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Publication numberUS3216724 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 9, 1965
Filing dateJul 5, 1963
Priority dateJul 5, 1963
Publication numberUS 3216724 A, US 3216724A, US-A-3216724, US3216724 A, US3216724A
InventorsWilliams Roy O
Original AssigneeWilliams Roy O
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Football practice apparatus
US 3216724 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

N 9 R. o. WILLIAMS 3,216,724


INVENTOR ROY o. WILLIAMS 37 Z BY Y WWW ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,216,724 FOOTBALL PRACTICE APPARATUS Roy 0. Williams, 126 E. Fulton Ave., Stockton, Calif. Filed July 5, 1963, Ser. No. 293,096 9 Claims. (Cl. 273-55) This invention relates to football practice equipment and, more particularly, to an apparatus for practicing blocking.

Although various kinds of dummy mounted sleds have been used for blocking practice, the present invention involves a novel mounting arrangement for dummies such that they are ideally suited for teaching the heads-up technique of blocking. In brief, the invention comprises one or more contact pads having helmet receiving curvatures or pockets. Each pad is mounted by a number of spring devices which permit the pads to pivot upon generally vertical axes. In view of the special curvature of the pads and the manner with which they can be moved, a charging blocker cannot avoid making contact with his forehead and simultaneously obtaining support from both shoulders and arms. Thus, the apparatus teaches a coordination in movement which builds confidence as well as instructing a player in the proper technique of hitting an opponent in the middle before sliding olf on one shoulder.

Various objects of this invention will become apparent in view of the following detailed description and the accompanyin g drawings.

In the drawings forming a part of this application and in which like parts are identified by like reference numerals through out the same,

FIG. 1 is a perspective ofone preferred embodiment of football practice apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of apparatus shown in FIG.

FIG. 3 is a front view as seen on line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and

FIGS. 4-6 are diagrammatic views of the dummy pad illustrating the axes upon which it may be pivoted and the effects of directional blocking.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a football practice apparatus comprising a sled and a pair of identical dummy mounts 11, each mount comprising a pad 12 having a helmet receiving curvature 13. Importantly, each dummy mount is resiliently supported from sled 10 in a manner which permits pivotal movement upon generally vertical axes. For this purpose, spring loaded mounting devices 14 are provided, said devices being constructed and located in a manner to be particularly described.

Sled 11 comprises a pair of ground supported rails 15 and 16 and a platform 17. Generally upright but forwardly inclined vertical support members 18 and 19 are secured to rails 15 and 16, respectively, and inclined bracing members 20 and 21 extend between respective rails and the vertical support members. A horizontally disposed support member 22 is secured between members 18 and 19 near their upper ends. However, the ends of member 22 project beyond the ends of members 18 and 19 to support spring devices 14, as best shown in FIG. 3.

Each dummy 11 comprises a pad supporting framework 25 that is of generally rectangular shape having parallel side members 26 and 27, ofiset parallel side members 23 and 29, and horizontal connecting members 30, 31, 32 and 33. A net made of nylon cord 34 strung through loops 35 mounted to members 26, 27, 28 and 29 is utilized as a backing for pad 12. The pad may be bound to the framework by lacing, stitching, riveting or other conventional means, not shown.

3,216,724 Patented Nov. 9, 1965 ice It will be noted that curvature 13 is located centrally of the framework after the pad is secured thereto, and no hard or rigid supports are necessary to reinforce the pad in back of the areas normally contacted by heads-on blocking. The pad itself may be formed of any materials customarily used for padding purposes, but foam rubber is a preferred material. The curvature may be formed by stitching opposite sides of a solid foam pad together while the two sides are pressed together. The area of the curvature should be approximately 18 inches in diameter to receive the mask and helmet of a blocker. Preferably the depth of curvature should be about three inches deep at the center so that the helmet or face guard of a blocker will be received much the same as in actual play while both shoulders and arms make contact with the pad on areas circumferentially of the curvature. The depth of the curvature is also important for teaching a blocker accuracy in placing his head into a defending lineman.

FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the preferred manner in which each dummy 11 is mounted from the sled by a pair of upper spring devices 14 supported to horizontal member 22 and a single lower spring device supported from vertical members 18 or 19. The upper devices 14 are located almost equidistant from the vertical supports, thereby approximately centering the dummies 11 in front'of the vertical members. The dummies are actually set olf to one side of the vertical members and centered relative to the lower spring device. The center of curvatures 13 are positioned at a height of approximately four feet above ground. This distance is about the same as the ideal helmet contact which is made by a blocker against the body of a defensive lineman.

