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Publication numberUS20060068952 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/950,548
Publication dateMar 30, 2006
Filing dateSep 28, 2004
Priority dateSep 28, 2004
Publication number10950548, 950548, US 2006/0068952 A1, US 2006/068952 A1, US 20060068952 A1, US 20060068952A1, US 2006068952 A1, US 2006068952A1, US-A1-20060068952, US-A1-2006068952, US2006/0068952A1, US2006/068952A1, US20060068952 A1, US20060068952A1, US2006068952 A1, US2006068952A1
InventorsRobert Davignon
Original AssigneeDavignon Robert W Ii
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Instructional baseball
US 20060068952 A1
Abstract
An instructional baseball used for the art of teaching the proper techniques of throwing a curveball is shown having a spherical body with a recessed elongated V-shaped groove which extends around the outer surface of the body in a figure-8 path similar to the stitching of a conventional baseball. Centered within the V-shaped groove opening is a fin member which also follows the same figure-8 path as the V-groove. The fin member acts as an air shield creating greater drag forces on the baseball as it is thrown through the air with a spinning motion. The greater drag forces increase the Magnus force on the ball, allowing it to curve move dramatically then that of a conventional baseball. Increasing the curve rate of the baseball will serve to help pitchers more easily see the results of their throwing techniques and ultimately improve their curveball throwing skills. To fill the gap left on each side of the fin member and give the pitcher a surface to grasp, cross braces are set perpendicular to the fin member and are spaced evenly along the figure-8 path of the groove and fin member.
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Claims(13)
1. An instructional ball for teaching the proper manner of throwing a curveball comprising:
a generally spherical body member,
a single recessed groove formed in the outer peripheral surface of the body member which follows a lined figure-8 path around the outer peripheral surface of the body member in the same manner as the stitching on a conventional baseball, the groove having bottom portion and side walls,
an elongated fin member located in the center of the groove and extending up from the bottom portion of the groove out toward an imaginary continuation of the outer peripheral surface of the body member, the fin member following the same path as the groove encompassing the figure-8 path, the fin member serving as an air dampening shield causing increased drag as the ball is thrown through the air with a rotating spin.
2. An instructional ball set forth in claim 1 wherein the fin member extends up to an imaginary continuation of the spherical outer peripheral surface of the body member.
3. An instructional ball set forth in claim 1 wherein the fin member extends beyond an imaginary continuation of the spherical outer peripheral surface of the body member.
4. An instructional ball as set forth in clam 1 in which the recessed groove is V-shaped and further comprising a plurality of members having a generally V-shaped cross section, the members having base walls which are configured to be closely received in the groove with the base walls of the members mating with the side walls of the groove and a center wall is formed between the base walls of the V-shaped member, the center wall forming a part of the said elongated fin member.
5. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 4 in which a plurality of generally parallel extending center walls are formed between the base walls forming elongated fin members.
6. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 1 including a plurality of fin members located in the groove and extending up from the bottom portion of the groove out toward an imaginary continuation of the outer peripheral surface of the body member.
7. An instructional ball set forth in claim 1 further comprising an array of vent members supporting and connecting the fin member to the side edges of the recessed groove, the vent members including cross braces located perpendicular to the fin member and spaced evenly around the ball in a figure-8 path wherein the cross braces provide a continuation of the outer peripheral surface of the body member where a pitcher may place his fingers as he grips the ball.
8. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 1 in which the recessed groove is V-shaped and the fin member is formed integrally with the body member and further comprising a plurality of vent members, each vent member having an elongated curved wall formed with first and second sides, each side having an edge formed at an angle complimentary to the side walls of the V-shaped groove, the elongated curved wall fitting into the recessed groove to form a continuation of the spherical surface of the body member over the groove, a plurality of slots formed in the elongated curved wall, the slots defining cross braces extending perpendicular to the fin member.
9. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 8 in which the vent members encompass a raised continuous stitch pattern extending beyond the outer peripheral surface of the body member forming a figure-8 type path.
10. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 8 in which the vent members have base walls complimentary to the side walls of the V-shaped groove and a center wall is formed between the base walls to serve as part of the fin member.
11. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 1 wherein the size and weight of the instructional ball are similar to that of a conventional baseball.
