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Title:
ITEM OF SPORTS EQUIPMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/147499
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Described is an item of sports equipment which may be placed in a stable position above ground level and suitable for use for self-coaching in beach tennis by a user holding a racket, the item of sports equipment (1) comprising: a shaped body (2) comprising a first side (21) which in turn comprises a rigid first surface portion (211) free of discontinuities, extending in a substantially vertical direction and suitable to permit a ball to bounce against it; - an edge (3) which delimits at least at the bottom a first region (31) beneath the first surface portion (211), the first region (31) being suitable to obstruct or prevent the bouncing of a ball.

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Inventors:
NERONI, Giovanni (Via Bezzecca 31, San Benedetto Del Tronto, I-63039, IT)
Application Number:
IB2009/005806
Publication Date:
December 10, 2009
Filing Date:
May 28, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NERONI, Giovanni (Via Bezzecca 31, San Benedetto Del Tronto, I-63039, IT)
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B63/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2001066200A12001-09-13
Foreign References:
US3563544A1971-02-16
GB213679A1924-04-07
DE2152251A11973-04-26
US2580799A1952-01-01
US1510402A1924-09-30
JPS5319478U1978-02-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MONELLI, Alberto (Via A. Valentini 11/15, Rimini, I-47922, IT)
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Claims:
Claims

1. An item of sports equipment which may be placed in a stable position above ground level and suitable for

5 use for self-coaching in beach tennis by a user holding a racket characterised in that it comprises:

- a shaped body (2) comprising a first side (21) which in turn comprises a rigid first surface portion (211) free of discontinuities, extending in io a substantially vertical direction and suitable to permit a ball to bounce against it;

- an edge (3) which delimits at least at the bottom a first region (31) beneath the first surface portion (211), the first region (31) being suitable to

I 5 obstruct or prevent the bouncing of a ball.

2. The item of sports equipment according to claim 1, characterised in that the edge (3) may be positioned at a predetermined distance from the ground above which the item of sports equipment (1) is placed.

20 3. The item of sports equipment according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that it comprises deformable means (4) suitable to dampen the quantity of motion of a body which strikes it at speed, the deformable means (4) touching the first region (31) and being

2 5 placed between the edge (3) and the first surface portion (211) .

4. The item of sports equipment according to claim 3, characterised in that the deformable means (4) are removably attached to the shaped body (2) .

30 5. The item of sports equipment according to foregoing claims 3 or 4, characterised in that the deformable means (4) comprise a net (41) or a bag. 6. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that the edge

3S (3) which delimits the bottom of the first region

(31) forms part of the shaped body (2), at least a portion of the edge (3) forming part of the first

side (21) .

7. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that the edge (3) extends downwards starting from the first surface portion (211) .

8. The item .of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that the edge (3) in combination with the first surface portion (211) circumscribes the first region (31) . 9. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that the shaped body (2) comprises a support base (5).

10. The item of sports equipment according to claim

9. characterised in that first region (31) is placed between the first surface portion (211) and the base

(5) .

11. The item of sports equipment according to claim 9 or 10, characterised in that base (5) comprises:

-a first element (51) integral with the first surface portion (211) , the first element (51) comprising a first interface (510);

-means (52) for fastening to the ground which may be separated from the first element (51) of the base

(5), the fastening means (52) comprising a second interface (520) to abut against the first interface

(510);

-means (53) for removably connecting the first and second interfaces (510, 520).

12. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that the shaped body (2) is modelled like an oversized racket (10) fitted with a handle (11) and a paddle (12) .

13. The item of sports equipment according to claim 12, characterised in that part of the shaped body (2) which reproduces the paddle (12) of the oversized racket (10) comprises a rim (13) which circumscribes the first surface portion (211) .

14. The item of sports equipment according to claim 13, characterised in that the rim (13) comprises the edge (3) and circumscribes the first region (31) .