Each spring device 14 comprises a sleeve 36, a rod 37 that is both slidably and rotatably received in the sleeve, and a coaxially mounted coil spring 38, said spring being disposed between collars 39 and 40 on the sleeve and rod, respectively. A pin 41 mounted in rod 37 is adapted for engaging a stop collar 42 on sleeve 36 to limit movement of the rod relative to the sleeve while holding the spring under slight compression.

Sleeves 36 are mounted to sled supporting members with their respective axes extending in a generally horizontal and forward direction. They are inclined slightly downward, however, so that the dummy will be guided upward as it is moved against the power of springs 38.

Rods 37 are each pinned to the framework of dummy 11 upon a generally vertical axis by a bifurcated fitting 43 and a bolt 44. This mounting allows the dummies to be pivoted from each rod support upon a vertical axis. But in view of the three point suspension shown, the dummies will be restricted in their movement to vertical pivoting upon either axis 45 or 46, as indicated in FIG. 4. Since axes 45 and 46 are substantially vertical they provide a type of movement which closely resembles a defending player being blocked. Moreover, the pivotal movement derived from such a mounting construction teaches the importance of accuracy in blocking, while also protecting the blocker against his own errors in judgment. It will be evident from FIG. 5, that a correct head-on engagement with curvature 13 will drive the pad directly against the force of springs 38. On the other hand, a misdirected block to the right (FIG. 6) will pivot pad 12 about the substantially vertical axis 45. The unbalanced force of the springs will tend to correct the blocker while simultaneously providing sufiicient give" to guard against neck strains and, perhaps, even more severe injuries. Moreover, the type of blocking which is possible with the practice apparatus shown is actually better as an instruction aid than man-to-man blocking. The apparatus allows careful stcp-by-step perfecting of a heads-up technique 3 where the blocker hits his man in the middle, then slides off on one shoulder.

While the above described embodiment is particularly constructive for use in practicing head and shoulder contact with a defensive lineman, the apparatus is ideal for double-teaming practice. As a postman hits the curvature of a pad, the driveman can charge at full speed against the thick outside padding. Of course, the apparatus may also be used as a target for downfield block ing, both head-on and cross-body, or it may be used by a pulling guard in practicing a drive against the defensive end. In general, the apparatus shown and described has multiple uses in practicing various types of football blocks, and with relative safety compared with dummies that are rigidly held or cannot pivot to either side of center upon a vertical pivot axis.

It will be evident that the two dummy-type construction shown is of particular value since it forms a basic unit for manufacturing apparatus having as many as seven dummy mounts. Each dummy mount over two merely requires a longer sled and the use of one additional vertical support, such as 18 or 19, and a bracing member.

Although a preferred embodiment of this invention has been illustrated and described, it is to be understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the attached claims, and each of such changes is contemplated.

What I claim and desired to secure by Letters Patent 1. A football practice apparatus comprising: a support sled, a dummy pad having a helmet receiving curvature therein, means for pivotally mounting said dummy pad from said sled upon several support points circumferentially of said pad, said support points being located to permit pivotal movement of said dummy pad upon at least one substantially vertical axis, and means resiliently urging said dummy pad at each of its support points in a direction away from said sled.

2. The football practice apparatus of claim 1 wherein said dummy pad is rigidly mounted to a framework and wherein said means for pivotally mounting said dummy pad from said sled includes a guide sleeve mounted to said sled and having a generally horizontal axis, a rod slidably and rotatably received by said sleeve and pivotally hinged to said framework upon a generally vertical axis, and a coiled spring biasing said rod relative to said sleeve.

3. The football practice apparatus of claim 1 wherein the center of said curvature is located approximately four feet above said sled.

4. The football practice apparatus of claim 1 wherein said dummy pad is supported at a forwardly inclined angle.

5. The football practice apparatus of claim 1 wherein said helmet receiving curvature is approximately 18 inches in diameter and recessed approximately 3 inches into the front surface of said pad.

6. The football practice apparatus of claim 1 wherein said dummy pad is rigidly mounted to a generally rectangular framework comprising parallel members having a backing net strung between said members.

