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Publication numberUS3825257 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 23, 1974
Filing dateOct 19, 1973
Priority dateOct 19, 1973
Publication numberUS 3825257 A, US 3825257A, US-A-3825257, US3825257 A, US3825257A
InventorsG Palmer
Original AssigneeG Palmer
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for practicing basketball throws
US 3825257 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Palmer APPARATUS FOR PRACTICING BASKETBALL THROWS [76] Inventor: George L. Palmer, Box 1316,

Sheridan Lake, Colo. 81071 [22] Filed: Oct. 19, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 407,915

[52] US. Cl. 273/l.5 A, 273/102.2 R, 273/103 [51] Int. Cl A631) 63/02 [58] Field of Search 273/1.S A, 95 R, 102.2 R,

2711/1022 A, 102.1 R, 102.1 B, 102.1 C, 102

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,700,546 1/1955 Glassen, Jr 273/102.2 A 2,710,754 6/1955 Varney 273/l02.2 R X 2,951,704 9/1960 Neiler 273/102.2 R X July 23, 1974 3,561,762 2/1971 Russell 273/103 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Shapiro Attorney, Agent, or FirmVan Valkenburgh, Lowe & Law

57 ABSTRACT The invention is a basketball practice apparatus which combines a backboard and an outstanding shelf at the base of the backboard. This unit may be mounted against a wall or upon a post at any suitable height. Tripping switches at selected locations on this shelf will actuate light or sound signals to indicate that a basketball tossed against the practice apparatus is accurately thrown. The practice apparatus may be marked in any suitable manner to help a player aim a basketball against'the apparatus.

9 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FOR PRACTICING BASKETBALL THROWS This invention relates to game practice devices and more particularly to an apparatus for practicing basketball throws. As such, the invention will be hereinafter referred to as an apparatus for practicing basketball throws, or simply, a practice apparatus. A good basketball player will spend a great deal of time in the practice of throwing basketball goals and this becomes an important exercise for students in a gym class or for other groups of persons interested in basketball. No problem will arise when only a few players are using a basketball court. However, when or individuals, such as the students of a gym class, are using the court at the same time, overcrowding will result. Usually, some of the group will want to play a reg ular game of basketball while others will prefer to practice throwing basketball goals. Thus, the two basketball goal structures of a court will be inadequate for the needs of such a large group of individuals.

Another problem can arise in connection with basketball games, especially in grammar school. The standard basketball goal, 10 feet above the floor of a gymnasium, can be too high for beginner players, that is, young boys or girls, who are simply not tall enough to effectively throw a basketball into the standard goal.

The two problems outlined above demonstrate a need for an apparatus which may supplement a standard basketball goal structure and the present invention was conceived and developed with such and other considerations in view. The invention comprises, in es.- sence, a practice apparatus formed as an L-shaped unit which combines an upright backboard and a shelf outstanding from the backboard. This backboard-shelf unit may be hung from a wall or a post at any desired height for practicing basketball throws. To use the apparatus, a basketball may be thrown directly onto the shelf or it may be thrown against the backboard to bounce onto the shelf. As such, the apparatus can simulate a conventional basketball goal structure and it can be used in lieu of such. To further the analogy between the practice apparatus and a conventional basketball goal structure, the shelf may be marked to indicate a goal ring. Finally, the shelf is provided with a suitable signal device which will operate to tell a player whether or not he is dropping the basketball at a proper position upon the shelf, for not every throw which bounces onto the shelf will necessarily be an accurately placed throw.

It follows that an object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus for practicing basketball throws which may be used in lieu of a conventional basketball goal structure either for practice or for the playing of a basketball game.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus for practicing basketball throws which may be easily hung on a wall or upon a post at any desired height to suit the players.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus for practicing basketball throws which may be used in school gymnasiums and the like to supplement the available basketball facilities whenever said facilities are inadequate to accommodate the number of students using the gymnasium at one time.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus for practicing basketball throws which indicates, visually and/or audibly, accurate throw of the basketball into the shelf of the apparatus.

Other objects of the invention are to provide a novel and improved apparatus for practicing basketball throws which is a versatile, low cost, neat-appearing, easily installed unit and which can help a player to improve his accuracy and his techniques in the handling of a basketball.

