US 3833217 A
A practice sleeve having an elongated V-shaped trough configuration which is slipped over a conventional baseball bat and prevents the ball from going any great distance, due to its V shape, if the ball comes in contact with the sleeve in anything but direct center. The sleeve also absorbs the greater part of the energy from a pitched ball when it strikes dead center preventing the ball from going any considerable distance. The sleeve also forces the player to swing the bat in a direct equal plane.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Sept. 3, 1974 Greaney PRACTICE SLEEVE  Inventor: Daniel F. Greaney, 85 Chesbrough St., West Roxbury, Mass. 02134 22 Filed: July 11, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 378,315
Primary -ExaminerAnt0n O. Oechsle Assistant ExaminerTheatrice Brown [5 7] ABSTRACT A practice sleeve having an elongated V-shaped trough configuration which is slipped over a conventional baseball bat and prevents the ball from going any great distance, due to its V shape, if the ball comes in contact with the sleeve in anything but direct center. The sleeve also absorbs the greater part of the energy from a pitched ball when it strikes dead center preventing the ball from going any considerable distance. The sleeve also forces the player to swing the bat in a direct equal plane.
4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PRACTICE SLEEVE This invention relates to practice sleeves and more particularly to sleeves which enable players to practice batting baseballs in small confined areas.
The game of baseball requires a rather large playing field and a substantial number of players. When the ball is pitched the player strikes the ball, which is a hard ball, with a very hard bat causing the ball to travel quite a few feet. In playing the game the large field is appropriate, however in practice the large playing field is not available to most youths. Moreover if the ball field were available there probably would not be enough players who could run after the ball and retrieve it. Accordingly some device which could be slipped over the bat and enable the ball player to hit the ball with all of his force just as he would in a game, yet prevent the ball from traveling any excessive distance would be greatly desired.
Many special bats have been advanced which prevent the ball from traveling any great distance and many specialized balls have also been advanced which are light and can not be hit any great distance. However both these bats and balls do not provide the practice for the pitcher or the man at bat in any way near what he will encounter in an actual baseball game. The present invention meets all of the requirements of safety and provides the exact duplicate of what you will encounter in the actual playing of a baseball game while preventing the ball from traveling any great distances.
Another requirement in the practice of hitting baseballs is to force the player to swing the bat through a given plane such that when it comes in contact with the ball it will send it the maximum amount of distance in a prescribed direction so that it will not go on either side of the foul line. The present invention causes the ball to pop fly or become a dead grounder if it is not hit precisely in a given plane. Therefore the ballplayer knows if he is swinging through the required are by the response the ball makes immediately. Therefore the present invention provides an additional educational input to the student enabling him to prevent the development of an improper swing, or alternatively provide him with the necessary feel for corrective action if he has an improper swing already.
The prior art devices did not and can not provide the feel that one encounters in an actual game. Sometimes weights are added to the bat to-enable the player to swing the bat around with the additional weight such that when he does get to the batters box and removes the weight it will feel much lighter such that he will have more accurate control over the bat. The present invention provides a slight bit of weight, but does not provide such a great amount that will alter the players swing as he removes the practice sleeve and actually presents himself to the ball in an actual game. However the slight additional weight does enable the player to feel more confident without the sleeve after he has used it a great deal then with it thus further improving his game after utilizing the present invention.
Therefore an object of the present invention is to provide a practice sleeve for baseball bats. Another object of the present invention is to provide a practice sleeve which corrects the swing of players.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an attachment for bats which prevents baseballs from going any great distance.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a weight attachment to baseball bats which enable the player to feel more control over the bat.
Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood from the following specifications especially when read in conjunction with the attached drawings of which:
FIG. 1 is a player swinging a bat with a practice sleeve.
FIG. 2 is an end view of a bat with a sleeve on it and a baseball heading toward it.
FIG. 3 is a practice sleeve from a perspective view.
FIG. 4 is an end view of the practice sleeve with the various points of impact of baseballs on it.
Referring now to FIG. 1 we see a baseball player 11 swinging a bat 13, this bat has a practice sleeve 12 on it.
Referring now to FIG. 2 we see the end view of the bat the baseball player is swinging. The ball 15 is directed' at the V tip 19 of the practice sleeve 12. Shock cord 20 extends from one end of the practice sleeve to the other end and holds the practice sleeve against the bat very tightly.