15. The item of sports equipment according to claim 12, 13 or 14 when it depends directly or indirectly on claim 9, characterised in that the base (5) is at least in part incorporated in a part of the shaped body (2) which reproduces the handle (11) of the oversized racket (10) . 16. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims from 12 to 15, characterised in that the height is at least greater than or equal to 2 metres. 17c The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that the shaped body (2) comprises a second side (22) opposite the first side (21), the shaped body (2) extending in thickness between the first and the second sides (21, 22) . 18. The item of sports equipment according to claim

17, characterised in that second side (22) comprises a rigid second surface portion (222) free from discontinuities, which extends in a substantially vertical direction and permits a ball to bounce against it; the edge (3) also delimiting at least at the bottom a second region (32) beneath the second surface portion (222), the second region (32) being suitable to obstruct or prevent the bouncing of the ball. 19. The item of sports equipment according to claim

18, characterised in that it is provided with a window (6) which goes right through the item of sports equipment (1) from the first to the second side (21, 22), the window (6) incorporating the first and the second regions (31, 32) .

20. The item of sports equipment according to claim 17, 18 or 19, characterised in that it is

substantially symmetrical with respect to a vertical reference plane placed between the first and the second sides (21, 22) .

21. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims from 17 to 20, characterised in that the shaped body (2) comprises a multilayer structure, the first side (21) forming part of a first layer (210) of the multilayer structure, the second side (22) forming part of a second layer (220) of the multilayer structure, the shaped body (2) comprising at least a third layer (230) which is placed between the first and the second layers (210, 220) and is made of expanded material.

22. The item of sports equipment according to any of the foregoing claims, characterised in that it comprises a rigid framework (7) which extends at least in part inside the shaped body (2) .

23. The item of sports equipment according to claim 22 when it depends directly or indirectly on claim 9 and claim 21, characterised in that rigid framework (7) extends at least in part inside the base (5) and the third layer (230) .

24. The item of sports equipment according to claim 22 or 23 when it depends directly or indirectly on claim 19, characterised in that the rigid framework (7) circumscribes the window (6) which goes right through the shaped body (2) between the first and the second sides (210, 220) .

25. The item of sports equipment according to claim 22, 23 or 24 when it depends directly or indirectly on claim 11, characterised in that the rigid framework (7) is directly fastened to the first interface (510) .

Description:

Description

Item of sports equipment

Technical Field

This invention relates to an item of sports equipment. In particular, this invention permits self-coaching in beach tennis or in other similar sports .

Background art

Beach tennis is a sport played on a sand court. A net raised above ground level divides the court into two halves and in each half there is one of the two teams, each team being made up of two players. Each player has a racket with which to strike a ball sending it above the top of the net into the opposing team's half. The aim of each team is to send the ball into the opposing team' s half of the court without the players of the opposing team being able to strike the ball in flight.

In order to practice without a team mate a player may knock up against a wall, striking the ball with his/her racket and thereby making it bounce against the wall.

However, by practicing in this way the player is unable to understand whether the ball bounces against the wall at a height greater than the height of the net on a beach tennis court or whether the ball would bounce to such a height that it would be intercepted by the net in a court.

Disclosure of the Invention

The purpose of this invention is to overcome the above-mentioned shortcomings by providing an item of sports equipment which permits a player to practice beach tennis by himself/herself and to understand

whether the ball is intercepted or not by the net normally present on beach tennis courts. Another aim of this invention is to provide an item of sports equipment which permits practice to improve serves in beach tennis.

These and other aims, which are described in detail below, are achieved, according to this invention, by an item of sports equipment having structural and operational characteristics as described in the accompanying independent claims, other embodiments being identified in the accompanying and corresponding dependent claims.

Brief Description of the Drawings The invention is clearly described below, with reference to the accompanying drawings, which illustrate a preferred non-limiting embodiment provided by way of an example.

- Figure 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of the item of sports equipment according to this invention; the same Figure also schematically shows a person to give an approximate idea of the size of the item of sports equipment.

- Figure 2 shows an exploded view of the item of sports equipment of Figure 1.

- Figure 3 shows a front view of some components of Figure 2.

- Figures 4 and 5 show two alternative embodiments with respect to that illustrated in Figure 3. - Figure 6 shows a partially interrupted exploded view of another embodiment of the item of sports equipment according to this invention, with some hidden parts drawn with dashed lines .

