US 3858880 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unlted States Patent 1 1 1111 3,858,880 Graves 1 1 Jan. 7, 1975 1 TENNIS PRACTICE STROKE COURTS 4,611 2/1906 Great Britain 273/29 R WITH COMMON BALL RECEIVE COURT 10,643 5/1902 Great Britain 273/30 395,830 l/l966 Switzerland 2.73/29 R  Inventor: Carl D. Graves, 581 Muskmgum Ave., Pac1f1c Pahsades, Cahf. 90272 Primary Examiner Am0n Oechsle 22 il Aug 7 1972 Assistant Examiner-Theatrice lBrown Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Jessup & Beecher  Appl. No.: 278,293
 ABSTRACT  US. Cl. 273/29 A, 272/3 A tennis practice range i provided which Comprises a ] ll ll. Cl A63!) 69/38 Common Central receive Court and a plurality f indi  F'eld of Search 273/29 l 176 vidual stroke courts. Each stroke court is separated 273/l76 3]; 272/3 from the common receive court by a separate tennis net. The range permits a number of players to practice  References cued simultaneously, with one or more players in each UNITED STATES PATENTS stroke court either serving tennis balls into the com- 2,066,724 1/1937 Forsyth 273/30 o r e e court, or u ing bal s from throwing 2,508,461 5/1950 Lemon.... machines into the common receive court. Also pro- 3,690,674 9/l972 Taylor 273/176G vided is a simple means for automatically collecting FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Practlce tenms balls- 672,683 9/1929 France 273/29 R 7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures TENNIS PRACTICE STROKE COURTS WITH COMMON BALL RECEIVE COURT BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION At present, if a person wishes to practice his tennis service or other strokes, he has limited facilities available to him. For example, he may practice with another player in a standard tennis court, but this has the disadvantages of requiring another player and the use of a full size tennis court. A person also can use a tennis pitching machine to practice his game, but this usually involves either the use of a full size tennis court, or unrealistic narrow and/or foreshortened teaching alleys. Backboards are also presently in widespread use for practicing tennis, but again the environment is unrealistic. The foregoing also applies to the use of tennis balls attached to strings, rods, or similar prior art tennis teaching devices.
The improved practice range of the present invention, on the other hand, provides a convenient and economical means for practicing the basic tennis strokes and serves under completely realistic conditions. Specifically, the range of the present invention provides a practice structure which allows the players to practice their strokes and serves by hitting tennis balls under realistic playing conditions.
As described briefly above, the practice range of the present invention includes a central receive court which is surrounded by a multiplicity of stroke courts. Each stroke court is separated from the common central receive court by its own tennis net, and each stroke court together with the common centralreceive court forms approximately a standard sized tennis court. In this way, an efficient and multiple use of available space is realized by the structure of the invention, without in any way reducing the realistic playing conditions of a usual full size tennis court.
The practice range of the invention, as will be described, may also be constructed to incorporate simple and improved collecting means for the practice balls, so that the balls may all be returned to one or more collection points. Various alterations of the geometry to fit different space restrictions, or special practice needs, are possible.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of a practice tennis range constructed to incorporate the concepts of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an elevation of the common receive court of the range of FIG. 1, showing an energy absorbing surface on the receive court to reduce the bounce of the balls driven into that court;
FIG. 3 is also an elevation of the common receive court, showing a modified construction whereby the receive court has an inclined surface to reduce the angle bounce of the balls driven into that court;
FIG. 4 is an elevation ofa tennis net which, for example, is positioned between a stroke court and the common receive court of the range of FIG. 1, and which extends over a ball collecting trough which serves to return the balls to the sides of the courts;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the net and trough of FIG. 4, taken along the lines 5-5 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is a view like FIG. 5, but ofa somewhat modified version of the ball collecting trough.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT The practice tennis range shown in FIG. 1 includes a central common receive court 10 which, in the illustrated embodiment, is surrounded by four stroke courts designated 12, 14, 16 and 18. As shown, the stroke courts 12 and 16 are aligned with the central receive court 10 along a first axis, and the stroke courts 14 and 18 are aligned with the common receive court 10 along a second axis perpendicular to the first axis.
A tennis net 20 separates the stroke court 12 from the common receive court 10, a net 22 separates the stroke court 14 from the receive court 10, a net 24 separates the stroke court 16 from the receive court 10, and a net 26 separates the stroke court 18 from the receive court 10.
The range may be enclosed by a suitable fence 30 which, for example, may be a chain link fence of the type usually used to enclose tennis courts. Throwing machines designated 32 may be located at each corner of the receive court, as shown, and these throwing machines may be positioned to propel tennis balls into the respective stroke court.
