|Publication number||US20060194656 A1|
|Application number||US 11/344,144|
|Publication date||Aug 31, 2006|
|Filing date||Feb 1, 2006|
|Priority date||Feb 3, 2005|
|Publication number||11344144, 344144, US 2006/0194656 A1, US 2006/194656 A1, US 20060194656 A1, US 20060194656A1, US 2006194656 A1, US 2006194656A1, US-A1-20060194656, US-A1-2006194656, US2006/0194656A1, US2006/194656A1, US20060194656 A1, US20060194656A1, US2006194656 A1, US2006194656A1|
|Inventors||Katelyn Bedwell, Joanna Lignelli|
|Original Assignee||Katelyn Bedwell, Joanna Lignelli|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (4), Classifications (4), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/649,092, filed Feb. 3, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to field hockey sticks, and more particularly, to a field hockey stick having an edge configured to strike a ball with minimal loft.
2. Background of the Invention
As shown in
Traditionally, field hockey sticks have been constructed of relatively standard dimensions, due primarily to widely accepted rules of the game. These rules dictate aspects of the stick such as weight, length, shape, and cross-section. As one example, the rules require that the playing portion of the stick have a flat face and that every cross-section of the stick be able to pass through a two-inch ring. In meeting these rules, the traditional field hockey stick has typically featured a flat front face and a curved back and back head of a relatively uniform shape. The edges of the field hockey stick have traditionally been constructed as rounded extensions of the curved back surface.
The total weight of a field hockey stick as defined by widely accepted rules must not exceed 737 grams. Within these parameters, field hockey sticks, including field hockey stick heads that are curved and have rounded backs, have a traditional shape and weight disbursement.
In the game of field hockey, as players increase in skill level, they typically play lower to the ground and therefore can utilize more of the stick as a hitting surface, including the rounded edges of the stick between the playing and non-playing sides. In addition, at this level of play, it is increasingly important for players to execute passes, shots, and clears that are controlled, hard, and strong. Indeed, the more powerful the hit, the better chance the pass or shot has of eluding defenders.
However, this increase in power and use of the rounded edges of the stick increases the chance of losing control of the ball, especially in terms of a misdirected shot or pass. In using an edge of the stick to pass or shoot, a player typically sweeps the stick from a squatting position, with the ball arcing off the edge of the stick and traveling on or near the ground in a straight line. A miss-hit ball often rises up in the air, which can result in the loss of possession and can be harmful to other players. Thus, a principal object of a powerful sweep is to keep the ball close to the ground. The object is to hit the ball hard but minimize its loft. Keeping the ball low helps control passes. Players therefore prefer field hockey sticks that meet this need.
Field hockey sticks are typically made of a wood or composites. As used herein, composites refer to field hockey sticks made by bladder molding or by wrapping sheets of uncured fiber-reinforced thermosetting resin around a mandrel, which is then withdrawn to form a hollow tubular lay-up. Examples of the materials used in the resin include fiberglass, carbon, and aramid. Composite sticks have been available on the market for several years and have been approved for use in international play for over a year.
It is widely believed that the edge of the stick provides a quicker, stronger hit than the front playing surface. With this additional power, however, comes a potential for loss of control, especially if a ball is unintentionally lofted during the hit. Minimizing this loft would therefore result in players delivering a more powerful hit without compensating ball control. Therefore, field hockey sticks, especially composite field hockey sticks, would benefit greatly from a feature that minimizes the loft that can occur upon contact with a ball, and the resulting loss of ball control.
The present invention provides a field hockey stick having an edge that minimizes loft and imparts an improved feel when striking a ball with the stick. The edge has, for example, a flattened or concave surface.
The present invention provides a field hockey stick having an edge configured to strike a ball with minimal loft. The striking surface of the edge can be, for example, flattened or shaped to generally match the contour of a field hockey ball (e.g., concave). Such striking surfaces can minimize loft and impart an improved feel when striking a ball with an edge of the stick. Such striking surfaces can also increase the hitting surface of the edge that contacts the ball, therefore increasing the accuracy of a hit. In addition, by configuring the edge to strike a higher point on the ball, with a surface that is closer to perpendicular to the ground (when the stick is striking a ball), the present invention reduces both the chance of a miss-hit and also the likelihood of ball loft.