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments of the Invention With reference to the accompanying drawings, the

numeral 1 denotes an item of sports equipment in a stable position above ground level and suitable for use for self-coaching in beach tennis by a user holding a racket. This invention is described below with particular reference to the application of self- coaching in beach tennis, but it could be used to practice other sports, such as, for example, tennis or volleyball. The item of sports equipment 1 comprises a shaped body 2 which comprises a first side 21 which in turn comprises a rigid first surface portion 211 advantageously free of discontinuities, extending substantially in a vertical direction and suitable to permit a ball to bounce against it. The shaped body 2 conveniently comprises several elements connected together to define an object in itself distinct from the surrounding environment. The item of sports equipment 1 also comprises an edge 3 which delimits at the bottom a first region 31 beneath the first surface portion 211, the first region 31 being suitable to obstruct or prevent the bouncing of a ball.

The edge 3 permits simulation of the lower portion of the net in a beach tennis court. If the ball finishes in the first region 31 the player knows that the ball would very probably have finished against the net in a court. The edge 3 also performs an important function linked to practising the serve, that is, the shot characterising the placing of the ball into play. In beach tennis (as in conventional tennis, but also in other sports such as, for example, volleyball) this shot is very important to attempt to put the opponent in difficulty from the very start and if possible score a point. In order to improve the serve the item of sports equipment 1 may be placed in the opposite half of the court to which the server is standing and at a predetermined distance from the net. With reference to the preferred

embodiments illustrated and for which the dimensions are described in detail below, the item of sports equipment 1 would be placed approximately 2 metres behind the net. The Applicant has found that in this position the serve is good if the ball passes over the net which divides the two halves of the court and finishes in the first region 31 of the item of sports equipment 1. If the shot hits the first surface portion 211, the shot would very likely have ended beyond the edge of the court (which is to be avoided as it would be to the advantage of the opposing player) . If the shot falls below the edge 3, the serve was probably too weak and would be easily intercepted by the potential opponent. Obviously, the item of sports equipment 1 is positioned at a different distance from the net depending on the height of the edge 3 above the ground.

The edge 3 may be positioned at a predetermined distance from the ground above which the item of sports equipment 1 is placed.

The equipment 1 comprises deformable means 4 suitable to dampen the quantity of motion of a body which strikes it at speed, the deformable means 4 touching the first region 31 and being placed between the edge 3 and the first surface portion 211. The significant advantage of the deformable means 4 is that they dampen the energy possessed by the balls which strike the first region 31. In this way, the risk that the balls travel large distances, with the drawback of having to interrupt the play to retrieve them, is limited.

Advantageously, the deformable means 4 comprise a net 41 or a bag. The deformable means 4 may be removably attached to the shaped body 2. For example, the deformable means 4 may be replaced as necessary. For example, when the item of sports equipment 1 is used for practicing serves the presence of a sack is

advantageous to minimise the risk of losing the balls or having to retrieve them from a large distance (in the case of serves the balls are struck at high speed and it is easier to catch the balls with a bag than 5 with the net 41) . Alternatively, in the case of normal knocking-up against the first surface portion 211 a net 41 may be used which deforms slightly when struck by the balls thereby dampening the energy of the ball. The removable connection of the deformableQ means 4 is also important to permit their replacement when they are worn. Advantageously, the deformable means 4 are removably connected to/disconnected from the shaped body 2 using Velcro straps. Advantageously, the edge 3 may form part of thes deformable means 4; for example it may comprise the lower edge of the net 41. In a particular embodiment, the item of sports equipment 1 may not even comprise the deformable means 4. As illustrated in the accompanying drawings, providedQ merely by way of an example without restricting the scope of the inventive concept, the edge 3 delimits the bottom of the first region 31 and forms part of the shaped body 2. At least a portion of the edge 3 forms part of the first side 21. 5 Conveniently, the edge 3 extends downwards starting from the first surface portion 211.

Preferably, the edge 3, in collaboration with the first surface portion 211, circumscribes the first region 31. Q Advantageously, the shaped body 2 comprises a support base 5.

