US 3346257 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 10, 1967 J. w. WHITNEY CLUB SWING TRAINING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 8, 1965 ATTORNEY.
Oct 1967 J. w. WHITNEY 3,346,257
CLUB SWING TRAINING DEVICE Filed March 8, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR %A%wz ATTQRNEY.
United States Patent 3,346,257 CLUB SWING TRAINING DEVICE James W. Whitney, 581 Brookhaven Court, Kirkwood, Mo. 63122 Filed Mar. 8, 1965, Ser. No. 437,883 3 Claims. (Cl. 273-26) This invention relates to a method of and a device for correcting athletic swings, and more particularly to a method of and device for indicating and correcting errors or faults in the swing of a bat or club by a baseball batter or a golfer.
Briefly, this invention comprises a device having first contact means adapted to contact the back of an athletes head and neck, second contact means adapted to contact the back of the athlete, relatively rigid connecting means joining the first and second contact means, and strap means for securing the device tightly to the athlete.
Among the several objects of this invention may be noted the provision of a device which is adapted to indicate errors, such as pulling or lifting the head and trying to kill the ball, common to the swings of both golfers and baseball batters; the provision of a device of the class described which does not confine the athlete to a fixed position and is completely safe; the provision of a device such as described which is adapted to be used effectively by adults as well as youngsters; the provision of a device of the class described which is economical in construction and reliable in use; and the provision of a relatively simple method of indicating errors in the swing of a club by an athlete. Other objects and features will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.
The invention accordingly comprises the constructions and methods hereinafter described, the scope of the invention being indicated in the following claims.
In the accompanying drawings, in which one of various possible embodiments of the invention is illustrated,
FIG. 1 is a front view in elevation of a device of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a side View of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a back view of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a side view in elevation illustrating a first step in securing the device of this invention to an athlete;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating a second step in securing the device to an athlete;
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrating a third step in securing the device to an athlete;
FIG. 7 is a side elevation illustrating the device secured to a baseball player practicing his swing; and
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7 illustrating the device secured to a golfer practicing his swing.
Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Baseball and golf, while differing in many ways, have at least one aspect in common. Both sports require the player to swing at and hit a ball with a bat or club. A great deal of time must spent practicing the swing of a bat or club in order to attain any degree of proficiency. One of the erors most often commited by adult amateur and professional players, as well as by youngsters, while swinging at a baseball or golf ball, is the error of pulling or raising the head, thus causing the athlete to take his eyes off the ball. Another common error committed by most baseball players and golfers at one time or another is the error of twisting the torso during a swing. this error being commonly referred to as trying to kill the ball.
These errors often develop into habits in boys as they grow and are normally difiicult to break once acquired. Often a youngster is reluctant to pay attention to or beheve his coach when the latter tells him that he is lifting his head or trying to kill the ball. Movies can be taken to show a boy or even a professional player that he is lifting his head or trying to kill the ball. However, movies are expensive and, unless they are in slow motion, ineffective. Moreover, minute movements of the head may not even be detected in slow motion movies. Thus, it has been a difficult problem to correct the errors in the swings of golfers and baseball players. By the use of the present invention, the errors of lifting the head and twisting the torso or trying to kill the ball cause physical pressure to be exerted on the person, thus indicating to him that he is committing the errors. The errors may then be corrected by the person.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings, a device for correcting errors in the swings of people, such as golfers and baseball players, for example, is shown generally at 1. Device 1 comprises a relatively rigid connector 3 joining an upper or neck contacting member 5 and a lower or back contacting member 7. Securing means, such as straps 9 and 11 are attached to the device.
Connector 3 is elongated and has enlarged heads 13 and 15 at its upper and lower ends, respectively. As shown, end heads 13 and 15 are generally square or rectangular shaped. Connector 3 may be constructed of any suitable rigid material, such as wood, plastic, or metal, for example.
Upper contacting member 5 comprises a cushion or pad 17 connected to end head 13. Cushion 17 may be constructed of any suitable padding material, such as foam rubber, or cloth, for example. As shown in FIG. 3, a cover 19 of cushion 17 is pulled over the edges of end head 13 and secured by tacks or nails 21 to the rear side of the head. Cushion 17 is preferably shaped as illustrated in FIG. 2, so as generally to conform to the curvature of the back of the neck and head in the region immediately above the shoulders.
