US 3578323 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventors Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee PORTABLE RUNNING CHUTE 9 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 273/55 Int. Cl A63b 67/00 Field ofSearch 273/55; 272/65 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1941 Noor 4/1939 Mazza 6/1966 Peterson 273/55X 273/55 273/55UX Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown Attorney-Lowe and King ABSTRACT: A training device for runners is provided wherein an elongated framework is positioned above the ground at a height lower than the normal height of the runner so that an extended overhead obstruction is provided. The framework includes crossmembers at spaced intervals and a plurality of resilient crosslines at spaced intervals different from said crossmembers with the latter being at a lower positi on so that a multilevel obstruction is provided to simulate spaced obstacles along the chute. The framework is supported by upright U-shaped stands at each end of the chute that also serve as indicating devices as to the relative position of the overhead obstruction, Further, adjusting means is provided to allow varying the height of the framework for different exercises and different height runners.
PORTABLE RUNNING CIIUTE The present invention relates to athletic training devices and, more particularly, to devices for practice running wherein the runner is trained to keep low with respect to the ground.
In the execution of various running and body contact sports, it is desirable for the players to run in a low or crouched position. For example, in the interior line play of football, it is important that the linemen remain low not only during takeoff but also after passing the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the ball carrier. By running low, the player maintains his center of gravity close to the ground for stability whereby he is less likely to lose his balance upon contact with the opposing linemen. Further, when a player remains in a crouched or low position it is easier to slip underneath the opposing linemen and into the offensive backfield to make the tackle.
In teaching the players this fundamental principle of football line play, it has been found to be highly effective to have the linemen practice running at a height less than their normal height so that they will automatically remain in a crouched position under game conditions. While this basic exercise has proved to be highly satisfactory, there has existed a need for portable chute having an extended overhead obstruction defining a running path through which the players could run while being required to keep low to avoid contact with the obstruction.
Accordingly, it is one object of the present invention to provide a training device that is capable of teaching a runner to keep low along an extended running path.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a running chute having a plurality of cross elements forming a tunnellike chute capable of being mentally impressed upon the runner's mind for recall under game conditions.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a running chute which is portable and with at least a portion of the cross elements of the overhead obstruction being capable of flexure upon contact with the runner for safety.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a running chute which is more versatile in simulating actual conditions and in teaching players desirable head movements during running.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a running chute which is rugged in construction, portable, and capable of easy adjustment.
Briefly summarizing the concepts of the present invention, there is provided a running chute having an elongated framework positioned above the ground at a height less than the normal height of the runner so as to define an overhead obstruction. As the runner negotiates the path beneath the chute, he must avoid the framework which comprises a pair of opposed side members, a plurality of barlike crossmembers and a network of resilient lines connected between the pair of side members. In a first mode of use wherein the running path is along a longitudinal axis of the chute, this is done by remaining in the low or crouched running position from the beginning to the exit of the chute. The total visual effect of the framework to the runner is such as to simulate an extended and continuous tunnel which after some practice is automatically recalled by the player under game conditions to assure that he remains low during takeoff and pursuit, as desired. In a second mode of use, the runners may proceed across the chute rather than along the length thereof, crouching to avoid the framework in the same manner. Provision is made for varying the height of the framework above the ground so that the chute may be adjusted for different degrees of crouched running and for different height groups of runners.
When utilizing the framework in the normal position, the crossmembers extend below the cross lines so that a multilevel obstruction is provided. This construction allows the runner to either proceed directly through the chute with his head lowered a maximum amount so as to avoid contacting the crossmembers or to employ auxiliary head movements during the running, i.e., running in a semicrouched position to avoid the cross lines, with intermittent extended lowering of the head to also avoid the crossmembers. This latter mode of use simulates avoidance of obstacles spaced along the running path and is particularly helpful in teaching football players to avoid opposing linemans anns extended in a blocking position. With this feature, players using the running chute of the present invention quickly learn to alternately raiseand duck their heads between two different restricted heights as required. This use of the running chute also affords practice for the players in teaching the tactic of line play of decoying an opposing lineman to a raised position and the quickly ducking under to gain the necessary freedom to make the play.