The first region 31 is placed between the first surface portion 211 and the base 5. The base 5 comprises: 5 -a first element 51 integral with the first surface portion 211, the first element 51 comprising a first interface 510;

-means 52 for fastening to the ground which may be separated from the first element 51 of the base 5, the fastening means 52 comprising a second interface 520 to abut against the first interface 510; -means 53 for removable connection of the first and the second interfaces 510, 520.

The removable connection means 53 comprise, for example, threaded bolts (see, for example, Figure 3) . Advantageously, these are connected permanently to the second interface 520. To permit the connection of the first and the second interfaces 510, 520 the bolts are inserted in holes of the first interface 510 and then locked by means of threaded nuts. The shaped body 2 is modelled like an oversized racket 10 fitted with a handle 11 and a paddle 12. Even though it is oversized, the shape of the paddle 12 recalls the part of the racket used to strike the balls. If the item of sports equipment 1 is used on sandy ground the fastening means 52 are driven into the ground and the first element 51 is attached above them. Alternatively, the lower portion of the base 5 is fitted with facilitated sliding means 55 which simplify shifting the item of sports equipment 1. The facilitated sliding means 55 comprise, for example, runners suitable to slide along corresponding guides or rolling means such as, for example, wheels 56 (see Figure 5) .

As illustrated by way of an example in Figure 4 without restricting the scope of the inventive concept, the base 5 could comprise a platform 54 to be rested on the ground (this embodiment is particularly advantageous if the item of sports equipment 1 is used in a gym or in an area with a regular floor) . If necessary, the facilitated sliding means 55 could be placed between the platform 54 and the ground. Advantageously, the part of the shaped body 2 which

reproduces the paddle 12 of the oversized racket 10 comprises a rim 13 which circumscribes the first surface portion 211. The rim 13 comprises the edge 3 and circumscribes the first region 31.

The base 5 is at least partly incorporated in a part of the shaped body 2 which reproduces the handle 11 of the oversized racket 10. Certain dimensions of a preferred embodiment of the sports equipment 1 are provided below by way of a non-limiting example.

The height of the item of sports equipment 1 is at least greater than or equal to 2 metres, preferably greater than or equal to 2.5 metres. The distance between the upper limb of the item of sports equipment 1 and the first interface 510 is approximately equal to 2.9 metres. The height of the first region 31 is approximately 0.7 metres. The height of the first surface portion 211 is approximately 1.2 metres. The boundary between the first surface portion 211 and the first region 31 lies at a distance from the first interface 510 (or from the ground if the first interface 510 is absent) of approximately 1.7 metres. The maximum width of the shaped body 2 modelled like an oversized racket 10 is greater than 1 metre, and preferably equal to approximately 1.4 metres. The thickness of the sports equipment 1 at right angles to the first surface portion 211 is approximately 6-8 centimetres.

The shaped body 2 comprises a second side 22 opposite the first side 21, the shaped body 2 extending in thickness between the first and the second sides 21, 22. The second side 22 comprises a rigid second surface portion 222 free from discontinuities, which extends in a substantially vertical direction and permits a

ball to bounce against it. The edge 3 also delimits, at least at the bottom, a second region 32 beneath the second surface portion 222, the second region 32 being suitable to obstruct or prevent the bouncing of a ball.

Advantageously, the item of sports equipment 1 is provided with a window 6 which goes right through the sports equipment 1 from the first to the second sides 21, 22, the window 6 incorporating the first and the second regions 31, 32.

The item of sports equipment 1 is substantially symmetrical with respect to a vertical reference plane placed between the first and the second sides 21, 22. Advantageously, two or more users can practice simultaneously using the sports equipment 1. For example, one or more users (advantageously two) can practice by bouncing a ball against the first surface portion 211 with their own racket. Simultaneously, one or more users (advantageously two) could also join in; they could practice by bouncing a ball against the second surface portion 222 with their own racket. Advantageously, the shaped body 2 comprises a multilayer structure. The first side 21 forms part of a first layer 210 of the multilayer structure, the second side 22 forms part of a second layer 220 of the multilayer structure. Advantageously, the first and/or the second layers 210, 220 are made of marine wood, this solution being particularly useful for use on the beach. The shaped body 2 comprises at least a third layer 230 which is placed between the first and the second layers 210, 220 and it is made of expanded material. The use of expanded material such as, for example, expanded polyurethane or polystyrene allows the weight of the item of sports equipment 1 to be limited. For a similar reason, advantageously the

third layer 230 may be provided with internal lightening holes.