12. An instructional ball as set forth in claim 1 wherein the size and weight of the instructional ball are similar to that of a conventional softball.
13. An instructional ball for teaching the proper manner of throwing a curveball comprising:
a generally spherical body member,
a single recessed groove formed in the outer peripheral surface of the body member which follows a lined figure-8 path around the outer peripheral surface of the body member in the same manner as the stitching on a conventional baseball, the groove having bottom portion and side walls,
an elongated fin member located in the center of the groove and extending up from the bottom portion of the groove out toward an imaginary continuation of the outer peripheral surface of the body member, the fin member following the same path as the groove encompassing the figure-8 path, the fin member serving as an air dampening shield causing increased drag as the ball is thrown through the air with a rotating spin, and
an array of cross braces which support and connect the fin member to the side walls of the recessed groove, the cross braces being perpendicular to the fin member and spaced evenly along the recessed groove.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a baseball, and more particularly, to an instructional baseball which is designed to curve more dramatically when thrown than that of a conventional baseball. The instructional baseball is intended to help pitchers learn the art of throwing curveballs. Generally, according to the principle behind throwing a curveball, as the ball travels through the air in a spinning motion, the side which is spinning toward the direction of travel is traveling at a greater speed than the side which is spinning away from the direction of travel and therefore, the side which is traveling at a higher speed has more drag forces applied to it, creating a Magnus force which moves the ball in a side, curving direction. This invention is intended to increase the drag forces on the spinning baseball creating a larger Magnus force which results in improved curving action compared to conventional baseballs. With conventional baseballs, the general surface of the baseball provides some drag forces against the ball, although, much of the drag forces are created from the stitching or seam area of the ball when it is thrown with a rotating spin. Some balls are provided having raised seams to help obtain more action on the ball for both pitching and general play. Learning the art and skill of throwing a curveball is a very difficult process. Even if the pitcher uses the proper techniques it is sometimes hard to see the results, especially when first learning. The premise of this new baseball is that it will exaggerate and highlight the curve rate so that a pitcher will know whether or not that the techniques that are being used are correct. Once the pitcher believes that the techniques are proper, he can then build upon them making the learning process simpler.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Pat. No. 6,612,942 B1 describes and claims a baseball that is designed for repeated use with a pitching machine. The baseball has a smooth surface upon which a plurality of dimples or indentations are provided. The said indentations serve to induce turbulent airflow over the surface of the baseball, thereby reducing the drag on the ball and serving to stabilize the flight of the ball. The ball further includes a plurality of slot-shaped depressions formed in a pattern similar to the stitch pattern of an actual baseball.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,592,477 relates to a baseball which includes a core and two 8-shaped cover pieces which are glued to the outer surface of the core. The outer surface also has an 8-shaped seam designed to form two 8-shaped recesses into which the two 8-shaped covers are received. The seam has a number of bulges intended to simulate the stitches of a typical baseball.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,190,273 relates to a construction for a baseball or softball having a raised seam for better pitching performance where the underlying hot melt adhesive has the same durometer hardness comparable to that of the core of the ball, so that the ball will perform in the same manner whether it is hit on or off of the seam.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,984,813 relates to an instructional baseball designed for teaching the proper manner of throwing a curveball. The instructional baseball comprises a generally spherical ball having a continuous seam, in the same manner as a typical baseball. The seam pattern creates four horseshoe shaped boundary areas on the surface of the ball, also in the same manner as a typical baseball. In the center of each of each boundary is a depression, each having substantially the same volume. The purpose of said depressions is to create a greater drag force against surface of the ball to increase the rate in which the ball will curve.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,286,783 relates to a practice baseball designed to curve in a controllable manner when thrown in the same manner in which a conventional ball is thrown as a straight ball. The practice baseball is mostly spherical except for one area which is flat. This ball is intended to help train batters in the skill of hitting curveballs. The pitching techniques used to curve this ball differ from that of pitching techniques used to curve a conventional baseball; therefore this ball does not make a practical pitch training aid.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the current invention is to provide an instructional baseball designed to help pitchers learn how to throw curveballs.

