Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3475026 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 28, 1969
Filing dateAug 8, 1967
Priority dateAug 8, 1967
Publication numberUS 3475026 A, US 3475026A, US-A-3475026, US3475026 A, US3475026A
InventorsCooper Charles R
Original AssigneeCooper Charles R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for batting practice
US 3475026 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

0d. 28, 1969 T c, R, COOPER 3,475,026

APPARATUS FOR BATTING PRACTICE Filed Aug. 8, 1967 United States Patent 3,475,026 APPARATUS FOR BATTING PRACTICE Charles R. Cooper, 317 S. Lawn, Kansas City, Mo. Filed Aug. 8, 1967, Ser. No. 659,200 lint. Cl. A63b 69/00 US. Cl. 273-26 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for batting practice including a framework comprising a first upright having a pair of vertically spaced, laterally extending arms mounted thereon for vertical shifting movement therealong. A plurality of laterally spaced fingers, of graduated lengths, are swingably mounted on each of the arms and extend toward corresponding fingers on the opposite arm to define a gap between the outermost ends of the fingers, through which gap a bat may be swung. A ball is tethered in horizontally spaced relationship from the gap to provide a target for the batter. The ball is mounted so that vertical movement of the finger-supporting arms causes corresponding vertical movement of the target ball.

This invention relates to athletic equipment and, more particularly, to apparatus for giving a baseball or softball batter practice in carrying out the swing of his bat toward a ball. The time interval involved in carrying out a swing at the ball in games of this type is of extremely short duration so that the batter must relay upon a feel for controlling the direction of his swing. The feel is not entirely a natural response and must be learned and practiced if the batter is to be able to control the swing of the the bat within the interval involved in a manner for making proper contact with the ball. The problem is especially acute if the ball is following a changing trajectory as it travels past the batter.

It is theorized that one of the chief reasons for batters either missing a pitched ball entirely or failing to make solid contact with the ball is the inability to swing the bat through the path of travel which is desired by the batter as he watches the ball move along its trajector.

Accordingly, it is an important object of this invention to provide apparatus which will sense and reveal to a hater the path of swing of his bat through a defined area, thereby permitting him to correct his swing until he can almost instinctively swing the bat where he desires.

It is another object of this invention to provide batting practice apparatus which provides a visual target in a location approximating the location of a ball when the batter should commence his swing.

Still a further object of the instant invention is to provide such apparatus wherein the target ball and swingsensing assembly are simultaneously adjustable and are automatically correlated to permit practice of the swing through a variety of planes.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide apparatus which may be quickly and easily fabricated from relatively inexpensive and readily available materials, yet which is capable of providing a batter with a sensing device to accurately indicate any deviation from the desired path of swing of the bat, and to inform the batter of the direction and amount of such deviation.

These and other objects of this invention will be further explained or will become apparent from the following description, claims and drawing.

In the drawing:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view on a reduced scale of apparatus embodying the principles of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, end elevational view of the swing-sensing assembly;

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of the cable and pulley system on the scale of FIG. 1 illustrating the interconnection of the ball with the swing-sensing asembly;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary, vertical, crosssectional view through a junction of the horizontal connecting member and one of the uprights illustrating one of the pulleys and a portion of the connecting element;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, horizontal, cross-sectional view through the horizontal connecting member illustrating the leveling device in elevation, one of the legs appearing fragmentarily in its folded position; and

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, side elevational view of the counterweight assembly, parts being broken away to reveal details of construction.

Apparatus embodying the principles of this invention includes a frame broadly designated by the numeral 10 comprised of a pair of horizontally spaced uprights 12 and 14 interconnected by a connecting member 16 and supported by leg asemblies 18 and 20 respectively. Upright 15 may comprise an elongated, tubular member such as a pipe 22 or the like which is interconnected at its lowermost end by releasable means 24 to a tubular, vertically extending section 26 communicating with member 16 through an elbow 28. Member 16 is, in turn, hollow and communicates through an elbow 30 with a vertically extending, tubular member 32. A pipe 34 of greater diameter than member 32 is telescoped over the latter and carries, at its uppermost end, a short pipe section 36 which communicates with a laterally extending boom 38 through an elbow 40.

