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Publication numberUS3231271 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 25, 1966
Filing dateJun 28, 1963
Priority dateJun 28, 1963
Publication numberUS 3231271 A, US 3231271A, US-A-3231271, US3231271 A, US3231271A
InventorsMurphy William E
Original AssigneeMurphy William E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for practicing strokes with a tennis racket
US 3231271 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 25, 1966 w. E. MURPHY 3,231,271


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United States Patent 3,231,271 APPARATUS FOR PRAQTICING STROKES WITH A TENNIS RACKET William E. Murphy, 1309 Iroquois Ava, Ann Arbor, Mich. Filed June 28, 1963, Ser. No. 291,550 1 Claim. (Cl. 273-29) The present invention relates to apparatus for practicing correct strokes with a tennis racket.

It is an object of the present invention to provide apparatus of this character which is constructed and arranged to teach the fundamentals of a sound tennis stroke, and particularly to perform this function with respect to both forehand and backhand ground strokes.

It is another object of the present invention to provide apparatus of the foregoing character which is readily adjustable to permit selective practicing of sound tennis strokes at different levels above a practicing surface.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide apparatus of the foregoing character which teaches the proper footwork to be followed when executing the correct tennis strokes.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide apparatus of the foregoing character which indicates to the user when faulty strokes are being executed.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide apparatus of the foregoing character which is simple in construction to make it readily usable for practice either indoors or outdoors, and which can be manufactured and sold at a relatively low cost.

Other objects of this invention will appear in the following description and appended claims, reference being bad to the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification wherein like reference characters designate corresponding parts in the several views.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view illustrating one em bodiment of the present invention as it is intended to be used;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged side plan view of an unstrung tennis racket which constitutes one of the elements of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged side elevation of a ball simulating unit comprising another element of the illustrated embodiment;

FIGURE 4 is an end elevation of the ball simulating unit of FIG. 3;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken on the line 55 of FIG. 3; and

FIGURE 6 is a plan view showing the ball simulating unit and support therefor and a foot mat comprising another element of the illustrated embodiment.

Before explaining the present invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and arrangement of parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings, since the invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.

Referring now to the drawings, a more detailed description of the embodiment of the invention will be provided. The apparatus for practicing the correct strokes with a tennis racket comprises a plurality of separate elements which include the simulated ball and support structure 10, the unstrung tennis racket 12, the foot mat 14 and the stroke limiting poles 16 and 18. The simulated ball and support structure is provided with a base portion 20 and a simulated tennis ball structure 22. The base "ice portion 24) comprises two triangular pieces of rigid material 24 and 26, such pieces being formed from wood, metal, rigid plastic material, or other suitable material. The triangular pieces 24 and 26 are spaced apart to provide a gap 28, for a purpose to be described, and these pieces are secured in this upright relationship by two strips 36 and 32 which are secured together by suitable fastening rivets or bolts 34 so as to retain the pieces 24 and 26 therebetween.

The simulated tennis ball structure 22 includes an upright panel 36 which has an upper edge on which are positioned a plurality of simulated tennis balls 38. As shown in the drawings five such simulated balls are positioned along the upper edge of the panel 36. It is to be understood that the balls 36 may be regular tennis balls or similar ball-like configurations, and all such balls and configurations will be referred to herein as simulated balls. These simulated balls 38 are secured to the panel 36 or are made an integral part of panel 36 so as to prevent displacement of the balls from the panel 36. The panel 36 with the simulated balls 38 thereon is symmetrical with respect to its opposite sides and its one vertical edge comes substantially to a point as shown at 40 in FIGS. 4 and 5. A pair of supporting bars 42 are attached to the panel 36, and the supporting bars 42 carry a wing nut assembly 44 for passing through the slot 28 in the base portion 20 so as to enable the simulated tennis ball structure 22 to be adjustably supported on the base portion 29. As can readily be seen in FIG. 1, by loosening the wingnut assembly 44, the simulated tennis ball structure 22 can be raised and lowered vertically with respect to the base portion 20, and it also can be pivoted about the axis of the wing nut assembly 44 so as to vary the angle of inclination of the aligned simulated balls 38 with respect to the practicing surface on which the ball and support structure 10 is supported. By virtue of this construction and arrangement, the aligned simulated tennis balls 38 can be positioned in proper angular inclination through the selected path of travel of a tennis racket for a given properly executed tennis stroke.

The ball and support structure 10 is used with an especially designed tennis racket 12, which, as can be seen in FIG. 2, is an unstrung racket which has had a portion of its frame as removed to provide a gap or opening between the terminal ends 48 of the frame 46. Fitted over the ends 48 of the frame 46 are pieces of tubing 50, formed of rubber or other resilient material, which provide a gap of desired dimension between their adjacent ends. Normally, the gap between the adjacent ends of the rubber tubings 5th will be only slightly greater than the widest dimension of the panel 36 so that when stroking the racket through the simulated balls 38, any faulty stroking will be noted by the one who is practicing because the one end or the other of the tubing 50 will strike the panel 36.

The handle or gripping area 52 of the tennis racket 1.2 is marked to indicate the correct positions of the fingers for both the forehand and backhand strokes. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention such indicia is not shown, but it will be understood that such markings may be applied to the handle or gripping area of the racket, and a desirable procedure for so marking the gripping portion is to provide, for example, blue markings for showing the correct forehand grip, and red markings for the showing the correct backhand grip.