Referring now to FIG. 3 we see the practice sleeve 12 and two shock cords 20 and 21 this enables the practice sleeve to fit very snugly onto the bat where it is of different diameters at its top and neck. The shock cord takes up this difference.
Referring now to FIG. 4 we see that the ball if it deviates at all from the dead center of the bat it will in one case pop fly indicated by arrow 21 or become a dead grounder 22.
In either event the ball is easily retrieved by the players because it will not travel very far, however best of all it will indicate to the person swinging the hat that he has not caused the bat to swing in the arc which would line directly up with the ball such that he would in normal game get a piece of the ball and cause it to travel such a distance so that he would be able to get a home run.
On the other hand if the ball does strike as arrow 23 shows tip of the V 19 then the practice sleeve will compress as shown by 24 causing the shock cords to strech out and most of the energy that the ball had is absorbed and accordingly if the ball bounces off of the bat it will only go a few feet and drop to the ground. If the practice sleeve had not beer? attached to the bat none of this energy would have been absorbed and the ball and it would be translated into motion and the ball would go several hundred feet if hit that hard.
It can be seen then that the device forces the ball player to swing the bat in and are which lines up with the pitched ball such that the ball invariably hits a specific point on the bat and that point only. The baseball bat has a rounded blunted surface so accordingly the ball can actually hit upper or lower sections of the arc and still go fairly straight on. But, with the practice sleeve the point of the plane to which the bat swings is very pronounced. Accordingly a slight deviation causes the ball to pop fly or to become dead grounded. On the other hand when the ball hits the V of such material that it compresses from a very hard impact and causes the energy to be distributed along the surface and dissipated as friction between the V and the bat and in the shock cord.
The material which the practice sleeve is made out of is preferably a heavy sturdy plastic of a number of varities, however if it is'fiberglass reinforced it is even better. The material should be approximately A inch in order to best absorb the energy of a baseball. The shock cords and 21 can be of the /8 inch variety of elastic materials. It can also be made of springs such that they expand and absorb energy when the ball is hit by the bat at the same time they keep the practice sleeve in close contact at all times and prevent it from sliding off of the bat. The practice sleeve could be varied considerably in shape, however the essence of the invention calls for a V shape together with some elastic connection which keeps the practice sleeve in close contact with the bat preventing it from sliding off when the bat is swung and moreover absorbs energy when the baseball compresses the plastic.
It will be seen that if the ball only hits the bat with a small amount of energy, the practice sleeve will not be compressed and therefore the ball will not give up its energy. However such a lightly thrown ball does not have sufficient energy to create a problem in any event. However when a substantial amount of energy is put into the ball and the player swings the bat with sufficient force then the V will compress entirely absorbing most of the energy in the ball. There is obvious a point Where the batter and the baseball combine more energy than can be absorbed. However this is judiciously fixed by having a stiff enough plastic such that this point is far beyond the average players capacity where no problem will be presented in having the ball go more then or feet with the strongest pitcher and batter combinatiomTherefore this invention can be used in back yards by players who wish to practice with only one other player the pitcher. ltis seen therefore to be an excellent practice device for teaching one to swing the bat properly at the same time it enables them to do it in their back yard with safety and without the necessity of additional players. v
Although I have described by invention with reference to specific apparatus 1 do not wish to be confined thereby. I wish only to be limited by the appended claims of which:
1. A baseball practice device comprising a sleeve in combination with a bat, said sleeve comprising: a pair of elongated substantially rectangular shaped planar members joined together along a lengthwise side to form a'narrow yieldable edge with said members diverging outwardly from said edge in a substantially V- shaped configuration, holding means for attaching said sleeve to said bat, said holding means comprising elongated resilient members attached across the apex of said V such that said bat will be held between said planar members and said resilient members when said sleeve is attached to said bat, said sleeve being substantially shorter than said bat.
2. A practice sleeve according to claim 1 wherein said sleeve is stiff plastic approximately one quarter inch in thickness.
3. A practice sleeve according to claim 2 wherein said holding means is one quarter inch shock cord.
4. A practice sleeve according to claim 2 wherein said holding means is sections of steel springs.