US 3377064 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,377,064 FOOTBALL TRAINER Thomas H. Hudson, 104 W. Crest Road, Hueytown, Ala. 35201; Eugene L. Watson, Rte. 14, Box 879, Birmingham, Ala.; and Chester B. Skates, In, 2658 Patrick Court, Atlanta, Ga. 30317 Filed July 15, 1964, Ser. No. 382,773 3 Claims. (Cl. 273-55) This invention relates to a football trainer and more particularly to such a trainer which simulates live contact and trains players to retain their balance.
An object of our invention is to provide a football trainer in which the amount of force exerted against the oncoming football player is adjustable whereby full blocks, partial blocks or faked blocks may be simulated, thus requiring the player to make quick decisions whereby his reactions are greatly improved.
Another object of our invention is to provide a football trainer of the character designated in which a pair of movable members are mounted opposite each other and adapted for pivotal movement to angular positions away from each other and fluid pressure operated means is operatively connected to each of the movable members for restraining movement of the movable members toward the angular positions away from each other.
Another object of our invention is to provide a football trainer of the character designated which shall be particularly adapted for teaching football fundamentals and at the same time reducing injuries and fumbles.
A still further object of our invention is to provide a football trainer of the character designated which shall be simple of construction, economical of manufacture and one which saves a considerable amount of time in training football players since the backs and linemen may be trained without employing live opposition.
As is well known in the art to which our invention rel-ates, various type football trainers have been devised. However, so far as We are aware, no means has been provided for improving the reflexes or reactions of the player at the time the player is trained in running, blocking and tackling.
Briefly, in accordance with the present invention, we employ a pair of movable members which exert a predetermined force against the player as the player moves through the apparatus. The predetermined pressure is adjustable by a coach or trainer whereby the actual force exerted against the player is unknown to the player until the contact is made. Accordingly, the player must make a quick decision to maintain his balance and at the same time make a proper block or tackle. Also, by providing apparatus in which the pressure exerted against the player is unknown to the player, our apparatus is particularly adapted for training backs while carrying a ball to improve their balance and at the same time reduce fumbles.
Apparatus embodying features of our invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, forming a part of this application, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a football trainer embodying features of our invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1; and,
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmental view, partly broken away and in section, showing the fluid pressure operated means employed to restrain movement of the movable members toward angular positions away from each other.
Referring now to the drawing for a better understanding of our invention, we show a pair of upstanding support members and 11 which are anchored firmly in the ground by suitable means to provide a sturdy structure. The upper ends of the support members 10 and 11 generally 3,377,064 Patented Apr. 9, 1968 are connected by a transverse brace 12, as shown in FIG. 1.
Projecting outwardly from the upstanding support members 10 and 11 are a series of vertically spaced brackets 13, as clearly shown in FIG. 2. Pivotally connected to the brackets 13 by pivot pins 14 are a series of vertically spaced arms 16. The inner ends of the arms 16 are secured to vertically extending plate-like members 17. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the plate-like members 17 extend inwardly toward each other and the inner ends thereof are covered by a suitable resilient member 18, such as molded rubber or the like. The resilient members 18 are thus positioned directly opposite each other while in the imperative position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Secured rigidly to one of the inwardly projecting arms 16 at each side of the apparatus is an outwardly projecting bracket 19, as shown in FIG. 2. Pivotally connected to the outer end of the bracket 19 by a pin 21 and a clevis connector 22 is one end of a piston rod 23. The other end of the piston rod 23 is connected to a piston 24 which is adapted to reciprocate in a cylinder 26.
Surrounding the piston rod 23 intermediate the clevis connector 22 and the adjacent end of the cylinder 26 is a compression spring 27. The outwardly projecting bracket 19 and the movable member operatively connected thereto, consisting of the arm 16, plate 17 and resilient element 18, are thus urged inwardly toward the position shown in FIG. 2 whereby the resilient elements 18 are directly opposite each other. Each cylinder 26 is pivotally connected to a supporting bracket 28 by a pivot pin 29. The support brackets 28 are secured rigidly to the upstanding support members 10 and 11, as shown.
Communicating with the cylinder 26 at the opposite side of the piston 24 from the piston rod 23 is a conduit 31 for supplying fluid thereto. Each conduit 31 communicates with a control unit indicated generally at 32. Fluid is supplied to the control units 32 by a Tfitting 33 which communicates with a fluid reservoir indicated generally at 34. The control unit 32 comprises a hollow housing 36 having a partition 37 therein separating opposite ends of the housing from each other. Openings 38 and 39 are provided in the partition 37, as shown in FIG. 3. A ball check valve 41 is mounted in position to control the fiow of fluid through the opening 38 whereby fluid is free to flow from the reservoir 34 to the cylinder 26 in response to movement of the piston 24 toward the inoperative position shown in FIG. 2. That is, as the compression spring 27 urges the piston rod 23 outwardly of the cylinder 26, fluid is drawn into the cylinder 26 through the conduit 31 and the passageway 38. When the piston 24 is urged in the opposite direction, fluid cannot flow from the conduit 31 through the passageway 38 due to the ball check valve 41. As shown in FIG. 3, the ball check valve 41 comprises the usual ball element 42 which is adapted to engage a suitable seat in the passageway 38. The ball 42 is urged toward the seated position by a spring 43 in a manner well understood in the art.
