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Publication numberUS3731925 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 8, 1973
Filing dateMay 26, 1971
Priority dateMay 26, 1971
Publication numberUS 3731925 A, US 3731925A, US-A-3731925, US3731925 A, US3731925A
InventorsCaldwell J
Original AssigneeCaldwell J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Batting practice device
US 3731925 A
Abstract
A batting practice device for use by a person skilled in the art of coaching and training a youngster how to stand at home plate, how to keep his eyes on a real baseball which is caused to sweep in varying paths (high, low, and otherwise) across the plate, how to time his batting swing and, also how to acquire the feel of batting the ball. It comprises a suitably elongated hollow barrel through which a flexible nylon or similar tethering line is slidingly threaded. This barrel provides a line stabilizing and whirling holder designated as a control stick. A regular baseball is captively mounted on the outward end of the line. A first handgrip is provided on the inward end. A second spring biased handgrip is slidingly mounted on the flanged inner end of the barrel. These handgrips, when properly grasped and used, will enable the user to swing the tethered ball in a circular path and to deliver the ball to the wary but eager batter.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent I19] Caldwell 145} May 8, 1973 154] BATTING PRACTICE DEVICE [76] Inventor: Jack N. Caldwell, 1500 Holly Avenue, Merritt Island, Fla. 32952 22 Filed: May 26, 1971 I 21 Appl.No.: 147,130

[52] US. Cl ..273/26 E, 273/58 C [51] Int. Cl. ..A63b 69/40 [58] Field of Search ..273/25, 26 E, 95 A,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,947,108 ,8/1960 Dodd, Jr ..46/5l X 1,915,868 5/1933 Rogers 2,606,025 8/1952 Homing 3,166,317 1/1965 Tumelson ..273/26 E Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Assistant Exqminen-Theatrice Brown Attorney-Clarence A. OBrien and Harvey B. Jacobson ABSTRACT A batting practice device for use by a person skilled in the art of coaching and training a youngster how to stand at home plate, how to keep his eyes on a real baseball which is caused to sweep in varying paths (high, low, and otherwise) across the plate, how to time his batting swing and, also how to acquire the feel of batting the ball. It comprises a suitably elongated hollow barrel through which a flexible nylon or similar tethering line is slidingly threaded. This barrel provides a line stabilizing and whirling holder designated as a control stick. A regular baseball is captively mounted on the outward end of the line. A first handgrip is provided on the inward end. A second spring biased handgrip is slidingly mounted on the flanged inner end of the barrel. These handgrips, when properly grasped and used, will enable the user to swing the tethered ball in a circular path and to deliver the ball to the wary but eager batter.

7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures BATTING PRACTICE DEVICE This invention relates to a batting practice device which while usable whenever and wherever space is conveniently desirable, is expressly designed and adapted to be used on a little leaguers baseball field and preferably by a coach or skilled trainer when he is called upon to teach wary and untrained youngsters the art of standing up to and batting a real baseball.

The herein disclosed batting practice and training device lends itself primarily to outdoors use where an adequate area or space is available and pertains to a simple, practical and economical manually usable device through the medium of which an appointed coach or acceptably skilled trainer can teach a prospective little leaguer or any aspiring youngster how to stand up at the plate, keep his eyes on a ball in flight, how to develop coordination and timing, how to judge good and bad balls and, what is equally significant, to acquire the feel of the bat at the time it strikes the illusive in-motion ball.

It is a matter of common knowledge that captive and tethered balls of one type or another and which are whirled through a changeable path of travel are not new. It follows that an object of the instant concept is to provide an adaptation which is characterized by manipulatable handgrips and which, when successfully handled enable the user of the device to serve or deliver the captive but flying ball in a safe and controllable manner to achieve the teaching and training results desired.

Briefly, the innovation herein revealed comprises, broadly stated, a batting practice and training device for youngsters who are, perhaps for the first time, learning to hold a bat and whack a real baseball. The implement preferred is characterized by an elongated hollow barrel of prescribed length one purpose of which is to serve as a line holding, handling and captive ball controlling stick and which has a free whirlable or swingable outer end and a hand-held manipulatable inward or inner end. A captive-type baseball, for example a real baseball, is replaceably attached to the swingable outer end of a tethering line in one manner or another, that is a line of requisite strength, flexibility and variably controllable length. The baseball is suspended and capable of being swung when the line is whirled through a circular path, that is a path in a plane above the head of the user and wherein the ball and controlling stick can be safely managed by the coach or other user. A median portion of the line is threaded and shiftably slidable through the hollow portion of the controlling stick and, in addition, the inner end portion of the line extends through and beyond the inner end of the stick. A first wooden or equivalent and suitably proportioned handgrip is carried by the inner end portion of the line and this grip-equipped portion of the line can be slid toward and from an adjacent inward or rearward end of the controlling stick. This grip is held in one hand of the user. A sleeve surrounds and is mounted on an inward end portion of the control stick. A second handgrip, which is controllable by the other hand, is mounted on an inner end portion of the sleeve and is adapted to be grasped and controllably held by the selected hand of the user. The stick is accordingly slidable in the bore of the sleeve.