Upright 14 includes an elongated sleeve 42 telescoped over pipe 22 and is provided with a thumbscrew 44 or the like for releasably securing sleeve 42 at any predetermined position along the pipe 22. Sleeve 42 comprises a part of a sensing assembly 46 which includes a pair of vertically spaced, laterally extending arms 48 and 50 respectively. The uppermost arm 48 overlies the lowermost arm 50- and extends parallel therewith.

Each of the arms 48 and 50 is provided at the outermost ends thereof with finger structure 52 and 54 respectively. The fingers of the uppermost structure 52 comprises elongated, rigid rods 56 swingably coupled to arm 48 by bearings 58 for rotation about the longitudinal axis of arm 48. Each of the fingers of structure 52 terminates in an elongated, resilient section 60 for a purpose to be hereinafter described. It will be noted from FIGS. 1 and 2 that the fingers of structure 52 are of graduated lengths and that the fingers are spaced laterally from one another along arm 48.

The fingers of structure 54 are mounted in a similar manner on the lower most arm 50. In this case, however, each of the lowermost fingers not only includes an elongated rod section 62 and a resilient terminal section 64, but a counterweight section 66 disposed on the opposite side of the axis of rotation of the finger from rod 62. Here again, the fingers of structure 54 are of graduated lengths as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, and the individual fingers are spaced laterally from one another along arm 50.

It will be noted that the fingers of the uppermost structure 52 normally extend downwardly by virtue of their own weight distribution in relationship to their axis of revolution about arm 48. The fingers of structure 52 terminate in opposed, vertically spaced relationship from the terminal ends of the corresponding fingers of the lowermost structure 54 to define therebetween a gap 68. Although the fingers of structure 54 are free to rotate about the axis of arm 50, they normally assume the position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 by virtue of the counterweights 66 on each of the fingers.

Sleeve 42 may be provided with a pair of handles 70 as illustrated in FIG. 1. One of the handles 70 has connected thereto one end of an elongated, flexible element 72 such as a cable, chain or the like which enters section 26 and passes around a pulley 74 mounted in elbow 28 as illustrated in FIG. 4. Element 72 then passes through member 16, around a pulley 76 mounted in elbow 30 as illustrated diagrammatically in FIG. 3, around a pulley 78 mounted in elbow 40, and thence around a pulley 80 carried within the outermost end portion of boom 38. Element 72, extending out of the outermost end of boom 38, is thereupon fastened to a baseball 82 or the like. The op posite side of ball 82 has secured thereto a second flexible element 84 which is trained around a pulley 86 disposed in the outermost end of a boom 88 disposed in vertically spaced relationship beneath the upper boom 38 as illustrated in FIG. 1.

The innermost end of boom 88 communicates with a counterweight assembly 90 illustrated in detail in FIG. 6 of the drawing. Thus, element 84 passes through the tubular boom 88 and is trained around a pulley 92 which is disposed in the lowermost end of a tubular section 94 of assembly 90 which is secured to and extends in parallelism with pipe 34 of upright 12. The element 84 is thereupon passed around a pulley 96 carried at the uppermost end of section 94 adjacent the uppermost end of a second section 98 of assembly 90. The element 84 is thereupon secured to a counterweight 100 which is free to move up and down within the tubular section 98. Manifestly, section 98 is also rigidly secured to pipe 34 alongside section 94.

Leg assembly 20 includes a pair of legs 102 which are foldably mounted to a plate 104 rigidly secured to the lowermost end of pipe 22. Similarly, legs 106 of assembly 18 are foldably secured to a flat plate 108. Plate 108, however, is mounted through connectors 110 to a flat plate 112 which is rigidly secured to elbow 30 as by welding or the like. Set-screws 114 permit plate 112 to be shifted vertically toward or away from plate 108 whereby the entire assembly can be adjusted to accommodate uneven terrain or the like.