With the foregoing and other objects in view, all of which more fully hereinafter appear, my invention comprises certain constructions, combinations and arrangements of parts and elements as hereinafter described, defined in the appended claims and illustrated in preferred embodiment by the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the apparatus for practicing basketball throws mounted upon a wall and a player holding a basketball preliminary to throwing it onto the apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the apparatus,

with broken lines indicating various slopes the shelf surface of the apparatus may assume;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the apparatus as taken from the indicated arrow 3 at FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 2, but illustrating various positions which a basketball may assume when it is striking the shelf of the apparatus;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional detail as taken from the indicated line 5-5 at FIG. 3, but on a greatly enlarged scale; and

FIG. 6 is a representative circuit diagram of the apparatus which uses a light and a buzzer to indicate an accurate throw.

Referring more particularly to the drawings, the improved practice apparatus is formed as an L-shaped member having a backboard B and a shelf S outstanding from the base of the board. The size of this apparatus may vary considerably but the width and height of the backboard B are preferably approximately 24 inches while the projection of the shelf is preferably approximately 18 inches. As such, this backboard B is much smaller than the backboard of a conventional basketball goal while the shelf does not extend outwardly from the backboard as far as a conventional basketball goal ring might extend from its backboard. Suitable proportions for the apparatus are indicated at FIG. 4 which shows a basketball G upon the shelf S; however, it is to be emphasized that such proportions can be changed without departing from the principles of .the present invention.

The backboard B is a flat, plate-like member of any suitable material, such as a moderately heavy plywood. It is generally rectangular in form with the area above 'the shelf being nearly square. This backboard may be The shelf S is formed as a box-like member, its rear end abutting against the backboard. This shelf includes a sloping upper surface 15, side walls 16 and a front end wall 17. This underside of the box-like shelf S may be enclosed at the bottom plate 18 which is preferably removable to provide access to circuits and components within the shelf. The sloping upper surface 15 is illustrated as extending outwardly and downwardly from the backboard B at an angle of approximately l from the horizontal. This shelf slope was found to be important to permit a basketball to be more effectively deflected from the shelf and, also, to be seen by players. It was found that the shelf slope could vary somewhat but that it was undesirable to have a slope flatter than 5 or steeper than 30. The surface of the shelf can be finished with various designs such as a center strip 19 and an arch 20 as shown at FIG. 1. These markings are to provide a target for accurate shooting whenever a players position is such that he can see this shelf surface 15. l I

The manner in which this practice apparatus will be used is analogous to the use of a conventional basketball goal. In using the practice apparatus, a player will shoot the basketball upwardly against the backboard B letting it bounce onto the shelf S or he will lob the ball onto the shelf S directly. An electrically actuated indicator, as hereinafter described in detail, is provided at the shelf S to indicate to the player whether or not he has thrown the ball accurately and in a manner which will permit it to strike a selected location on the shelf S. The indicator apparatus will indicate only properly placed throws, which may be considered as being analogous to throwing a basketball into a conventional basketball goal ring. For example, in using a conventional basketball goal, the ball may first hit the backboard and bounce therefrom and then drop into the ring or it may drop directly into the ring without hitting the backboard. The analogous result is obtained with this practice device and whenever the ball is properly dropped or bounced onto the shelf S, to actuate the indicator to tell the player that he has made a proper shot. The indicator will include electrical circuits to light lights or sound a buzzer.

As shown by the drawing, the indicator apparatus includes a pair of lights 25 at the front wall 17 and a buzzer 26 at any convenient position as upon a side wall 16. These lights 25 and the buzzer 26 are actuated by switches 27 which are placed in parallel in a-common circuit lead 28. The switches 27 are located at'selected positions on the shelf S. It has been found that the two preferred switch positions are at the center line of the shelf as best shown in the drawing at FIGS. 1 and 3. Accordingly, if a'basketball is thrown againstthe backboard B to bounce upon the shelf, or is thrown upon the shelf S in a manner as to strike and close one of the switches 27, the ball hasbeen thrown correctly to obtain a basket or a point.

The basketball can close either or both switches simultaneously and the two switches are spaced on the shelf to obtain this resulLReferring to FIG. 4, the solid line showing of the ball indicates the position the basketball will assume when both switches are operated simultaneously while dash line outlines of the ball indicate positions the ball may assume to operate one of the switches. In a conventional basketball goal, a basketball may strike the lower part of the backboard adjacent to the goal ring and the edge of the goal ring.

When this occurs, the basketball will not fall through the goal ring but it will bounce away. Such a position of the ball is shown at FIG. 4 in dotted lines. When the basketball strikes both the backstop and the shelf, the ball bounces away from the practice apparatus without touching a switch 27.