A more specific feature is that wherein the gripequipped sleeve has an end which is cooperable with a coil spring, that is a spring which surrounds an inner flanged end of the barrel and which provides the desired cushioning and shock-absorbing result.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of a batting practice device constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention and showing the same readied for use.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view showing all of the component parts and the construction and contemplated relationship thereof.

FIG. 3 is a central longitudinal sectional view through the device with certain of the component parts omitted for clearness of illustration.

FIG. 4 is a cross section taken approximately on the plane of the vertical line 44 of FIG. 3 looking in the direction of the indicating arrows.

And FIG. 5 is a cross section through a modified baseball which can be used in lieu of the one illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

Referring first to FIG. 2 it will be seen that the numeral 8 designates the elongated hollow barrel, pipe, or tube. This tube is preferably referred to as a hollow barrel of prescribed length and constitutes a line holding, handling, stabilizing and control or controlling stick. It may be made of requisite length and material and the inward end thereof is provided with an integral outstanding flange ltl which constitutes a limit stop shoulder. The outward or forward end portion 12 is provided with an end cap 14 which is retentively fitted in place as perhaps best shown in FIG. 3. This cap is centrally provided with an axial neck 16 which con stitutes a bushing and which is fitted telescopingly into the end portion 12 and serves as a guide for that portion of the tethering line 18 which is slidingly passed therethrough. This guide is intended to minimize chafing and to resist wear and tear on the freely shiftable and slidable tethering line, for example, a line made of tough nylon. An intermediate portion of this barrel, that is, the portion 20 is provided with paired longitudinally spaced bolt holes 22. These holes serve to accommodate a screw-threaded headed bolt 24 which is screwed into a complemental headed socket member 26. This bolt is selectively positionable (FIG. 3) and serves as an adjustable limit stop. Thus there is a fixed stop 10 at one end of the tubing or barrel and adjustable stop means 24 and 26 which is detachably and adjustably located on the intermediate portion of the barrel.

The aforementioned sleeve is denoted generally by the numeral 28 and comprises the sleeve proper 30 which is of requisite length and cross section and is slidable back and forth on the barrel. Stated otherwise, the barrel is slidable through the sleeve 28 when the sleeve is held in one hand of the user. This is best accomplished by providing the inner end portion 32 of the sleeve with a suitable handgrip 34 having a flange 36. With the construction and arrangement shown it will be evident that the outward or forward end portion 38 of the sleeve is engageable with the adjustable limit stop means 24 and 26. The flange 36 on the handgrip abuts and can be united with the complemental flange 37 on the sleeve 30. The aforementioned resilient shock-absorbing and cushioning means comprises a coil spring 40 of requisite tensile strength which surrounds the portion of the barrel or tubing shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. The coil spring is thus interposed between the flanges l and 37 and accomplishes the desired cushioning and shock-absorbing result when the device is being used.

The wooden or equivalent handgrip, referred to herein as the first handgrip is denoted by the numeral 42 and is provided with a bore for passage of the cooperating end portion 44 of the line as shown in FIG. 1 and if desired a wear resisting washer 46 may be fastened to the forward end portion of the handgrip 42. It is within the purview of the invention to secure the handgrip to the line in any suitable manner such as by tying a knot therein as at 48.

The captive ball, a regular baseball, is provided on the forward or outward end portion 50 and is connected to the line-end by washers S2 and 54 which in turn are held in place by nuts or the like as at 56 and 58. The ball (FIGS. 1 and 2) is designated by the numeral 60.

It is within the purview of the invention to employ an alternative ball of the type shown at 62 in FIG. which has a line hole therethrough as at 64 and which is provided at its ends with recesses 66. These recesses will serve to accommodatingly seat the washer and nutequipped portions of the line (not detailed).