In operation, sleeve 42 may be placed at the proper position vertically along pipe 22 to accommodate the strike zone of a batter who wishes to practice his swing with this apparatus. The lengths of elements 72 and 84 are chosen so that the ball 82, which constiutes a target at which the batter may swing, is at the desired height with respect to gap 68 between the opposed ends of the fingers of structure 52 and 54 respectively. It will be readily understood from FIG. 3 that any shifting of sleeve 42 along pipe 22 will result in a corresponding shifting of ball 82 in the same direction. The locations of the respective pulleys are such that the corresponding shifting of ball 82 will also be of the same distance. Counterweight 100 assures that the elements secured to ball 82 remain taut at all times to prevent swinging of ball 82.

The batter viewing target 82 may swing at the latter. If his swing is correct, the bat should swing through gap 68 without contacting any of the fingers of structures 52 or 54. On the other hand, if the batter has not learned the ability to swing the bat through the path of travel which he intends, the bat will deviate from the desired path of travel and will contact one or more of the fingers of structure 52 or 54. Whichever fingers are contacted by the bat will spin on their respective axes of rotation. If the fingers of structure 52 are observed to spin following the swing, the batte is advised that his swing has deviated tom the desired path of travel in an upward direction and he can adjust his subsequent swing accordingly. Conversely, if the lowermost fingers are observed to spin following the swing, then the batter will be advised to adjust his swing in an upward direction. Further, because of the graduated lengths of the fingers, the batter receives an indication as to the amount of the deviation in either direction. Accordingly, if only the outermost one of the fingers of either structure is observed to spin following the swing, the batter will know that his deviation has only been slight from the optimum path of travel. On the other hand, if a plurality of the fingers are spinning, the batter, knowing the increment of difference between the graduated lengths of the respective fingers, is automatically advised as to the distance of the correction which he should make in his subsequent swing.

The resilient outermost sections 60 and 64 of the fingers permits contact by the bat without resulting in damage to the apparatus or to the bat. It is contemplated that the entire finger structure could be made of molded plastic or other yieldable material if desired to accomplish this result.

It will further be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that a variety of modifications may be made to the structure without departing from this invention. Specifically, if desired, the flexible elements do not necessarily have to be passed along a path of travel within the tubular elements set forth above. On the other hand, the specific construction disclosed herein has been found to be particularly suitable for ready portability of the unit as well as providing an efficient, relatively inexpensive batters practice apparatus which may be constructed from readily available materials and yet which presents a neat and attractive appearance.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. Apparatus for testing the swing of a bat comprising:

a frame including an upright;

a pair of vertically spaced arms carried by the upright and extending laterally therefrom; and

yieldable finger structure mounted on each arm re-" spectively, the finger structure on the uppermost of said arms extending downwardly and the finger structure on the lowermost of said arms extending upwardly, said structures and said arms terminating in spaced-apart unconnected ends defining a gap therebetween, said gap being adapted to receive a bat therethrough when the latter is swung, whereby deviation of the swing of the bat from said gap engages a finger structure to indicate the direction of said deviation.

2. The invention of claim 1, said arms being shiftably mounted on said upright for movement up and down the upright to vary the height of said gap.

3. Apparatus for testing the swing of a bat comprising:

a frame including an upright;

a pair of vertically spaced arms carried by the upright and extending laterally therefrom; and

yieldable finger structure mounted on each arm respectively, the finger structure on the uppermost of said arms extending downwardly and the finger structure on the lowermost of said arms extending upwardly, said structures terminating in spaced-apart ends defining a gap therebetween, said gap being adapted to receive a bat therethrough when the latter is swung, whereby deviation of the swing of the bat from said gap engages a finger structure to indicate the direction of said deviation,

said finger structure including a plurality of fingers for each arm respectively,

said fingers being spaced laterally along the arm and the fingers on each arm being of graduated lengths.

4. The invention of claim 3, each of said fingers being swingably mounted on the corresponding arm for rotation about the longitudinal axis of the respective arm.