Another important feature of the invention is that the framework forming the overhead construction may be inverted to afford less of a height restriction for use by ends and corner men in football practice where less crouching during running is desired. Also, this arrangement is of advantage for younger and less experienced runners and runners without helmets since only the resilient cross lines are thus provided in a position to come in contact with the runner.
The chute of the invention includes a U-shaped support stand at each end with the lower cross bar of each stand resting on the running surface whereas the side bars of the stand extend vertically into supporting relationship with the overhead framework. Preferably, the upper ends of the side bars are curved or turned through toward the framework at each end of the chute thereby spacing the first overhead cross element a predetermined distance from the lower cross bar along the longitudinal axis of the chute. Advantageously, this places the stands just outside the overhead obstruction to signal the runner when to assume the crouched position to avoid the overhead obstruction at the entry end and when it is safe to raise up at the exit end.
Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein we have shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by us of carrying out our invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and. its several details are capable of modification in various obvious respect, all without departing from the invention. .Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a running chute constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one possible setup for use of the chute of FIG. 1 for teaching crouched running to football players;
FIG. 3 is an end view of the chute of the invention but with the upper framework forming the overhead obstruction being inverted from the position of FIG. 1.
Proceeding now to give a more detailed description of the construction of the apparatus of the present invention and the advantages gained thereby, reference can be made to FIGS. 1 and 2 wherein is shown a running chute 10 comprising an elongated framework 11 being supported in horizontal position at opposite ends by U-shaped stands 12, 13. As illustrated the framework 11 is positioned at a height or distance above the ground or other suitable running surface less than the normal height of a person i.e., at an approximate height of between 3 /2 feet to 5 feet. As shown in FIG. 2, the chute 10 is thus particularly adapted to teach a football player or runner P to run at a restricted height or close to the ground. It should be noted at this point, that while the present disclosure thus makes reference to the use of the chute 10 for the training of football players for convenience, it is contemplated that said chute 10 can be equally well utilized for training athletes for other sports, as well as for use in similar training programs, such as for training combat troops to remain low under fire.
In FIG. 1, it can be seen that the elongated framework 11 of the running chute 10 comprises a pair of opposed side members 15, 16 which are interconnected in spaced relationship to each other by a plurality of crossmembers 17, for ease 19. In the embodiment shown, these crossmembers 17-19 are generally U-shaped and depend downwardly from the side members 15, 16 so as to provide three obstacles to the player P at a first or lower level as he negotiates the chute 10, as shown in FIG. 2. The actual number of crossmembers 1719 utilized may be varied as desired; e.g., the final crossmember 19 could be omitted whereby only two lower obstacles would exist. All of the members 19 are preferably made of conventional metal tubing connected together by suitable detachable joints (not shown) for ease of handling and storage.
A plurality of cross lines 20 extend between the side members 15, 16 at spaced intervals different from said crossmembers 17-19 and within the plane defined by said side members 15, 16 to provide a second or upper obstacle level. Each of the lines 20 preferably includes conventional rope, which can, for example, be of the common clothesline variety, and a tension spring 21 to maintain said cross lines 20 in a taut condition and to permit flexure on contact with the player P. Interconnecting in a crisscross fashion with the cross lines 20 is a centerline 22 which runs the full length of the framework 11. The centerline 22 together with said cross lines 20 thus forms a resilient network of lines which comprises an integral part of said framework 11 as the second obstacle level; the height of said level being a predetermined distance above the running surface less than the height of the runner but greater than the height of crossmembers 17ll9.
This feature of a multilevel obstruction is of importance in the consideration of the present invention. Thus, as the player P is proceeding along the chute 10 in FIG. 2, he must first duck under the crossmember l7 whereupon he can proceed along the chute 10 for approximately two strides toward the next crossmember 18 with a relaxation in his crouching i.e., he may raise his head FIG. 2) slightly to the dotted line position H. However, with the cross lines 20 and the centerline 22 forming a network of overhead lines at the second obstacle level, the player P is still maintained in a low position close to the ground as is desired. The player P repeats the ducking procedure for the remainder of the crossmembers 18, 19 to complete the exercise. If the final crossmember 19 is omitted as suggested above, then of course the final two strides may be made'in only the semicrouched position. The multilevel construction of the present invention is thus particularly useful for requiring intermittent extended lowering of the head H of the runner P thereby simulating avoidance of spaced obstacles such as would be presented by the arms of an opposing lineman in a blocking position.
ln addition, the runner P while running between the lower obstructions in the form of crossmembers 17l9 has a chance to obtain a better view forward for such purposes as would be necessary in following the ball carrier under game conditions. However, as before, with the lines 20, 22 in the upper obstructing level the runner P would be prevented from raising toohigh and is thus maintained in the crouched position along the extended length of the chute 10.