In carrying out the invention, one or more players in each of the stroke courts, either practices his drives by driving tennis balls over the corresponding nets 20, 22, 24 and 26 into the common receive court; or practices other strokes by returning balls propelled to him from a corresponding throwing machine 32.
As shown in FIG. 2, the surface of the receive court 10 may be covered by any energy absorbing material such as, for example, indoor-outdoor carpeting, Astroturf, or the like. The purpose of the energy absorbing material is to reduce the bounce of the tennis balls, so as to lessen the chances of balls driven into the re ceive court bouncing into the opposite stroke courts.
The same results may be achieved in the embodiment of FIG. 3 by providing an inclined surface for the receive court, as shown, which has, for example, an apex at the center of the receive court and which is inclined downwardly towards each of the four nets of FIG. I. The inclined surface of the receive court in the embodiment of FIG. 3 serves to reduce the angle of bounce of the balls so as to lessen the likelihood of their bouncing over the opposite nets.
The representation of FIG. 4 shows a tennis net, such as the net 20 of FIG. 1, with a trough being provided under the net. As shown in FIG. 4, the trough 60 is inclined from the center of the net towards each side of the corresponding courts. The purpose of the trough 60 is to receive balls struck against the net, and to cause the balls to roll down the incline to collecting locations at each comer of the court.
Similar inclined troughs may be provided at the side fences 30, so that all the balls may ultimately be returned to one or more collecting locations. In this respect, netting or canvas may be hung on the side fences to absorb the energy of balls struck against the fences, so as to cause the balls to drop downwardly into the adjacent collecting troughs.
As shown in FIG. 6, the trough may take the form of a separate member 62 supported on the surface of the court, rather than being formed into the surface, such as shown in FIG. 5.
The invention provides, therefore, an improved tennis practice range by which a player may practice his game under conventional tennis court conditions. For example, the stroke courts may be dimensioned to correspond with a usual tennis court, as may the heighth and width of the nets. The common receive court, for example, may be lined to simulate usual tennis court conditions so that service and stroke accuracy may be determined.
In the illustrated embodiment, four stroke courts are illustrated in conjunction with a single common receive court. It is contemplated that up to three players may use each stroke court at the same time, with all the players hitting the balls into the common receive court. As far as each individual is concerned, he hits into a full sized court, with ample room being provided for practicing both forehand and backhand strokes.
Furthermore, as suggested above, the receive court can include, for example, three service courts for each of the four stroke courts, so that some players can be practicing service while others are practicing forehand and backhand strokes.
In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the tennis ball throwing machines 32 are located at the corners of the receive court 10. Because of their location these machines can be fed with a bucket of balls from outside the court area. Separate machines can be used for each player, or one machine may be shared by several individuals.
As described in the specification, the tennis balls are automatically collected at the base of the nets 20, 22, 24 and 26, and by use of inclined troughs, the balls may be funnelled to selected locations for easy collection. It is also suggested, the balls may be automatically collected by a similar trough surrounding the entire tennis range. The use of an energy absorbing and/or slanted surface for the receive court, as described above, serves to minimize balls bouncing over the surrounding nets.
The tennis range of the invention is advantageous in that it makes an efficient use of available space, and since it is economical to construct and maintain. Moreover, a realistic practice environment is provided because ample room is allowed for each player to practice his strokes, and because each player hits the balls into a full size receive court.
While particular embodiments of the practice range of the invention have been shown and described, modifications may be made. It is intended in the following claims to cover the embodiments which come within the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A game practice range comprising: a common rectangular-shaped receive court of dimensions corresponding to one half a standard sized tennis court; a plurality of rectangular-shaped stroke courts, each of essentially the same dimensions as said common receive court and each aligned with said common receive court to constitute therewith one of a plurality of individual standard sized tennis courts to permit balls to be hit from each of said stroke courts into said common receive court; and a net dividing each of said stroke courts from said common receive court.
2. The practice range defined in claim I, and which includes four of the aforesaid stroke courts in respective alignment with the four sides of said common receive court.
3. The practice range defined in claim 2, and which includes a fence extending around the stroke courts to provide a common enclosure for the stroke courts and the receive court.
4. The practic'erange defined in claim 1, in which said common receive court has a surface formed of en ergy absorbing material to reduce the bounce of balls striking the surface.
5. The practice range defined in claim 1, in which said common receive court has an inclined surface to reduce the angle of bounce of balls striking the surface.
6. The practice range defined in claim 1, in which the surface of the range has at least one inclined ball collecting trough formed therein.
7. The practice range defined in claim 6, in which said trough is formed at the base of each of the aforesaid nets.