The electrical components and the electrical circuit for this apparatus are shown at FIGS. 5 and 6. It is to be noted that such components are easily obtainable members which can be interconnected by various circuits depending upon the results desired and the nature of an available power source. One of the lights 25 is shown at FIG. 5 as a simple, conventional type includ ing a cup-shaped housing 29 which fits in an orifice 30 in the front wall 17 of the shelf. This housing is closed by a lens 31 which is preferably resilient to avoid breaking and is colored as to attract attention whenever the light goes on. A bulb 32 is mounted in a socket 33 at the back of the housing 29. The leads of an electrical circuit 34 extend from this socket to a battery 35 or any other suitable power source.

Each switch 27 is a plunger type switch which closes whenever the plunger 36 is depressed. This plunger 36 is a cylindrical member which is slidably mounted in a socket sleeve 37 in the upper surface 15 of the shelf. It is to be noted that this plunger 36 of the switch 27 must be of a construction capable of taking a substantial amount of abuse to withstand the effects of a basketball being constantly thrown upon it. The plunger 36 is provided with an enlarged head 38 at its base and a spring 39 pushes against to help the plunger 36 at its upwardly extended position so that it may be momentarily depressed whenever it ishit by a basketball.

Theplunger 36 is associated with an electrical switch means such as microswitch 39, having its actuating finger 40 alongside the plunger to deflect and close its circuit as soon as the plunger 36 moves downwardly a short distance. The circuit lead 28 of each microswitch is connected to the other in parallel with the other as heretofore described.

The circuitry for the switches 27, the lights 25 and the buzzer 26 may be varied depending uponthe type of electrical power available. The circuit of FIG. 6 is illustrative of a circuit which may be used. The circuit lead 28, which includes switches 27, also includes a relaycoil 41 and extends to opposite poles of the battery 35 or other power source. Whenever a switch 27 is closed, the relay 41' is energized. The switch 27 closes only momentarily because a basketball will bounce from the shelf almost as soon as it lands upon the shelf. However, this momentary impulse will energize the relay 38 sufficiently to pull an armature 42 connected to a timer 43.

The timer 43 mechanically closes its associated switch 44 for a limited period of time, say, for example, five seconds. The switch 44 is in the circuit loop 34,

lected time interval, such as 5 seconds, to turn on the lights 25 and at the same time to actuate the buzzer 26. This feature enables the player to tell whether or not he threw the ball in such a manner as to trip a switch 20 before making another thrown.

A number of variations are possible in the present invention. For example, more than two switches 27 may be provided on the upper surface 14 of the shelf and such an additional switch 20a is shown in dotted lines at FIG. I. Also, it is contemplated that the circuitry of the apparatus could include refinements without departing from the invention. For example, a counter, not shown, could be incorporated to add up the number of correct throws a player might make.

What is claimed is: l. A basketball practice apparatus for use with a standard basketball to improve theaccuracy of a players throw, the practice apparatus comprising:

a. backboard means having mounting means for attaching the backboard means to a vertical object at a suitable height above a playing surface to simulate a standard basketball goal, I

b. a flat planar shelf means attached to a lower portion of said backboard means and extending outwardly from said backboard means at a downwardly tilted angle, and 1 c. signalling means havingswitch means positioned at a predetermined location on the surface of said shelf means whereby said basketball when accurately thrown will engage the switch means to signal the player.

2. A basketball practice apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein:

said switch means is located on a line parallel to and equal distance from the sides of said shelf means, and the location of said switch means on said line is located to simulate the opening in a basketball goal.

3. A basketball practice apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein:

said switch means includes two switches, one switch is provided at a point near the outer edge of said shelf means and the second switch is spaced inwardly along said center line to represent the inner edge of the simulated basketball goal.

4. A basketball practice apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein:

said switch means includes a plunger biased upwardly to extend above the surface of such shelf means and an electrical switch is positioned adjacent to the downward path of said plunger whereby an electric signalling circuit is closed when the plunger is depressed into the surface of said shelf means. v 5. A basketball practice apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein:

said signalling means includes a self-contained electrical power source interconnected by an electrical circuit through said switch means to a buzzer and light indicating means whereby as the switch means is closed the buzzer and light means is activated, and a timer means is included in the electrical circuit to maintain the buzzer and light indicator means in operation for a predetermined time interval after said switch means is opened. 6. A basketball practice apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein:

the angle at which said shelf means is tilted downwardly from said backboard is arranged to permit the basketball to bounce outwardly from said device to return to the player to permit repeated practice throws.

of 5 to 15 from the horizontal.

Referenced by
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U.S. Classification473/435, 273/374
International ClassificationA63B63/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B63/00, A63B24/0021, A63B2024/0037
European ClassificationA63B63/00, A63B24/00E