When the coach or instructor desires to serve or deliver an outside curve he will, according to his experience, rotate the control stick in an are over his head and as the ball is traveling around in a circle he will pull down on the ball control handle the distance desired to achieve the break wanted. For an inside curve as the control stick is rotated in an are over the head the ball is allowed to travel in a circle, that is a circular path during which it is necessary to hold down on the ball control handle the distance wanted for the break desired and as the ball approaches home plate it is payed out or properly released using the two handgrips (not detailed). For a fast ball it is necessary to increase the speed of the control stick to the extent desired. Alternatively a slow ball can be thrown by decreasing the speed of the control stick to the desired extent. It is also possible to throw or deliver a drop ball and as a matter of fact, a screw ball. it seems unnecessary, however, to dwell upon these ever varying aspects of the use of the device inasmuch as the essence of the invention has to do with the structure, that is, the construction of the component parts, the manner in which they cooperate, and the manner in which a skillful user can utilize the same after trial and error.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

What is claimed as new is as follows:

1. A batting practice and training device comprising, in combination, an elongated hollow barrel constituting a line holding, handling and controlling stick and having a freely whirlable outward end and a hand-held manipulatable inward end, a captive baseball, a tethering line having an outward end secured to and for suspending and swinging said baseball in a circular path in a plane above the head of the user of said device, a median portion threaded and shiftably slidable through the hollow portion of said controlling stick and an inner end portion extending through and beyond the inner end of said stick, a first handgrip carried by the inner end portion of said line and adapted to be grasped and controllably used in one hand of the user, a sleeve surrounding and mounted on an inward portion of said stick, a second handgrip mounted on an inner end portion of said sleeve and adapted to be grasped and controllably held by the other hand of the user, said stick being shiftably slidable in the bore of said sleeve, said sleeve being elongated but of a length appreciably less than the length of said barrel, and resilient cushioning and shock absorbing means operatively mounted on an inner end portion of said barrel and cooperable with an inner end portion of said sleeve.

2. The batting practice device defined in and according to claim 1, and wherein the inner end portion of said barrel is provided with a flange constituting a first limit stop shoulder, the inner end of said sleeve being likewise provided with a similar flange constituting a second limit stop shoulder, said cushioning and shock absorbing means comprising a coil spring of prescribed tension encircling an inner end portion of said barrel and interposed between and having its endmost coils abutting the respectively cooperable first and second limit stop shoulders.

3. The batting practice device defined in and according to claim 2, and wherein a median portion of said barrel is provided with longitudinally adjustable abutment means which provides a third limit stop shoulder and with which a forward terminal end of said sleeve is engageable in a manner to check and stop the forward sliding movement of the sleeve relative to said barrel.

4. The batting practice device defined in and according toclaim 3, and wherein the forward terminal end of said barrel is fitted with a cap, said cap having an axial bushing telescoping into the hollow bore of said barrel and providing an anti-chafing and wear resisting guide, and a portion of said line being threaded slidingly through said bushing and the complemental bore of said barrel.

5. The batting practice device defined in and according to claim 4, and wherein said baseball is replaceably mounted on the outward end of said tethering line, and said first handgrip is replaceably mounted on the inner end portion of said tethering line.

6. A batting practice and training device comprising a rigid elongated hollow barrel constituting and usable as a control stick and having an outer end and an inner end, a cap attached to and closing the outer end, said cap being provided with an axial neck, said neck projecting telescopically into the bore of the barrel and providing a guide bushing, said barrel being provided at an inward end with an outstanding lateral flange providing a limit stop shoulder, limit stop means operatively mounted on an intermediate portion of said barre], a sleeve surrounding and slidable on the barrel between said limit stop means and the aforementioned limit stop shoulder, one end of said sleeve being adapted to abut said limit stop means, a handgrip carried by an inner end portion of and surrounding and affixed to said sleeve, a coil spring encircling and retained on an inner end portion of the barrel, and a flexible tethering line having a forward end portion, a rearward end portion, and a median portion, said median portion being slidable through said bushing and through the bore of said barrel and beyond the inner end of the barrel, a captive baseball fastened on the free outward end of said tethering line, and a handgrip fastened on the inward end of said line.

and renewably mounted on the inner end portion of said line.

Patent Citations
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US2947108 *Feb 5, 1958Aug 2, 1960Dodd Jr William OCentrifugal flying toy
US3166317 *May 31, 1962Jan 19, 1965Evelyn TumelsonBatting practice and training device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/424
International ClassificationA63B69/00, A01K15/02, A01K15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA01K15/025, A63B69/0088
European ClassificationA01K15/02C, A63B69/00T2D