Lower contacting member 7 comprises a cushion or pad 23 constructed of the same material as member 5 and includes a cover 25 connected to the lower end head 15 by tacks or nails 21. Cushion 23, as will be made apparent hereinafter, is adapted to contact the athlete wearing the device somewhere in the lower region of the athletes back or on his buttocks, depending on the size and build of the athlete.
Upper strap 9 has approximately equal portions 9a and 9b which extend laterally from the rear side of connector 3 just below end head 13. The strap is fastened to connector 3 by several tacks or nails 21. A fastener 26, such as a clasp, or buckle for example, is attached to the outer end of portion 91) for securing straps 9a and 9b together. As will be made apparent hereinafter, straps 9a and 9b are adapted to extend from the connector 3 over the athletes shoulders, under the armpits, then back across the connector where the straps 9a and 9b cross, and then around the athletes torso to the front side where the straps are connected together.
Lower strap 11 is shorter than strap 9, but has two approximately equal strap portions 11a and 11b and is secured to connector 3 along the upper portion of end head 15 by several tacks or nails 21. A fastener 26 is attached to the outer end of portion 11b for securing straps 11a and 11b together. Straps 11a and 1112 are adapted to extend from connector 3 around opposite sides of the athlete to the front of the athlete, where they are connected.
It will be understood that the term straps, as used herein, is meant to include not only leather or cloth securing members but also other securing members, such as ropes or heavy cord, for example.
The device of this invention is secured to an athlete in the following manner:
7) First, as shown in FIG. 4, upper cushion 17 is placed against the base of the neck of a person, such as an athlete, while he leans slightly forward. Straps 11a and 11b are then pulled around the waist and secured together as tightly as possible. The lower cushion 23 may rest against the lower portion of the athletes back or his buttocks, the exact location being inconsequential as long as the cushion is firmly held against the athlete. Next, as illustrated in FIGS. and 6, the upper straps 9a and 9b are first pulled over the shoulders. The straps are then brought under the arms and pulled back behind the athlete. Next, the straps are crossed over connector 3, strap 9a going from the right side of the athlete to his left side and strap 9b going from his left side to his right side. The straps are then pulled to the front and secured together across the athletes chest as tightly as possible. It is important that the device be secured tightly to the athlete so that straps 9a and 9b are pressed against the athletes pectoral muscles. The device may be adjusted up or down slightly before securing it so that the upper cushion 17 rests against the small or base of the neck.
When the device is to be used to correct errors in the swing of a baseball bat, the athlete first takes his batting stance. The ball is then pitched to the athlete and he takes a few swings. If the athlete has some faults in his swing or is unwittingly committing some errors, he will immediately be made aware of them.
If the athlete twists back or out of position as the pitcher goes into motion prior to pitching or as the ball approaches the plate, the device will tend to restrict the athletes movement and the straps 9a and 9b will bite into the shoulder muscles, thus indicating to the athlete that he is not in a proper position to swing at the ball.
One of the fundamentals in developing a proper swing is for the batter to keep his eyes on the ball at all times, even at the moment that the bat contacts the ball. If the athlete fails to keep his eyes on the ball and tries to raise or lift his head, a common error, he will be restricted from doing so by the upper cushion 17. Additionally, as the athlete unwittingly tries to lift his head, he will feel the pressure of the cushion on the back of his head and neck, thus providing to himself that he is committing this error.
Another fundamental is for the athlete to use his arms and wrist for power rather than using any twisting action of his upper torso for power. Instead of twisting his shoulders, they should be kept level and moved toward the pitcher, i.e., the athlete should lean toward the pitcher, as he swings the bat with his arms and wrists. If the athlete is improperly swinging at the ball by twisting or swinging with his shoulders, the strap 9a or 9b which is farther from the pitcher, will dig into the adjacent shoulder and pectoral muscle and be quite uncomfortable. This indicates to the athlete that he has been swinging with his shoulders, rather than with his arms and wrists.
Once the errors being committed by the athlete are recognized, as will be apparent by the use of the device, the athlete continues to swing at balls and attempts to eliminate his faults. When he no longer feels any significant pressure between upper cushion 17 and his neck or head, he knows he is no longer lifting his head. Similarly, when he no longer feels the straps 9a and 9b biting into his pectoral muscles and shoulders when he swings, he knows he is keeping his shoulders level and leaning into the pitch. The athlete can then take off the device and practice swinging with the proper form.
