US 3297321 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1967 v. D. KUHNES ETAL 3,
BASEBALL BATTING TRAINER Filed Feb. 26, 1964 INVENTORS. VAL D. KuHNEs and BY DAVID H. PORTER Wmww ga M AHorn\ s United States Patent Ofihce 3,297,321 Patented Jan. 10, 1967 3,297,321 BASEBALL BATTING TRAINER Val D. Kuhnes, Greensburg, Ind. (134 Main St., Lakeview Apartments, Apt. 300, Hobart, Ind. 46342), and David H. Porter, 153 North St., Osgood, Ind. 47037 Filed Feb. 26, 1964, Ser. No. 347,493 1 Claim. (Cl. 273-26) This invention relates generally to athletic training devices and more particularly to a device for training baseball players in the art of batting.
Various types of machines have been developed for throwing baseballs for providing batting practice for baseball players. Such machines are power operated and intended primarily for use by professional baseball teams rather than for training younger players at home or at relatively small schools and colleges. Baseball pitching machines of this type do not include any apparatus adapted to retrieve a ball after it is pitched, and such machines are not adapted to pitch balls through a curved trajectory.
The principal object of this invention is to provide a simple apparatus for training baseball batters and which is operable to impart a curved trajectory to a pitched ball and also to return the ball from the batting area to the pitching area.
In accordance with this invention there is provided a baseball training device comprising a ball and a ball tethering means operative to impart a curved trajectory to the ball as it is thrown toward the batter and also operative to return the ball toward the pitcher whenever the batter fails to hit the ball.
The full nature of the invention will be understood from the accompanying drawings and the following description and claims.
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the apparatus provided in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating the manner in which this invention is operated in order to impart a curved trajectory to the ball in different horizontal directions.
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating the manner in which the invention is operated to impart the curved trajectory to the ball in a downward direction.
Referring to the drawings there is provided in accordance with this invention a baseball training device comprising a ball to which is attached a length of nonextensible material 11, such as cord or other similar material. One end of the cord preferably extends into the ball 10 as indicated at 12 and is fastened therein in any suitable manner. The other end of the cord 11 may be attached to an extensible member 14 which may be formed of a fiat band of rubber or of what is commonly known as shock cord or other material having sufficient elasticity and durability to operate satisfactorily. Member 14 may be attached to the cord 11 in any suitable manner as indicated at 15. There is also provided a coiled spring unit 16 attached at one end to member 14 by means of a conventional swivel mechanism 17. A stake in the form of a metallic pin 18 is attached to the other end of spring 16 by means of a conventional snap hook and swivel 19.
The tethering device, as described heretofore, serves to limit the trajectory of the ball and to return the ball from the batter to the pitcher. For causing the ball to travel through a curved trajectory there is provided a weight 20 attached to the cord 11 adjacent to the junction of the cord 11 with the extensible member 15. The Weight may be formed of lead, for example, and may be provided with a longitudinal hole so that the weight may be slidable over a limited portion of the cord, or it may be directly attached to the cord.
In order to train battersby means of our invention a suitable area may be chosen for laying out a pitchers box as indicated at 21 and a batters box as indicated at 22. The distance between the pitchers box and the batters box may be a distance of the order of 60 ft., 5 in. The stake 18 may be driven into the ground at a point approximately 30 ft. from the pitchers box, this being the approximate overall length of the tether. When it is desired to pitch the ball over a trajectory, curving inwardly toward the batter. the Weight 20 and the other portions of the tether may be disposed to the batters left as shown in full lines in FIG. 2. When the ball is thrown, the fact that the weight and tether are to the left of the line of sight between the pitcher and batter, creates a drag component on the ball which causes the ball to curve inwardly toward the batter. The drag component becomes effective to an accelerated degree after the ball passes the stake 18 so that the ball will pass through a curved trajectory similar to that obtainable by a highly skilled pitcher. When it is desired to pitch the ball through a curved trajectory outwardly of the batter, the tether and Weight may be placed to the batters right of the line of sight between the pitcher and the batter as illustrated in dotted lines in FIG. 2. When the ball is pitched under these conditions it curves outwardly of the batter because of the drag component acting on the leftward side of the line of sight.
FIG. 3 of the drawings illustrates the operation of this invention when it is desired to cause the ball to drop at an accelerated rate as it approaches the batter. When it is desired to throw a drop, the weight 20 is placed as closely as possible on a direct line between the pitchers box and batters box. When the ball is thrown under these conditions the weight does not have any off-center drag efiect but causes a sudden deceleration when the ball picks the weight off the ground, thus causing it to simulate a drop as thrown by a skilled pitcher.
The extensible portion 14 of the tether extends in length as the ball approaches the batter and it decelerates the ball to some slight extent. When the ball reaches a point approximately opposite the batter, the spring 16 takes effect provided, of course, that the batter has not hit the ball. The spring imparts a return motion to the ball so that it is snapped back toward the pitcher and will either return directly to the pitcher or to a point close to him.
Experimental use of the tether as provided in accordance with this invention shows that the length of the cord 14 should be approximately 25 ft., 6 in., the length of the spring 16 should be approximately 16 in., and the length of elastic member 14 should be approximately 32 in. The weight 20 should weigh approximately three-fourths of 1 ounce. Taking into consideration these dimensions, it will be apparent that the ball will approach to within about 2 ft. of the batter before the elastic member 14 and spring 16 begin to take effect.
From the foregoing description it will be apparent that this invention provides a training device for batters which does not require the services of a highly skilled pitcher. The baseball may be thrown by an unskilled pitcher and yet he is able to simulate the pitching skills of a highly skilled pitcher. This training device is especially adaptable for training youths and accelerating their batting proficiency to a much greater degree than heretofore possible. Another advantage of this invention is the provision of means adapted to return the ball to the pitcher whenever the batter fails to hit it. It should also be noted that even when the batter hits the ball it will not go any References Cited by the Examiner great distance beyond the itcher and Will be returned UNITED STATES PATENTS relatively close to the pitcher s box.
The invention laimed is; Bullard A baseball training device comprising a ball, a length 5 2,017,720 0/ 1935 Lake 27326 of cord having one end attached to said ball, a length 1,491 8/1962 Cabot 273-200 of elastic material attached at one end to the other end FOREIGN PATENTS of said cord, a coil spring attached at one end to the other end of said elastic material, a stake attached to the other 822,057 10/1959 Great Bummend of said spring, and Weight means fixed to the junction 10 of said cord and elastic material for imparting a curvilin- RICHARD PINKHAM Pnmary Exammer ear trajectory to said ball. L. I. BOVASSO, Assistant Examiner.