes of a second end space surrounded by said second end member and of said first end space cross each other at a predetermined angle. And the second end member is contactable with the ground in said bent state while the first end member is raisable with respect to the ground.

[0005] Further, a support bracket is attached to said wire rod assembly that supports the first end member on the ground while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly in order to retain said predetermined angle and to allow the first end member to retain its raised position on the ground, with the second end member of the wire rod assembly contacted with the ground. When the first end member is thus retained in its raised position, the flying ball stopping net device is in the “usable state.”

[0006] And if a flying ball hits the flying ball stopping net in the flying ball stopping net device in said usable state, this flying ball stopping net deflects, whereby the speed of said ball is reduced, dropping down said flying ball stopping net; thus, the ball is prevented from flying farther than is necessary.

[0007] On the other hand, by bending said wire rod assembly while counteracting the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly, a plurality of spiral annuluses of substantially the same diameter can be formed and these spiral annuluses and said support bracket can be superposed on each other, whereby the flying ball stopping net device is put in a “stored state” in compact form easy for carrying around by hand.

[0008] In this connection, the above prior art has the following problems.

[0009] First, the support bracket, which when said flying ball stopping net device is put in the usable state, retains said predetermined angle and holds the first end member of said wire rod assembly in the raised position on the ground, is designed to support the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly as a compressive load, so that said support bracket is given a great strength because of the necessity of counteracting said compressive load. Therefore, the support bracket tends to be heavy, entailing the danger of the handling, such as carrying around, of the flying ball stopping net device becoming troublesome.

[0010] Second, said second end member is positioned one of the forward and rearward directions of said first end member as seen in a side view of said flying ball stopping net device and said support bracket is positioned in the other direction thereof. Therefore, when it is desired to do the practice of toss batting or golf ball driving toward the flying ball stopping net attached to said first end member, said second end member or support bracket constitutes an obstacle, thus entailing a danger that it becomes difficult to use said flying ball stopping net device.

[0011] Third, said flying ball stopping net is constantly subjected to tension by said elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly; therefore, when a flying ball hits said flying ball stopping net, the net insufficiently deflects, entailing a danger that the flying ball greatly bounces back after hitting and hence a danger that the ball collecting operation thereafter becomes troublesome.

[0012] Fourth, when said wire rod assembly is to be bent to put the flying ball stopping net device in the stored state of compact form, the support bracket, which is attached to said wire rod assembly, constitutes an obstacle; thus, the operation of putting the flying ball stopping net device in the stored state would become troublesome.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] An object of the present invention is to reduce the weight of the flying ball stopping net device to facilitate the handling, such as carrying abound, thereof.

[0014] Another object of the invention is to facilitate the use of the flying ball stopping net device.

[0015] Another object of the invention is, in the case where the flying ball hits the flying ball stopping net of the flying ball stopping net device to fall down therebelow, to facilitate the operation of collecting the ball thereafter.

[0016] Another object of the invention is, when the wire rod assembly of the flying ball stopping net device is to be bent into a stored state in compact form, to facilitate the operation of establishing this stored state.

[0017] The present invention provides a flying ball stopping net device including an elastic wire rod assembly that assumes an annular form when it is in a free state lying on a horizontal flat surface, said wire rod assembly including a first end member constituting one end of said wire rod assembly in one direction extending along said horizontal flat surface, a second end member constituting the other end of said wire rod assembly in the direction opposite to said one direction, and a pair of intermediate members respectively positioned in a longitudinally intermediate place in each side of said wire rod assembly to constitute a transition portion from the first end member to the second end member, said flying ball stopping net device further including a flying ball stopping net closing a first end space surrounded by said first end member, and attached at its outer edge to said first end member, each of said intermediate members being bendable such that imaginary extension planes of a second end space surrounded by said second end member and of said first end space cross each other at a predetermined angle, in which bent state said second end member is contacted with the ground while said first end member is raisable with respect to the ground, wherein

[0018] a flexible first connecting member is provided for interconnecting said first and second end members while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly, so as to retain said predetermined angle.

[0019] Other objects, arrangements, functions and effects of the invention than those described above will become apparent from a detailed description of the invention to be given below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] The drawings show a preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0021]FIG. 1 is a front view of a flying ball stopping net device;

[0022]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the flying ball stopping net device in its usable state;

[0023]FIG. 3 is side view of the flying ball stopping net device in its usable state;

[0024]FIG. 4 is a side view of what is shown in FIG. 1;

[0025]FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 5-5 in FIG. 1;

[0026]FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 1;

[0027]FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 7-7 in FIG. 1; and

[0028]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the flying ball stopping net device in its stored state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0029] In FIGS. 1, 4-7, the numeral 1 denotes a flying ball stopping net device having an elastic wire rod assembly 2 that assumes a substantially annular form when it is in a free state lying on a horizontal flat surface A, as shown in alternate long and short dash lines in FIG. 1.