In order to improve the stiffness, the item of sports equipment 1 may comprise a rigid framework 7 which 5 extends at least in part inside the shaped body 2. Advantageously, the framework 7 is made of metal material. Conveniently, the third layer 230 defines a groove 70 to hold, at least in part the framework 7. Preferably, the rigid framework 7 extends at least ino part inside the base 5 and the third layer 230.

Conveniently, the rigid framework 7 circumscribes the window 6 which goes right through the shaped body 2 between the first and the second sides 210, 220. In an embodiment not illustrated the rigid framework 7s may follow the perimeter of the rim 13.

Advantageously, the shaped body 2 comprises a first part 101 comprising at least the first surface portion 211 and a second part 102 comprising at least the base 5 and/or the edge 3 (see, for example,0 Figure 6) . The first and second parts 101, 102 of the body 2 are removably connected to each other by connection means 103. These enable the first and second parts 101, 102 of the body 2 to be connected and disconnected to facilitate, for example, 5 transport. The connection means 103 comprise at least a first and a second appendage 104, 105 which can be placed over each and a first connector 106a which goes through the first and second appendages 104, 105. This first connector 106a may be a connection0 pin which engages in corresponding first holes 114a formed on the first and the second appendages 104, 105. The first and the second appendages 104, 105 conveniently extend in a substantially vertical direction. S Advantageously, the first appendage 104 is a first insert 107 and it may be introduced into a first cavity 108 which is at least in part defined by the

second appendage 105. The first appendage 104 and the second appendage 105 are formed one on the first part 101 and one on the second part 102 of the body 2. Advantageously, the first appendage 104 is formed on the first part 101 of the body 2 and the second appendage 105 is formed on the second part 102 of the body 2. Advantageously, the connection means 103 comprise two of the inserts 107 which may be inserted in two of the cavities 108, each insert 107 and the corresponding cavity 108 being formed one on the first part 101 and one on the second part 102 of the body 2. Each insert 107 and the corresponding cavity 108 may then be connected by at least the first connector 10 βa. The first and second appendages 104, 105 overlap on a section which extends at right angles to the first surface portion 211. The first and second appendages 104, 105 extend between the first and the second surface portions 211, 222. In particular, the two inserts 107 and the corresponding cavities 108 extend transversally (preferably at right angles) to the first surface portion 211

Advantageously, the edge 3 extends between a first and a second end 109, 110 defining a concavity 111. The edge 3 therefore extends like a letter "U". The two cavities 108 are advantageously formed at the first and the second ends 109, 110 of the edge 3. Advantageously, the second part 102 of the body 2 surrounds the first region 31 by means of: -the edge 3;

-a crosspiece 112 which extends between the first and the second ends 109, 110 of the edge 3. The crosspiece 112 meets a corresponding element 113 formed on the first part 101 of the body 2. Both the crosspiece 112 and the corresponding element 113 formed on the first part 101 of the body 2 have coinciding second holes 114b in which the

corresponding second connectors 106b are inserted. Both the crosspiece 112 and the corresponding element 113 in combination with the corresponding second connectors 10 βb which connect them form part of the connection means 103.

In a particular embodiment not illustrated, the crosspiece 112 and the corresponding element 113 could be absent. In this case the first and second parts 101, 102 of the body 2 would be advantageously connected by the two inserts 107 which may be inserted in corresponding cavities 108. The invention achieves significant advantages. Advantageously, it permits self-coaching for knocking-up and serving in beach tennis or in other similar sports.

Another significant advantage is that the particular shape of the item of sports equipment 1 (which recalls the shape of a racket) suggests its function to whoever observes it. A no less important advantage is the fact that it reconciles a considerable structural rigidity with an adequate lightness, making it easy to move. The invention described may be modified and adapted in several ways without departing from the scope of the inventive concept.

Moreover, all the details of the invention may be substituted by technically equivalent means. In practice, embodiments of the invention may be made from any material and in any size, depending on specific needs.




 
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