As a comparison,
In alternative embodiment of the present invention, to further increase the ball contact area on an edge of the stick, an edge can be shaped to generally match the contour of a field hockey ball. For example, in
The concave edges 602, 604 form a cavity that can increase the amount of ball surface area that the edge contacts, and can help control the ball and reduce loft. The concave edges 602, 604 may have a radius of curvature that maximizes the amount of contact area with the ball and may be in the range of about 35 mm to 40 mm. The radius of curvature of a concave edge 602, 604 may be sized larger than the radius of curvature of a ball in order to maximize the hitting surface by taking account of ball deformation upon impact. A typical size of a field hockey ball is about 8 13/16 to 9¼ inches in circumference, or about 2.81 to 2.94 inches in diameter, therefore having a radius of curvature of about 1.40 to 1.47 inches (about 35.56 mm to 37.34 mm).
In an alternative embodiment, the radius of curvature of a concave edge 602, 604 may be sized smaller than the radius of curvature of a ball in order to impart a greater force upon hitting the ball while retaining increased contact area in accordance with the present invention. In this embodiment, the ball could contact the concave edge at one or two points, at the corners where the concave edge meets the playing and non-playing sides.
One embodiment of the present invention provides a field hockey stick comprising a head and a shaft adjoining the head. The shaft comprises a flat playing side, a non-playing side opposite to the flat playing side, a first edge between the flat playing side and the non-playing side, and a second edge between the flat playing side and the non-playing side. The second edge is opposite to the first edge. At least one of the first edge and the second edge is flattened or concave.
Another embodiment of the present invention provides a field hockey stick comprising a handle, a throat adjacent to the handle, and a head adjacent to the throat on a side of the throat opposite to the handle, in which one or more edges of the throat are flattened or concaved inwardly.
Another embodiment of the present invention provides a field hockey stick comprising a handle, a throat adjacent to the handle, and a head adjacent to the throat on a side of the throat opposite to the handle, in which one or more edges of the handle are flattened or concaved inwardly.
Another embodiment of the present invention provides a field hockey stick comprising a handle, a throat adjacent to the handle, and a head adjacent to the throat on a side of the throat opposite to the handle. The throat has a flat playing side, two edges, and a round non-playing side. One or more of the edges of the throat are flattened or concaved inwardly. One or more edges of the handle are flattened or concaved inwardly.
A further embodiment of the present invention provides a method for contacting a field hockey ball with a field hockey stick. In this embodiment, the field hockey stick is held generally parallel to a ground surface on which the field hockey ball is disposed. The field hockey stick has a flat playing side, a non-playing side opposite to the flat playing side, a first edge between the flat playing side and the non-playing side, and a second edge between the flat playing side and the non-playing side, the second edge opposite to the first edge. One or both of the first and second edges is flattened or concave. The stick is held with either the flat playing side or the non-playing side facing up.
The ball is then contacted with a flattened or concave edge, for example, by hitting the ball or by whipping the ball. A player can contact the ball by sweeping the field hockey stick from a squatting position, with the stick generally parallel to the ground surface. The ball can be hit by sweeping the stick squarely against the ball to provide an instance of contact between the ball and stick. The ball can be whipped by sweeping the contacted edge along the ball (e.g., generally tangential to the ball) such that the ball rolls along the contacted edge and releases as desired. With either hitting or whipping the ball, the ball can be contacted with the contacted edge generally perpendicular to the ground surface so as to minimize loft.
The foregoing disclosure of embodiments of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many variations and modifications of the embodiments described herein will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the above disclosure. The scope of the invention is to be defined only by the claims, and by their equivalents.
Further, in describing representative embodiments of the present invention, the specification may have presented the method and/or process of the present invention as a particular sequence of steps. However, to the extent that the method or process does not rely on the particular order of steps set forth herein, the method or process should not be limited to the particular sequence of steps described. As one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate, other sequences of steps may be possible. Therefore, the particular order of the steps set forth in the specification should not be construed as limitations on the claims. In addition, the claims directed to the method and/or process of the present invention should not be limited to the performance of their steps in the order written, and one skilled in the art can readily appreciate that the sequences may be varied and still remain within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
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|May 8, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: STX, LLC, MARYLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BEDWELL, KATELYN;LIGNELLI, JOANNA;REEL/FRAME:017842/0972
Effective date: 20060505