[0030] Said wire rod assembly 2 includes an outer shell member 3 made of flexible sheet material in annular form as a whole and in the form of a pipe closed in any cross-section, and an elastic, wire rod assembly main body 4 inserted in said outer shell member 3 and made of carbon glass wool substantially in said annular form, said wire rod assembly main body 4 being circular in any cross section.

[0031] Said wire rod assembly 2 includes a first semicircular end member 6 constituting one end of said wire rod assembly 2 in one direction B extending along said horizontal flat surface A, a second semicircular end member 7 constituting the other end of said wire rod assembly 2 in a direction C opposite to said one direction B, and a pair of intermediate members 9 respectively positioned in a longitudinally intermediate place in each side 8 of said wire rod assembly 2 to constitute a transition portion from the first end member 6 to the second end member 7.

[0032] There is provided a flying ball stopping net 14 substantially completely closing a substantially semicircular, flat first end space 12 that is surrounded by said first end member 6 of said wire rod assembly 2 and that is attached at its outer edge to the outer shell member 3 of said first end member 6 by sewing with a thread 13.

[0033] In FIGS. 2 and 3, each of the intermediate members 9 is bendable to elastically deform so as to assume a curved form so that imaginary extension planes of a substantially semicircular, flat second end space 16 surrounded by said second end member 7 and of said first end space 12 may cross each other at a predetermined angle α.

[0034] With said intermediate members 9 bent, the second end member 7 is wholly contactable with the ground 18 coinciding with said horizontal flat surface A, while the first end member 6 is raisable with respect to the ground 18. Said ground 18 may have more or less surface unevenness.

[0035] In FIGS. 1 to 4, a first connecting member 20, which is a flexible long-sized body, is provided for pulling said first and second end members 6 and 7 toward each other to connect them together while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly 2, so as to retain said predetermined angle α.

[0036] Said first connecting member 20 includes a pair of bands 21 extending from the sides 8 of said second end member 7, and a pair of buckles 22 attached to the sides 8 of said first end member 6 and connected to said bands 21. Longitudinal predetermined portions of said bands 21 are removably connected to said buckles 22, whereby said first and second end members 6 and 7 are interconnected and said predetermined angle α is obtained.

[0037] Further, said first connecting member 20 includes other flexible bands 23 for interconnecting the sides 8 of said second end member 7, another pair of bands 24 extending from the longitudinal intermediate portions of said bands 23, and another pair of buckles 25 attached to said first end member 6 and connected to said bands 24. Longitudinal predetermined portions of said bands 24 are removably connected to said buckles 25, whereby said first and second end members 6 and 7 are interconnected more reliably and said predetermined angle a is obtained more accurately.

[0038] In the above case, optional longitudinal portions of said bands 21 and 24 are removably connected to the buckles 22 and 25, whereby said predetermined angle α can be adjusted to a desired value.

[0039] In FIGS. 2 and 3, in the bent state of said intermediate members 9 in which said first and second end members 6 and 7 are interconnected by said first connecting member 20, substantially the whole of each of said first and second end spaces 12 and 16 is substantially flat.

[0040] In a side view (FIG. 3) of said flying ball stopping net device 1, said first end member 6 is tilted toward said second end member 7 with respect to a vertical line 26.

[0041] In FIGS. 1 to 5, a fixing means 27 is provided for removably fixing said second end member 7, contacted with the ground 18, to the ground 18. This fixing means 27 includes a plurality of annular to-be-fixed portions 28 attached to the outer shell member 3 of said second end member 7, and pegs 29 for fixing these to-be-fixed portions 28 to the ground 18.

[0042] In FIGS. 1 to 3, and 6, a second connecting member 32, which is a flexible long-sized body, is provided for interconnecting said sides 8 of said wire rod assembly 2 in the state in which said sides 8 are widthwise brought closer to each other while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly 2.

[0043] Said second connecting member 32 includes a flexible band 33 for interconnecting the sides 8 of said first end member 6, and another band 34 of large area for interconnecting the sides 8 of said second end member 7.

[0044] The width dimension between the sides 8 of said wire rod assembly 2 is maintained at a predetermined width dimension D by the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly 2 for the latter to assume the annular form (alternate long and short dash lines in FIG. 1) and by the second connecting member 32 interconnecting the sides 8 in the state in which they are closer to each other. This imparts slack to the flying ball stopping net 14 while preventing the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly 2 from being applied to the flying ball stopping net 14.