From the foregoing description of the ball and support structure 10 and the unstrung tennis racket 12, it can be understood that the tennis racket 112 can be stroked through the series of aligned balls 38 without engaging the balls, and when the stroke is properly executed, the gap between the adjacent ends of the rubber tubing 50 will provide sufficient clearance to allow the panel 36 to pass therebetween. If the stroke is not proper, this fault will register with the one who is practicing, because the rubber tubing will stroke the panel 36.

It is also necessary when learning the fundamentals of a sound tennis stroke to execute proper footwork, and for this purpose a foot mat 14 can be used. As shown in FIG. 6, the foot mat 14 has marked thereon the normal footwork that will be followed when executing a tennis stroke. As there shown, the player moves his right foot in the direction of the arrow 52 and then moves his left foot in the direction 54 to the positions shown, and he then executes the tennis stroke such as is shown by way of example in the sequence shown in FIG. 1. As there shown, the player is executing a forehand stroke, and the phantom lines 56 indicate the position of the player at the beginning of the forehand stroke and the phantom lines 58 show the player at the completion of the stroke, while the solid lines show the player at the midportion of the stroke when the unstrung racket is traveling through the simulated tennis ball structure 22. When practicing in this manner, it may also be desired to control the length of the tennis stroke. For this purpose the poles 16 can be positioned so that they limit the length of the stroke.

In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the apparatus has been illustrated only in connection with executing a forehand stroke, but it is to be understood that it can be used equally Well for executing a proper backhand stroke. For executing backhand strokes, it is only necessary that the player reverse his position so that he stands on the opposite side of the ball and support structure 141, and the foot mat 14 and the poles 16 and 18 would also then be moved to the opposite side, as will be readily understood. For this purpose, the foot mat 14 can have similar markings, for example on the reverse side of the mat, to indicate the proper footwork to be used when executing a backhand stroke.

As was previously indicated, the strokes can be practiced at different levels, merely by vertically adjusting the simulated tennis ball structure 22 by means of the wing nut assembly 44. Also, the angular alignment of the series of balls 38 can be varied with respect to the supporting surfaces so that on low strokes the" player will be required to swing in a slightly upward direction, and similarly, on high strokes, he will be required to swing through the aligned balls on a slightly downwardly path.

It will be observed that the described apparatus is simple in construction and can readily be manufactured at low cost. It is also suitable for use indoors and outdoors and requires no permanent attachment either to the playing surface or to any surrounding supporting structure.

Having thus described my invention, I claim:

Apparatus for practicing forehand and backhand strokes with a tennis racket, comprising a vertically arranged ball and support structure including a base portion adapted to be carried on a flap supporting surface and a ball retention portion mounted on said base portion, said ball retention portion having symmetrical opposite sides and a plurality of aligned simulated tennis balls on its upper edge in generally parallel arrangement with said opposite sides, said ball retention portion being vertically and pivotally mounted on said base portion to permit selective positioning of said aligned simulated tennis balls at desired levels above said flat supporting surface and at desired angles of inclination to said flat supporting surface.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,484,390 2/1924 Gibbs et al. 273-187 2,305,187 12/1942 Neiden 273-29 3,125,343 3/1964 Price et al 273-191 X 3,126,206 3/1964 Sabia 273-193 X DELBERT B. LOWE, Primary Examiner. RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Examiner. GERALD L. PRICE, Assistant Examiner.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,231,271 January 25, 1966 William E. Murphy It is hereby certified that error appears in th ent requiring correction and that the said Letters corrected below e above numbered pat- Patent should read as Column 4, line 18, for "1ap read flat Signed and sealed this 6th day of December 1966.

( A Attestz ERNEST W. SW'IDER Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents EDWARD J. BRENNER

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1484390 *Nov 1, 1922Feb 19, 1924Gibbs Edmund DInstruction chart for playing golf
US2305187 *Aug 20, 1940Dec 15, 1942Neiden Benjamin HSport practice apparatus
US3125343 *Aug 25, 1961Mar 17, 1964 Improper gxlf swing is executed
US3126206 *Feb 20, 1962Mar 24, 1964 Practice golf club and tethered ball
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3866912 *Nov 5, 1973Feb 18, 1975Scainetti Jack PTennis-stroke practice target combination
US3918711 *Jan 14, 1974Nov 11, 1975Zak Thomas JTennis training ball target and projector
US3961792 *Mar 27, 1975Jun 8, 1976Lawrence Peska Associates, Inc.Apertured paddle and resilient projectile
US3971559 *Aug 23, 1974Jul 27, 1976Bat Weight, Inc.Weighting device for attachment to baseball bats
US4021036 *Dec 5, 1975May 3, 1977Nelson David MTennis teaching machine with ball projector
US4049266 *Jan 23, 1976Sep 20, 1977Feiler Robert JSport practice apparatus
US4105204 *May 6, 1977Aug 8, 1978Koenig Wilbur VTennis stroke practice device
US6056653 *Aug 18, 1998May 2, 2000Boldin; AlexanderTennis exercise device
US7722485 *Oct 18, 2006May 25, 2010Ramesh BalasubramanyanTennis serve ball machine cum training device
US8241152 *Jun 23, 2011Aug 14, 2012Rafael Cirne LimaSport instruction system
US8262517 *Oct 22, 2010Sep 11, 2012Ramesh BalasubramanyanSensor based tennis serve training apparatus
US20110319201 *Dec 29, 2011Rafael Cirne LimaSport instruction system
US20120004055 *Oct 22, 2010Jan 5, 2012Ramesh BalasubramanyanSensor based tennis serve training apparatus
EP0076203A1 *Sep 21, 1982Apr 6, 1983Pierre Erick GillyTraining device for a tennis player
U.S. Classification473/461, 434/247
International ClassificationA63B69/38
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/38
European ClassificationA63B69/38