5. Apparatus for testing the swing of a bat comprising:

a frame including an upright;

a pair of vertically spaced arms carried by the upright and extending laterally therefrom; and

yieldable finger structure mounted on each arm respectively, the finger structure on the uppermost of said arms extending downwardly and the finger structure on the lowermost of said arms extending upwardly, said structures terminating in spaced-apart ends defining a gap therebetween, said gap being adapted to receive a bat therethrough when the latter is swung, whereby deviation of the swing of the bat from said gap engages a finger structure to indicate the direction of said deviation,

said arms being shiftably mounted on said upright for movement up and down the upright to vary the height of said gap,

said apparatus including a ball, and means suspending said ball in horizontally spaced relationship from said l said suspending means including means interconnecting said ball with the arms for simultaneously altering the height of said ball to correspond with the height of said gap as said arms are moved along the upright.

ing means includes a system of pulleys carried by the frame, and an elongated, flexible element trained around said pulleys and secured to said ball and said arms respectively.

References Qited UNITED STATES PATENTS RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner 6. The invention of claim 5, wherein said interconnect- 15 THEATRICE BROWN, Assistant Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1532984 *Aug 29, 1923Apr 7, 1925Gyle Borthwick CraigieDevice for use in practicing the game of golf
US1596919 *Apr 27, 1926Aug 24, 1926Bailey Price WilliamDevice for teaching golf swing
US2976040 *Sep 19, 1958Mar 21, 1961Bales Jack JPractice tether ball device
US3194556 *Aug 16, 1962Jul 13, 1965Vinson George RBaseball pitcher's aid
US3386733 *Aug 25, 1965Jun 4, 1968Anthony F. RussoBatting practice device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3924855 *Jul 16, 1974Dec 9, 1975Jet Ball Eiendoms DeperkTethered ball apparatus
US4322075 *Sep 19, 1980Mar 30, 1982Hynes William TBatting practice device
US4533138 *Jun 1, 1982Aug 6, 1985Robert L. WrightMultiple sport training device
US4735413 *Aug 28, 1985Apr 5, 1988Tatsuo YamanouchiTennis practice apparatus
US4783070 *Jan 21, 1987Nov 8, 1988Bauer Ronald DBaseball pitcher's practice target
US5056784 *May 17, 1990Oct 15, 1991Reggie CraigAthletic swing training device
US5072937 *Jan 11, 1991Dec 17, 1991South Texas Sports Manufacturing, Inc.Baseball batting practice device
US5226645 *Mar 11, 1992Jul 13, 1993Stewart Roger KBaseball power swing trainer
US5340101 *Oct 4, 1993Aug 23, 1994Lawson Steven RTraining apparatus for batters
US5366225 *Apr 25, 1994Nov 22, 1994Lester LazarGolf swing training apparatus
US5370395 *Dec 2, 1993Dec 6, 1994Izzo; PaulGolf swing analyzing device and method
US5419550 *Apr 5, 1993May 30, 1995Blom; Arthur W.Tethered ball batting practice device
US5478070 *Feb 21, 1995Dec 26, 1995Morrison; Howard J.Ball and bat trainer tee and guide assembly
US6435990 *Apr 20, 2000Aug 20, 2002Curtis C. BradleyBatting skills training device
US6648780 *Oct 4, 2000Nov 18, 2003Alexander BoldinTennis training device
US6666781 *Mar 22, 2000Dec 23, 2003Rudolpho IllisBaseball training device
US6821216 *Jan 4, 1999Nov 23, 2004Jan Abraham Van AsseltBall game apparatus
US7300365 *Dec 5, 2005Nov 27, 2007Bradford Carter TaylorAssembly for training hand/eye coordination
US7651417 *Nov 26, 2007Jan 26, 2010Christopher T. SimsAdjustable pitching target
US7819763 *Apr 21, 2005Oct 26, 2010Campbell Steven SBaseball batting trainer
US7955196 *Dec 20, 2002Jun 7, 2011James Sam ConstantBatting training device and method
US20130324330 *Jun 5, 2012Dec 5, 2013Shawn CainTraining apparatus for a pitcher
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/430, 473/426
International ClassificationA63B69/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/0002
European ClassificationA63B69/00B