[0045] In FIG. 1, in the state in which said wire rod assembly 2 is placed on the horizontal flat surface A, said wire rod assembly 2 is substantially in the form of an elongated circle under the action of the pulling force exerted by the second connecting member 32, the overall length E of said wire rod assembly 2 in said one direction B being greater than the predetermined width dimension D.

[0046] In FIGS. 2 and 3, a bag-like flexible ball collecting net 37 is provided that, when said first end member 6 is raised, is positioned adjacent the lower portion of said flying ball stopping net 14 attached to the first end member 6 and is opened upward. A portion of the open edge of this ball collecting net 37 is formed integral with said flying ball stopping net 14 and is attached to the first end member 6 through said flying ball stopping net 14. Further another portion of the open edge of said ball collecting net 37 is attached to the band 33 of said second connecting member 32 and is attached to said first end member 6 through said band 33.

[0047] When it is desired to put the flying ball stopping net device 1 in the usable state for use as a flying ball stop, first said flying ball stopping net device 1 is placed in its free state at a desired position on the ground 18 to extend along the ground 18 (alternate long and two short dashes lines in FIGS. 1, 4 and 3).

[0048] And then the second end member 7 of said wire rod assembly 2 is fixed on the ground 18 by the fixing means 27, said intermediate members 9 are bent to raise said first end member 6, and the predetermined angle a is maintained by the first connecting member 20 (FIGS. 2 and 3).

[0049] Thereupon, said flying ball stopping net 14 extends substantially vertically while having slack, and said ball collecting net 37 is positioned adjacent the lower portion of the flying ball stopping net 14 at a position closer to the side toward said one direction B than is the flying ball stopping net 14. Further, a weight 38 may be placed on the second end member 7, as the need arises, to make more reliably the fixing of the second end member 7 to the ground 18.

[0050] With the above arrangement thus made, the flying ball stopping net device 1 is in the usable state, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

[0051] When the ball 39, which comes flying from that side of the flying ball stopping net 14 which is associated with one direction B, hits the flying ball stopping net 14 in said flying ball stopping net device 1 in its usable state, the latter fully slacks to quickly decelerate the ball 39, whereupon the ball 39 falls along that surface of the flying ball stopping net 14 which is associated with one direction B to be automatically collected in said ball collecting net 37.

[0052] Thus, the ball 39 is prevented from flying farther than is necessary, said flying ball stoppage being repeated.

[0053] In FIG. 8, if the wire rod assembly 2 is bent to be elastically deformed into a curved form while counteracting the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly 2, a plurality (three) of spiral annuluses 40 of substantially the same diameter can be formed while entailing the deflection of said flying ball stopping net 14 and the first and second connecting members 20 and 32 (alternate long and short dash lines in FIG. 8).

[0054] Further, said spiral annuluses 40 are adapted to be superposed on each other on substantially the same axis 41 together with the flying ball stopping net 14, etc. (solid lines in FIG. 8), so that said flying ball stopping net device 1 is put in its compact stored state.

[0055] The flying ball stopping net device 1 in the stored state is held in this stored state by an unillustrated band and is put in a bag 43 or the like for carrying around by hand.

[0056] When said flying ball stopping net device 1 in the stored state is taken out of the bag 43 or the like and the unillustrated band is loosened, the flying ball stopping net device 1 is automatically restored to said usable state by its own elasticity.

[0057] According to said arrangement, the flexible first connecting member 20 is provided for interconnecting said first and second end members 6 and 7 while counteracting the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly 2, so as to retain said predetermined angle a.

[0058] Therefore, when the flying ball stopping net device 1 is put in its usable state by contacting the second end member 7 with the ground 18, raising said first end member 6 with respect to the ground 18 and retaining the predetermined angle a by said first connecting member 20, said first connecting member 20 is subjected to the elastic restoring force, acting as a tensile load, from said wire rod assembly 2.

[0059] Therefore, a flexible member suffices to serve as the first connecting member 20, as described above, and a lower strength suffices for such member to have in this case than when it is subjected to a compressive load. Thus, the first connecting member 20 can be made correspondingly lighter in weight, contributing to the ease with which the flying ball stopping net device 1 is handled as when it is carried around.

[0060] Further, in the usable state of the flying ball stopping net device 1, the second end member 7 of the wire rod assembly 2 is contacted on the ground 18 and the first end member 6 is brought into its raised position; therefore, on the ground 18 no components of the flying ball stopping net device 1 exist on the side of the ground 18 opposite to the second end member 7 with the first end member 6 used as the reference.

[0061] Therefore, when toss batting or the like, on said opposite side of the ground 18, is to be done toward the flying ball stopping net 14 attached to said first end member 6, the components of the flying ball stopping net device 1 are prevented from constituting obstacles; this facilitates the use of the flying ball stopping net device 1.

