- BACKGROUND ART
The subject invention relates a baseball and softball training, apparatus. More particularly, the subject invention relates to a training apparatus for improving hitting or hitting and pitching.
- DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
The inventor of the subject invention is aware of prior art where targets are represented as bulls eyes of a construction of concentric circles. However, he has been unable discover an apparatus which has a primary target which has other targets defined thereon, where said other targets are specifically constructed with dimensions closely associated with the geometry of the games of baseball and softball. The inventor's profession is coaching of these sports and has developed the instant invention which is of meritorious value in training participants in these sports. During his development of this invention, he has discovered that the invention is not only an aid to teaching and the gaining of experience, but is fun to use and various games of different rules can be played utilizing the device.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In one aspect of the invention, an apparatus is provided for baseball and softball training. A primary target formed of Velcro is provided. The primary target has first and second opposed planar surfaces. The first planar surface has first, second, and third secondary targets defined thereon and at least one of said secondary targets has first, second, and third tertiary targets defined thereon. The secondary targets extend in generally horizontal directions when the primary target is positioned for use and maintained substantially vertical. Means is provided for maintaining the primary target substantially vertical.
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of a first planar side of the primary target of the apparatus of this invention and additionally shows associated equipment for training in hitting;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of a second planar side of the primary target of the apparatus of this invention and additionally shows associated equipment for training in pitching;
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of a portion of the frame of the apparatus of this invention; and
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of other connecting means.
Referring to FIG. 1, the baseball and softball training apparatus 2 of this invention is adapted for use with a Velcro covered ball 4. The apparatus of FIG. 1 is used for training in hitting the ball to designated areas of a baseball diamond.
The apparatus 2 has a primary target 6 and means 8 for maintaining the primary target 6 in a substantially vertical position. Preferably the maintaining means is a frame work 10 formed of any suitable, stabilizing material, preferably plastic. In some embodiments, the primary target could be nails or screws where the primary target 6 is connected to the side of a wooden structure, such as a barn.
The primary target 6 is formed of Velcro, as is well known in the art. The primary target 6 has first (FIG. 1)and second (FIG. 2)opposed planar surfaces 12,14. The primary target 6 has first, second and third secondary targets 16,18,20 defined thereon preferably by painting or other means known in the art.
At lease one of the secondary targets 16,18,/20, preferably the second secondary target 18 has first, second and third tertiary targets defined thereon preferably by painting or other means known in the art.
These secondary targets 16,18,20 extend across the primary target 6 in generally horizontal directions when the primary target 6 is positioned for use and maintained in substantially a vertical position. Preferably, the primary target 6 is of rectangular configuration with its width extending horizontally in the position for use. The length of the primary target 6 is in the range of about 6 feet to about 12 feet, preferably about 8 feet. The width of the primary target 6 is in the range of about 5 feet to about 10 feet, preferably about 7 feet. Dimensions greater than the above ranges are undesirable because they represent a waste of material, labor, and natural resources without significantly increasing the ability train the user. Dimensions less than the above ranges are undesirable because they would provide an unrealistic geometric representation of a baseball diamond and the desired hitting areas thereof. Greater ranges than above would also make the training device increasingly more difficult to contact with a batted ball which would prematurely discourage the user.
As shown, the secondary targets 16,18,20 are constructed to extend across substantially the entire width of the primary target 6. At the in-use substantially vertical position of the primary target 6, the first secondary target 16 is at a higher elevation than the second and third secondary targets 18,20 and the second secondary target 18 is at a higher elevation than the third secondary target 20.
Preferably, the second secondary target 18 has first, second and third tertiary targets 22,24,26 defined thereon preferably by painting or other means known in the art. In this preferred embodiment shown, the second tertiary target 24 is positioned at substantially the center of the primary target 6 and the first and third tertiary targets 22,26 are positioned on opposed sides of the second tertiary target 24. The second tertiary target 24 is preferably of a circular configuration having a diameter substantially equal to the width of the second secondary target 18, thereby defining respective inner edges of the first and third tertiary targets 22,26.
Owing to the geometric flight of hit balls 4, the secondary and tertiary targets 16,18,20 and 22,24,26 are labeled with a legend representative of expected results.