The device of this invention also provides resistance and a sharp reminder to a batter if the latter attempts to swing at a bad pitch. Anytime the batter has to alter his form, such as when he is reaching for an outside or a high pitch, one or more of the cushions 17 and 19 and the straps 9a and 9b exert a significant amount of additional pressure against the adjacent portion of the body, thus indicating a fault in the batters swing. It will be noted that unless the connector 3 is relatively rigid against Cit bending and twisting, the cushions 17 and 23 and the straps 9a and 9 would not exert a significant amount of additional pressure when an error is made in the batters swing. It is also pointed out that a relatively rigid connector 3, in cooperation with cushions 17 and 23 and straps 9 and 11, tends to keep the back of the athlete straight.
While the device of the invention restrains a twisting movement of the shoulders and a backward movement of the head per se of an athlete, it is to be noted that the device will not hinder the movement of an athlete if he is trying to fall away from a pitched baseball. As will be observed, there is no connection between the device and the ground and thus the athlete is free to move about. Accordingly, the device is safe in that it does not confine the athlete to a fixed position, but rather permits him to move away from a pitched baseball.
When the device is to be used to correct errors in the swing of a golf club, the athlete first takes his normal golf stance for a particular club as shown in FIG. 8. Then the athlete takes a few practice swings in slow motion. If the swing is properly executed, the device is relatively comfortable. However, if certain errors are committed, pressure is applied to the body in various places to indicate faults in the golf swing. For example, if the club is brought back or raised too far the strap 9b will dig into the adjacent shoulder and pectoral muscle. If the athlete tries to 1ift his head, upper cushion 17 will press against the back of the head and neck and restrict the head from being lifted. If the athlete twists his shoulders during a swing, the straps 9a or 9b will dig into the adjacent shoulder in the same manner as when the shoulders are twisted during a baseball swing. By practicing his swing in slow motion, the athlete is forced to concentrate on fundamenful to both professional and amateur adults who are in a slump.
As used herein, the term athletic club means any sporting implement, such as a baseball bat or a golf club, for example, which must be swung at a ball by a participant of the sport to which the ball is germane. Furthermore, reference herein to the lower portion of a persons back includes not only the lower region of the back, but also the persons buttocks. Similarly, reference herein to the back of a persons head includes the back of the persons neck. Also, when some part of the device is stated to be in contact with a certain portion of the persons anatomy, it will be understood that this is not limited to contact with the persons skin, but obviously may refer to sontact with the clothing over the skin.
In view of the above, it will be seen that the several objects of the invention are achieved and other advantageous results attained.
As various changes could be made in the above constructions and methods without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in he accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
1. A device for indicating errors in the swing of an athletic club by a person, the device comprising:
a first contact member for engaging the back of the persons head to prevent substantial backward movement of the head,
a second contact member for engaging the lower portion of the persons back,
a substantially rigid connecting member supporting said first and second contact members in spaced relation to each other, said connecting member being adapted to be positioned along the persons back, said contact members being so enlarged that they extend significantly forward of said connecting member when said connecting member is positioned along the persons back,
and securing means for attaching the device to the back of a person, said securing means comprising first strap means at the upper portion of said connecting member adapted to extend over both shoulders across the pectoral muscles under the arms and be attached to the central portion of the connecting member for exerting pressure on the pectoral muscles during twisting movements of the body, the securing means further comprising second strap means at the lower portion of said connecting member adapted to be positioned around the lower portion of the persons torso from one side of the torso to the other side thereof for attaching the device to the person.
2. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the first strap means comprises a pair of strap portions adapted to extend from the upper portion of said connecting member forwardly over opposite shoulders of the person, under the persons arms, across the persons back over the connect- References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 12/ 1890 Hilliard 128-78 1/1910 Adams 128-78 3/ 1925 Remington 273-188 6/1931 Haulbrook et al 12878 8/1941 Bo-tts -1 273-190 10/1957 Ward 12878 11/1966 Babcock 224'25 FOREIGN PATENTS 11/1944 Sweden.
ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner. RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Examiner. G. J. MARLO, Assistant Examiner.