Another object of the invention is to provide a baseball which, when pitched with a rotating spin, curves greater then conventional balls that have the same amount of spin.

It is another object of the invention to provide a baseball which has the same size and weight of a conventional baseball.

It is also an object of the invention to provide a baseball that has a similar shape and feel as a conventional baseball.

It is also an object of the invention to provide an instructional softball which has the same characteristics of the instructional baseball, except that is larger in size and weight.

Briefly, a baseball made in accordance with the present invention comprises a generally spherical body member formed with single recessed V-shaped groove, projected inward from the surface of the body member, and following a lined figure-8 path around the outer surface of the body member, basically in the same manner as that of the seam or stitching of a conventional baseball. In accordance with a preferred embodiment, inserted into the V-groove and following the FIG. 8 path is a series of V-shaped vent member sections having a center fin member which acts as an air deflecting fin increasing the drag forces against the ball as it is thrown through the air with a rotating spin motion, causing the ball to curve more dramatically. In a modified preferred embodiment, the fin member is formed integrally with the body member and modified fin-less vent member sections are disposed over the fin member. In another modified preferred embodiment, a plurality of fin members are formed in each of the vent member sections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the instructional baseball made in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a slightly smaller scale perspective view of the FIG. 1 preferred embodiment shown with one of the vent member sections removed for clarity. For ease of illustration, the separate vent member sections in place on the baseball are shown as a single continuing vent member section in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the FIG. 1 preferred embodiment, shown without the vent members.

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the FIG. 1 preferred embodiment, shown without the vent members.

FIG. 5 is a side elevation section view of the FIG. 1 preferred embodiment, shown without the vent members, as viewed from section lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view, using generally the same scale as that of FIG. 1, of one of the vent member sections of the FIG. 1 preferred embodiment FIG. 7 is an enlarged front elevation view of the FIG. 6 vent member section.

FIG. 8 is a side elevation section view of the FIG. 6 vent member section as viewed from section 8-8 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a modified vent member section 50.

FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of the modified vent member section 50.

FIG. 11 is a side elevation section view of the modified vent member section 50 as seen from section line 11-11 of FIG. 10. Also show in FIG. 11 is an outline view in dashed lines of a modified base member 60 incorporating fin member 61.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another modified vent member 70.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1-10 thereof, a baseball embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be discussed.

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of baseball 10 made according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The baseball comprises a core body member 20 and a plurality of V-shaped vent member sections 40 which follow a lined figure-8 path around the ball's surface, basically in the same manner as that of the stitching of a conventional baseball. Fin member 41 of vent member section 40, (see in particular FIG. 8) acts as an air deflecting shield which increases the drag forces against the ball as it is thrown through the air with a rotating spin motion, causing the ball to curve more dramatically. Cross braces 42 help support center fin member 41 and also provide an outer surface 43, filling the gap between fin member 41 and core body member 20, essentially forming a continuation of the outer peripheral surface of the body member, allowing the pitcher to hold baseball 10 with a feel similar to a conventional baseball.

FIG. 2 is similar to FIG. 1 but additionally shows one of the vent member sections 40 removed for better understanding of how vent member sections 40 mate with V-groove 24 of body member 20. During assembly, twenty four vent member sections 40 are aligned into V-groove 24 of body member 20 and glued to one another and to the side walls of the groove. It will be understood that the particular number of vent members used is a matter of choice.