Historically, hits in baseball and softball result from the ball 4 traveling from the bat in the general direction of second base or, as depicted in FIG. 1 with the ball 4 positioned substantially perpendicular to the center of the apparatus 2. The legends on the target are therefore “Triple” for the first secondary target 22, “Single” for the third secondary target 26, “Double” for the first and third tertiary targets 22,26, and “Home Run” for the second tertiary target 24. The “Home Run” designated second tertiary target 24 is generally a misnomer, but has been labeled as such since this is the most desirable placement of the ball during hitting, for reasons as set forth above.
Referring to FIG. 2, the primary target 6 is showing the second planer surface 14 which is the opposed surface thereof and is adapted for training in pitching a ball 4 thereto. The second planar surface 14 likewise has a length and a width with the length extending substantially vertical when the apparatus 2 is positioned for use. The width of the second planar surface 14 has a longitudinally extending center axis 28 defined thereon by painting or other means known in the art. The center axis 28 separates the second planar surface 14 into first and second portions 30,32 of substantially equal width. Each of the first and second portions 30,32 have opposed pitching targets 34,35 and 38,39 and 42,43.
Each of the opposed pitching targets 34,35,38,39,42,43 have a horizontally extending length of about 8 inches as measured perpendicularly to the center axis. This length is representative of the width of home plate of a baseball or softball diamond. Each of the opposed pitching targets 35,35,38,39,42,43 has a vertically extending width in the range of about 6 inches to about 4 inches.
It should be understood that the vertically extending width range of the opposed pitching targets 34,35,38,39,42,43 represent, at their totaled extremes, the strike zone for batters having a height range from about 6 foot to about 3 foot. It therefore is necessary to construct each second planar surface with pitching target dimensions to more exactly fit the strike zone of a plurality of individual height ranges, for example one construction for individuals 5 foot to 6 foot in height, 4 foot to 5 foot in height and 3 foot to 4 foot in height. It is the inventor's opinion that break down will provide a sufficiently close approximation of the strike zone for adequate pitching training.
Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the primary target 6 is adjustable for vertically positioning the strike zone of the second planar surface 14 at a multiplicity of locations, for more precisely representing the strike zone of an individual of given height. FIG. 3 shows adjustable telescoping frame portions 46,47 and 50,51 suitable for lowering and raising the strike zone of the target. FIG. 4 shows a frame work 10 with the adjustment made by alternately changing the locations at which the primary target 6 is connected to the frame work 10.
The maintaining means 8 preferably is of a size sufficient for extending about the periphery of the primary target 6. A base 54 is connected to the frame work 10 and is adapted to maintain the frame work 10 and associated primary target 6 in a substantially vertical position. Means 56 is provided for connecting the periphery of the primary target 6 to the frame 10. Preferably Means 56 includes a plurality of grommets 58-69 connected to the primary target 6 and means 68, such as a line, cord, rope, or other device passing through the grommets 58-69 and about the frame.
It should be understood that the frame and the means for maintaining the primary target 6 in a position for use can be of various construction without departing therefrom as shown in FIG. 4, such as for example straps of material sewn to the primary target, extending about a portion of the frame and being attached thereto.
Not only will the apparatus 2 of the instant invention provide a means whereby a ball player can get valuable hitting and/or pitching experience in a limited area, but the construction of the apparatus permits an instructor or coach to teach the fundamentals necessary to place the ball 4 at desirable locations. Also, the user of the apparatus 2 can carefully results of his hit or pitch since the Velcro covered ball and Velcro primary target 6 cooperate to maintain the ball 4 on the primary target 6 upon contact therewith.
The ball 4 can be hit from a “T” or pitched up in the air for hitting by the user himself or by another person. The pitching and hitting can be from increasing distances from the primary target 6 as skill increases. Where a “T”, as is well known in the art, is used for hitting experience, the T can be move inside and outside relative to a center line of the primary target 6, thereby simulating inside and outside pitches.
The inventor has found that the apparatus of this invention 2 is most useful in training individuals in correct arm and hand placement for controlled hitting.
Other aspects, objects, and advantages can be obtained from a study of the drawings, the specification, and the appended claims.