The U-shaped strands 12, 13 are particularly designed to support the framework 11 above the ground in a stable condition, and at the same time, due to the tubular construction, are readily compatible with the framework 11. Each of the stands 12, 13 comprises a lower crossbar 30 which is adapted for engagement with the running surface on which the chute 10 is supported and a pair of upstanding side bars 31, 32. The connection between the lower crossbar 30 and the side bars 31, 32 is preferably made through upstanding collars 33, 34 mounted on the lower crossbar 30; each of said collars 33, 34 including a plurality of apertures 35 through which a suitable bolt 36 is attached to lock the respective side bars 31, 32 in the desired adjusted position. As will be clear, this adjustment affords a simple means for varying the height of the framework 11 so that the chute 10 may be adjusted for players of different height or for different exercises so as to insure maximum training results.
The upper ends of the side bars 31, 32 are curved through and extend toward the respective ends of the framework 11. The interconnection of the side bars 31, 32 with the framework 11 is gained through cylindrical connectors 40 having suitable locking pins 41. By this construction, the U- shaped strands 12, 13 extend beyond the ends of the framework 11 and are thus spaced relative to the first and last crossbars 17, 19, respectively, in the direction of the longitudinal axis of said framework 11, which as will now be seen, aids the runner P in his coordination upon entering and exiting said chute 10.
Thus, referring to FIG. 2 as the runner P approaches the entrance to the chute 10 through the strand 12, the crossbar 30 can be used as a visual signal that the first crossbar 17 is being approached whereupon the runner P can duck in the proper manner. Similarly, after completing the run through the chute 10, the sighting of the crossbar 30 of the U-shaped stand 13 signals to the runner P that the last depending crossmember has been passed and that the upright position may be assumed.
As previously suggested and illustrated in FIG. 2, one particularly advantageous use of the running chute 10 has been found to be in training the player or runner P to make contact with a blocking dummy B from the head-on direction indicated by the solid line arrow 50 and then proceed straight ahead in the crouched or low position by negotiating the running chute 10 in the described manner. Such a maneuver is particularly advantageous in teaching the player P who plays in the interior line in football to hit the opposing linemen at the snap of the ball and proceed to the crouched position in pursuit of the ball carrier.
If desired, an additional running chute 10a (FIG. 2) may be used in conjunction with the running chute 10 so as to give the player P the practice of the proper procedure for rapid fire hitting of the blocking dummy B after running in the crouched position and then immediately returning to the crouched position in pursuit of the ball carrier. A representative procedure in such an exercise would be to run crouched along the chute 10a, hit the blocking dummy B, spin through 270 and proceed without hesitation in the crouched position along the running chute 10 (note dashed arrows 51).
In FIG. 3 there is illustrated an alternative embodiment of the chute 10 of the present invention in which the framework 11 has been inverted to position the crossmembers 17-1-9 above the cross lines 20. With this arrangement, only the resilient cross lines 20 are in position to form the overhead obstruction. This means that no rigid members are positioned along the running path which is a desirable safety factor in some cases. For example, this alternative arrangement is particularly adapted for players and runners without helmets, and for younger and less experienced runners since if contact with the framework 11 should be made, the resiliency of the ropes 20, 22 prevent any possibility of injury. After the novice runners have practiced with the arrangement of FIG. 3 a few times, the arrangement of FIG. 1 can then be used to gain additional advantages of the multilevel obstruction. Furthermore, since the overall effective height of the framework 11 has been raised for any given position runner P, shown in phantom in FIG. 3, assumes only a slightly crouched position so that the chute 10 may be negotiated with greater ease and speed and is thereby more adapted for use by ends and corner men in football.