Mounted for movement relative to the passageway 39 is an adjustable restricting unit 44 which comprises a rotatable shaft-like member 46 having a reduced, tapered lower end 47 that extends inwardly of the passageway 39. Suitable threads 48 are provided on the shaft like member 46 which engage internal threads 49 carried by a member 51 which is threadedly connected to the housing 36 by suitable threads 52. An operating handle 53 is carried by the outer end of the shaft-like member 46 for rotating the same whereby the reduced, tapered lower end 47 is moved inwardly and outwardly of the passageway 39 to thereby vary the effective opening of the passageway 39. Accordingly, the flow of fluid through the passageway 39 may be readily varied by merely rotating the operating handle 53 to selected positions. The passageways 39 may be fully opened whereby fluid is free to pass therethrough from the cylinder 26 to the reservoir 34, thus simulating a faked block. On the other hand, the operating handle 53 may be rotated to a position to restrict flow of fluid through the opening 39 whereby a fully block or partial block is simulated.
The resilient elements 28 of the movable members are positioned from each other, when in the inoperative position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a distance to permit the head of the football player to pass therethrough but prevent the shoulders from passing therethrough. Accordingly, the head and neck of the player is not injured in any manner while using our improved trainer.
From the foregoing description, the operation of our football trainer will be readily understood. The operating handles 53 are rotated to selected positions whereby the flow of fluid through the passageways 39 is controlled. The amount of force required to move the movable elements 18 about the pivot pins 14 is thus determined by the position of the tapered lower end 47 of the shaft-like members 46 relative to the passageways 39. Accordingly, the apparatus may be so set that a maximum of force is required to move one of the movable elements 18 while a minimum for force is required to move the other or opposite movable element 18. Since the positions of the handles 53 is unknown to the players, the player does not know how much force will be exerted by either of the movable elements 18 until contact is made. Accordingly, the player learns to make quick decisions automatically whereby his balance is maintained. Also, where the player is carrying a ball, the player learns to hold onto the ball whereby fumbles are reduced. Since the operating handles 53 may be adjusted immediately after each player passes through the trainer, a different setting may be employed for each player.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that we have devised an improved football trainer which is simple of construction and manufacture and one which may be operated with a minimum of effort by the coach or trainer to present selected training conditions to the player. That is, the force exerted at either side or both sides of the player is variable at will whereby the player never knows the condition that he will run into until contact is made.
While we have shown our invention in but one form, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited but is susceptible of various changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof, and we desire, therefore, that only such limitations shall be placed thereupon as are specifically set forth in the appended claims.
What we claim is:
1. In football training apparatus for presenting separable restraining forces against the movement of a football player which are unknown to the player until contact is made:
(a) a pair of oppositely disposed movable members each being mounted for independent pivotal movement in a generally horizontal plane adjacent one side thereof with the other sides of said movable members extending inwardly toward each other,
(b) each of said movable members being movable independently from a first position in which said other sides are generally opposite each other and spaced from each other a distance to permit the head of a football player to pass therethrough and prevent the shoulders from passing therethrough to angular positions away from each other,
(0) means urging said movable members toward said first position,
(d) separate fluid pressure operated means operatively connected to each of said movable members restraining movement of said movable members independently of each other toward said angular positions away from each other, and
(e) separate adjustable control means removed from the control of the football player varying selectively and independently the restraining pressure exerted by each said separate fluid pressure operated means against and unknown to the football player by either of said movable members.
2. In football training apparatus as defined in' claim 1 in which each fluid pressure operated means comprises:
(a) a fluid pressure operated until having a cylinder and a piston,
(-b) means mounting each said fluid pressure operated unit between a different one of said movable members and a stationary support adjacent thereto,
(c) a separate conduit communicating with each said cylinder for supplying fluid thereto and exhausting fluid therefrom in response to movement of said piston in said cylinder, and
(d) separate fluid control means associated with each conduit permitting free flow of fluid to each said cylinder in response to relative movement of its piston in one direction and restraining separately the flow of fluid from each said cylinder in response to movement of its piston in another direction.
3. In football training apparatus as defined in claim 2 in which said control means comprises:
(a) a housing communicating at one side thereof with a supply of fluid and communicating at another side thereof with a separate said conduit,
(b) there being a first passageway through each said housing,
(c) a check valve for each said first passageway permitting flow of fluid in a single direction toward said another side whereby fluid is supplied to each said cylinder in response to relative movement of its piston in said one direction,
((1) there being a second passageway through each said housing, and
(e) an adjustable restricting means associated with each said second passageway to vary the effective opening of said second passageway and the restriction of fluid flow therethrough in response to relative movement of its associated piston in said another direction.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 445,726 2/ 1891 Coop 272-72 1,436,846 11/ 1922 Willimann 273-55 1,598,940 9/1926 Smith 272-72 2,725,231 11/ 1955 Hoover 272-72 2,765,054 10/ 1956 Rossman. 2,183,465 12/1939 Noor 273-55 3,062,548 11/1962 Foster et al 273-55 3,304,089 2/1967 Smith 273-55 ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner.
RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Examiner.
R. I. APLEY, Assistant Examiner.