FIGS. 3-5 show body member 20 without vent member sections 40. Body member 20 is composed of a single solid composite material which forms a generally spherical shape having one continuous recessed V-groove 24 that follows a figure-8 path around the otherwise spherical surface of the body member, basically in the same manner as that of the stitching of a conventional baseball. V-groove 24 comprises two side walls 25 and 26 which taper down and inward from the body member's outer surface at edges 27 and 28, respectively, and come together at inner edge 29. Body member 20 has two figure-8 shaped outer surface members 21 and 22 which are defined by edges 27 and 28 of V-groove 24. During assembly, V-groove 24 is filled with vent members 40 leaving outer surfaces 21 and 22 as the only visible areas of body member 20.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of vent member section 40 which is a component part of baseball 10. Vent member section 40 has base walls 45 and 46 forming a generally V-shape complimentary to the V-shaped side walls 25, 26 of grooves 24. The vent member section includes center wall 41 which serves as a portion of the elongated fin member extending upwardly from the juncture of base walls 45 and 46. Side walls are formed by cross braces 42 which are also provided at evenly spaced intervals along the length of the vent member. In the preferred embodiment shown and described, there are a total of twenty four vent member sections which are glued side to side to one another and to body member 20 in V-groove 24 making up the continuous figure-8 vent profile. As vent member section 40 mates with V-groove 24 of body member 20, upper edge 47 seats so that it is aligned with the outer edge 27 of base member 10. Likewise, lower edge 48 seats so that it is aligned with outer edge 28 of body member 10. With reference to FIG. 8, cross brace 42 has an outer surface 43 formed with the same radius as the outer surfaces 21 and 22 of body member 20, thereby providing a ball with a similar shape and feel to that of a conventional baseball. Base walls 45 and 46 mate with respective V-groove walls 25 and 26 of body member 20 and are glued thereto.

In use, baseball 10 is thrown by the pitcher with a rotating spinning motion. This is accomplished by rolling the pitcher's wrist upon releasing baseball 10. As baseball 10 travels through the air in a spinning manner, air is forced against fin 41 of vent member sections 40, creating greater drag forces against the ball which results in a greater Magnus force, moving the ball in a side curving motion. The pitcher holds baseball 10 in a manner similar to the manner he would hold a conventional baseball. Cross braces 42 and the outer surface 43 of vent member section 40 fill in the V-notched gap around fin member 41, allowing the pitcher's fingers to remain on the outer peripheral surface of baseball 10.

The concept of increasing the drag forces on baseball 10 could also be used in the design of a softball, enabling softball pitchers to also learn the art of throwing curveballs more effectively.

FIGS. 9-11 relate to a modification of the FIGS. 1-8 embodiment. Modified vent member sections 50 each comprises a curved plate like member formed without the fin and without the cross braces extending into the V-groove which were incorporated in vent member sections 40 of the first embodiment. Vent member sections 50 also incorporate a raised stitch pattern 53 located between rows 51, 52 of slot holes. Raised stitch pattern 53 extends out beyond an imaginary continuation of the spherical outer peripheral surface of the baseball's body member 60, that is, above outer surface 54 of vent member 50, preferably by approximately 0.03 inches and is roughly 0.3 inches wide.

A broken away portion of modified body member 60 of baseball 10′ is shown in FIG. 11 in dashed lines. Body member 60 comprises an air deflecting fin member 61 which is formed integrally with the body member, as by extruding, and which extends along the entire length of V-groove 64. Vent member section 50 is configured to cover V-groove 64 with vent member side edge walls 55 and 56 angled to mate with V-groove side walls 65 and 66 of base member 60. During assembly, eight vent members 50 are placed within V-groove 64 and glued into place forming a figure-8 type pattern. It will be appreciated that, while eight vent members are employed in the described embodiment, the particular number is a matter of choice.

FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of another modified vent member section 70 having base walls 75, 76 forming a generally V-shape complimentary to the V-shaped side walls 25, 26 of grooves 24 of vent member section 40, described above. Edges 77 and 78 correspond to edges 47, 48 of vent member section 40. However, vent member section 70 comprises a plurality of walls 71 which serve as air deflecting fin members.

It will be understood that the invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the described embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7753811Sep 7, 2007Jul 13, 2010Mark Justin AGrip training device
US8197363Sep 20, 2010Jun 12, 2012Davignon Robert WTraining baseball and method of using the same
US8683958 *Aug 10, 2012Apr 1, 2014Canine Hardware, Inc.Reverse welt ball
US20130109511 *Oct 31, 2011May 2, 2013Yevgeniy GalyukNovel enhanced systems, processes, methods and apparatus for training high-skill athletes
US20130139797 *Aug 10, 2012Jun 6, 2013Canine Hardware Inc.Reverse welt ball
WO2010022334A2 *Aug 21, 2009Feb 25, 2010Kenneth GuilfoyleInstructional ball
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/613
International ClassificationA63B37/14
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2069/0006, A63B69/0002, A63B43/002
European ClassificationA63B43/00C, A63B69/00B