An alternative mode of use of the apparatus of the present invention is shown by phantom line runner and blocking dummy representations in FIG. 2 and involves running crosswise rather than lengthwise of the chute 10a while maintaining the crouched position to avoid contact with the framework 11. Utilizing chute 10a in this way, the runner P is taught the proper procedure for a low takeoff coupled with an immediate block on the opposing lineman. This can be done by advancing straight ahead in the direction of the arrow 52 to hit the directly opposite blocking dummy B, or by crossing over and blocking in the direction of arrow 53 to the dummy B, which is a simulation of trap blocking. ln executing the former of these two exercises, the runner P" must clear the side members 15, 16 as well as the lines 20, 22 which together thus form an extended obstruction across the full width of the chute a. lri the execution of the latter or cross blocking exercise, it will be clear that the runner P" must also duck to avoid the crossmember 18 thus adding the extra dimension of obstacle avoidance afforded by' the multilevel obstruction. Furthermore, it will be realized that the crossmember 18 can be used to effectively form a dividing line between adjacent linemen positions so that an additional runner or player (not shown) can simultaneously practice this mode of use by using the blocking dummy B" for straight ahead blocking while the runner P is practicing the same straight ahead blocking exercise on the blocking dummy B. Also, when two runners are thus lined up for simultaneous practice, cross or trap blocking may be executed with the runners having to properly time their takeoff ,to avoid contact with each other as they pass beneath the crossmember l8.
Summarizing in brief, the chute 10, 10a of the present invention thus provides an apparatus which may easily erected and positioned and which is particularlyadapted for teaching runners to stay low while running. The provision of a multilevel construction increases the effectiveness of the chute 10, 10a in training football players in particular since the lower obstructions simulate the blocking arms of opposing linemen which can thus be learned to be avoided. Further, the novel stand means which supports the framework at the required height above the ground also serves in one mode of use as a means for signaling the player upon entry and exit from the chute regarding the relative positions of the obstruction.
ln this disclosure, there is shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, but, as aforementioned, it is to be understood that the inventionis capable of various changes or modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed by the accompanying claims,
We claim: i
l. A running chute for use by a runner the height of a normal size adult to practice keeping close to the running surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, crossmembers at spaced intervals for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, stand means for supporting said framework at a sufficient height above said running surface to allow a runner the height of a normal size adult to run underneath but lower than the normal height of the runner so that said framework forms an extended overhead obstruction whereby said runner must staylow while running through said chute, a plurality of cross lines extending between said side members at spaced intervals, said cross lines extending within the space between said crossmembers and including resilient means to keep the same in taut condition and to permit flexure upon contact with said runner.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein is further provided a centerline crisscrossing at midpoints with said cross lines to runner thereby simulating avoidance of spaced obstacles during use.
5. The combination of claim 1 wherein said cross lines are positioned at different intervals than said crossmembers.
6. A running chute for use by a runner the height of a normal size adult to run across said chute to practice keeping close to the running surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, crossmembers at s aced intervals and positioned above said surface at a differentievel from said side members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said crossmembers presenting a multilevel obstruction with said side members and forming a dividing line between adjacent runner positions, said crossmembers depending from said side members to form an obstruction and divider extending below said side members, stand means for supporting said framework at a sufficient height above said running surface to allow a runner the height of a normal size adult to run underneath but lower than the normal height of the runner so that said framework fonns an extended overhead obstruction whereby said runner must stay low while running across said chute.
7. The combination of claim 6 wherein said stand means includes an upright U-shaped support at each end of said chute, each support comprising a lower crossbar for positioning on said running surface, upstanding side bars terminating at an upper end, and means for connecting the upper end of said side bars to said side members.
8. The combination of claim 7 wherein said upper ends of said side bars are curved through substantially and extend toward said framework, the first of-said crossmembersand said cross lines being spaced relative to said crossbar in the direction of the longitudinal axis of said framework to aid the coordination of said runner upon entering and exiting said chute.
9. The combination of claim 7 wherein is provided means for adjusting said side bars with respect to said crossbar whereby to provide an adjustment for the height of said framework.