[0062] Further, as described above, said first end member 6 is tilted toward the second end member 7, as seen in a side view of said flying ball stopping net device 1, with respect to the vertical line 26.

[0063] Therefore, a perpendicular line passing through the center of gravity of the first end member 6 including said flying ball stopping net 14 and ball collecting net 37 passes through somewhere in the second end space 16 surrounded with said second end member 7, so that the flying ball stopping net device 1 can be easily self-supported on the ground 18.

[0064] Thus, when the flying ball stopping net device 1 is to be put in its usable state on the ground 18, the assembling operation thereof is correspondingly facilitated.

[0065] Further, as described above, the second connecting member 32, which is flexible, is provided for interconnecting the two sides 8 of the wire rod assembly 2 such that the sides 8 are closer to each other while counteracting the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly 2.

[0066] Therefore, the width dimension between the sides 8 of said wire rod assembly 2 is maintained at a predetermined width dimension D by the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly 2 with which the wire rod assembly 2 tends to become annulus and by the second connecting member 32 interconnecting the sides 8 in their state of being closer to each other.

[0067] Thus, the elastic restoring force of said wire rod assembly 2 is prevented from being applied to the flying ball stopping net 14 attached to the first end member 6, so that sufficient slack can be imparted to the flying ball stopping net 14. Therefore, when the ball 39 that comes flying hits the flying ball stopping net 14, the latter sufficiently deflects owing to its slack, quickly decelerating the ball 39. Then the ball 39 is prevented from greatly bouncing off the flying ball stopping net 14, with the result that the operation of collecting the ball 39 thereafter is facilitated.

[0068] Further, as described above, the first end member 6 has attached thereto the bag-like ball collecting net 37 that is positioned adjacent the lower portion of the flying ball stopping net 14 and that opens upward when the first end member 6 is raised by putting the flying ball stopping net device 1 in its usable state.

[0069] Therefore, the ball 39 hitting the flying ball stopping net 14 and quickly decelerated to fall therefrom is collected by the ball collecting net 37, so that such balls are prevented from scattering over the ground 18.

[0070] Thus, the operation for collecting the ball 39 is further facilitated.

[0071] Further, as described above, by bending the wire rod assembly 2 while counteracting the elastic restoring force of the wire rod assembly 2, a plurality of spiral annuluses 40 of substantially the same diameter can be formed and superposed on each other on substantially the same axis 41.

[0072] In this case, the flying ball stopping net 14, first and second connecting members 20 and 32, and ball collecting net 37, which are attached to the wire rod assembly 2, are all flexible but have no rigidity or elasticity, so that they do not constitute obstacles when said wire rod assembly 2 is bent to superpose the spiral annuluses 40 on each other.

[0073] Thus, the operation of bending the wire rod assembly 2 to form spiral annuluses 40 and superposing them on each other to put the flying ball stopping net device 1 in its compact stored state is facilitated.

[0074] In addition, the above explanation has been given of the illustrated example, and the first and second end members 20 and 32, which are flexible long-sized bodies, may be ropes, wires or the like.

[0075] Further, either the assembly of the band 21 and buckles 22 or the assembly of the bands 23 and 24 and buckles 25 may be dispensed with.

[0076] Further, the present invention may be such that it achieves the object by suitably combining the individual component members described above.

Referenced by
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US6851675 *Oct 24, 2002Feb 8, 2005James A. JakubecLaunching game apparatus and method
US6939241 *Apr 20, 2004Sep 6, 2005Wen I ChangQuick chipping set
US7021630 *Feb 8, 2005Apr 4, 2006Kwang Han ChoPortable ball retriever
US7648421Feb 13, 2008Jan 19, 2010William Young YoonChipping net
US7744089 *Dec 8, 2008Jun 29, 2010Husheng HuangBall practice device
US8333384 *May 6, 2008Dec 18, 2012DecathlonSelf-deploying game device
US8876619Apr 20, 2012Nov 4, 2014Joseph Yosup LeeApparatus and method for catching a golf ball
EP1614452A1 *Jul 8, 2005Jan 11, 2006Charles Steven LaneTarget apparatus
WO2006086173A1 *Jan 27, 2006Aug 17, 2006Cho Kwang HanPortable ball retriever
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/197, 273/407, 273/400, 473/451, 473/422
International ClassificationA63B69/36, A63B71/02, A63B69/00, A63B63/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B63/00, A63B71/022, A63B2210/54
European ClassificationA63B63/00, A63B71/02P
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 29, 2000ASAssignment
Owner name: TOA SPORTS MACHINE INCORPORATED, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NOZATO, KAZU;REEL/FRAME:011316/0887
Effective date: 20001113