7. A football practice apparatus comprising:

(a) a support sled including a platform, a pair of generally vertical but forwardly inclined supports mounted to the front edge of said platform, a pair of inclined bracing members, each bracing member extending between the upper end of a support and the rear edge of said platform, and a horizontal support secured to and extending between the upper ends of said generally vertical supports, the ends of said horizontal support projecting beyond the ends of said generally vertical supports;

(b) a pair of dummies, each comprising a pad and a generally rectangular framework;

(0) means for supporting each framework of said pair of dummies from said horizontal support and one of said generally vertical supports, said means supporting each framework comprising three spring devices, two of said spring devices being mounted to said horizontal support and located on opposite sides of the upper end of one generally vertical support and one spring device being mounted to said one generally vertical support; and

(d) each of said spring devices comprising a guide sleeve mounted to said support sled and having a generally horizontal but downwardly inclined axis, a rod pivotally hinged to the framework upon a generally vertical axis, each rod being slidably and rotatably received in one of said sleeves, and a coiled spring biasing said rod relative to said sleeve.

8. The football practice apparatus of claim 7 wherein each pad is formed with a helmet receiving depression located within the area bounded by the three supporting spring devices, the depression of each pad having its center vertically aligned with the spring device mounted to the generally vertical support from which the pad is partly supported.

9. The football practice apparatus of claim 7 wherein the framework of each dummy comprises parallel members having a backing net strung between members.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,962,088 6/34 Crowther 273 2,237,600 4/41 Gilman 273S5 2,620,188 12/52 Malagio 273-55 2,994,534 4/ 61 Davies et al. 273-55 DELBERT B. LOWE, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1962088 *Jun 29, 1933Jun 5, 1934Rae Crowther IncFootball practice apparatus
US2237600 *Jun 24, 1940Apr 8, 1941John Gilman MartinCharging sled
US2620188 *Apr 5, 1950Dec 2, 1952Malagio Fred JResilient bag support
US2994534 *Feb 29, 1960Aug 1, 1961Robert A DavisFootball practicing device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3827690 *Jun 14, 1972Aug 6, 1974Rogers Athletic Co IncBlocking sled
US4140315 *Apr 4, 1977Feb 20, 1979Page John S JrFootball blocking training apparatus
US4447056 *Aug 26, 1982May 8, 1984Dalton Tom EFootball training apparatus
US5026048 *Aug 20, 1990Jun 25, 1991Jones Thomas GMartial arts 360 degree striking target
US5090696 *Feb 8, 1991Feb 25, 1992Charles P. Forrest, Jr.Pop-up tackling practice machine
US5385523 *Dec 17, 1993Jan 31, 1995Forrest; Charles P.Dual motion blocking sled
US6261194Nov 18, 1999Jul 17, 2001Hadar Mfg., Inc.Connecting blocking sled
US6458051 *May 29, 2001Oct 1, 2002Thomas S. MooreStationary blocking/tackling platform for football
US6685581 *Apr 4, 2001Feb 3, 2004Rae Crowther CompanyAthlete training device
US6942585Jan 2, 2003Sep 13, 2005Rae Crowther CompanyFootball training sled
US6988965 *Jan 29, 2004Jan 24, 2006Rae Crowther CompanyPlayer shaped practice pad
US7794337 *Nov 20, 2007Sep 14, 2010Borg Unlimited Inc.Tackling dummy
US8960678 *Mar 6, 2013Feb 24, 2015Marty Gilman, Inc.Thrustback training sled
US9114299May 31, 2011Aug 25, 2015Douglas Alasdair Goodwin HigginsMuscle conditioning apparatus
US20050170918 *Jan 29, 2004Aug 4, 2005Krause Harry W.Player shaped practice pad
US20080119306 *Nov 20, 2007May 22, 2008Ricardo GamboaTackling dummy
US20090312160 *Jul 19, 2007Dec 17, 2009Higgins Douglas Alasdair GoodwMuscle conditioning apparatus
US20130184104 *Mar 6, 2013Jul 18, 2013Neil F. GilmanThrustback training sled
US20140024480 *Dec 4, 2012Jan 23, 2014Gerald GeorgeAthletic Training Apparatus and Method
WO2008009949A1Jul 19, 2007Jan 24, 2008Higgins Douglas Alasdair GoodwMuscle conditioning apparatus
U.S. Classification473/445
International ClassificationA63B69/34
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/345
European ClassificationA63B69/34F