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Title:
SWING PLANE TRAINING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/095973
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates to a baseball swing plane training device. More specifically, this invention relates to a swing plane guide stand preferably comprising a tee stand and upper and lower guides through which a bat may be swung on a plane. A player swings a bat on a swing plane that extends between oppositely facing lower and upper guiding surfaces toward a ball. If the player's swing is deviant and not on plane, the bat will contact at least one of the guiding surfaces to effectively correct the swing path and direct the player's bat to a desired plane for contact with the ball. In this way, the player may use the guide stand as a training device for achievement of a proper swing plane through repetition and muscle memory.

Inventors:
PROUT DAVID LEE (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2016/064294
Publication Date:
June 08, 2017
Filing Date:
November 30, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PROUT DAVID LEE (US)
International Classes:
A63B69/00; A63B71/02
Foreign References:
US3386733A1968-06-04
US6435990B12002-08-20
US20150105187A12015-04-16
US5478070A1995-12-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FROMM, Adam, J. (130 E. Randolph St. Suite 3900Chicago, IL, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A swing plane guide stand comprising:

a tee stand having a lower stanchion portion and an upper arcuate portion;

a lower guide connected to the stanchion portion, the lower guide having a lower guide guiding surface provided along a portion of the lower guide that extends away from the stanchion portion; and

an upper guide connected to the arcuate portion, the upper guide having an upper guide guiding surface provided along a portion of the upper guide that extends away from the arcuate portion;

wherein the lower guide guiding surface and the upper guide guiding surface are oppositely facing and define a width between them; and

wherein the width between the lower guide guiding surface and the upper guide guiding surface is greater at respective distal most ends of the guides than is the width at respective proximal most ends of the guides.

2. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 1, wherein the upper guide and the arcuate portion are adjustably connected, and adjustable movement of the upper guide changes the width.

3. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 1, wherein the width is variable from the proximal most ends of the guides to the distal most ends of the guides.

4. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 1, the lower guide further comprising a lower guide holding surface and the upper guide further comprising an upper guide holding surface.

5. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 4, wherein the lower guide holding surface and the upper guide holding surface are oppositely facing and biased toward each other.

6. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 5, wherein the lower guide holding surface and the upper guide holding surface are configured to support an object in a stationary position between them.

7. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 4, wherein the guides are configured to receive the swing of an implement at the distal most ends of the guides, and, when the implement contacts one or more of the guiding surfaces as the implement moves through the width and toward an object positioned between the holding surfaces, the contacted guiding surface will direct the implement on to a desired swing plane that intersects with the object and causes the implement to strike the object.

8. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 7, wherein the implement is a baseball bat and the object is a baseball.

9. A swing plane guide stand comprising: a base;

a tee stand having a lower stanchion portion and an upper arcuate portion, the lower stanchion portion being connected to the base and extending away from the base in a direction substantially perpendicular to the base;

a lower guide connected to the stanchion portion, the lower guide having a lower guide guiding surface provided along a portion of the lower guide that extends away from the stanchion portion; and

an upper guide connected to the arcuate portion, the upper guide having an upper guide guiding surface provided along a portion of the upper guide that extends away from the arcuate portion;

wherein the lower guide guiding surface and the upper guide guiding surface are oppositely facing and define a width between them; and

wherein the width between the lower guide guiding surface and the upper guide guiding surface is greater at respective distal most ends of the guides than is the width at respective proximal most ends of the guides.

10. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 9, wherein the upper guide and the arcuate portion are adjustably connected, and adjustable movement of the upper guide changes the width.

11. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 9, wherein the width is variable from the proximal most ends of the guides to the distal most ends of the guides.

12. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 9, wherein the connection between the base and the lower stanchion portion is adjustable.

13. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 9, wherein the swing plane guide stand is collapsible such that the guide stand may be stored in a substantially flat configuration when it is not in use.

14. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 9, wherein the base is configured for a user to stand on the base during normal use of the guide stand.

15. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 9, the lower guide further comprising a lower guide holding surface and the upper guide further comprising an upper guide holding surface.

16. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 15, wherein the lower guide holding surface and the upper guide holding surface are oppositely facing and biased toward each other.

17. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 16, wherein the lower guide holding surface and the upper guide holding surface are configured to support an object in a stationary position between them.

18. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 15, wherein the guides are configured to receive the swing of an implement at the distal most ends of the guides, and, when the implement contacts one or more of the guiding surfaces as the implement moves through the width and toward an object positioned between the holding surfaces, the contacted guiding surface will direct the implement on to a desired swing plane that intersects with the object and causes the implement to strike the object.

19. The swing plane guide stand according to claim 18, wherein the implement is a baseball bat and the object is a baseball.

20. A swing plane guide stand comprising:

a base;

a tee stand having a lower stanchion portion and an upper arcuate portion, the lower stanchion portion being connected to the base and extending away from the base in a direction substantially perpendicular to the base;

a lower guide connected to the stanchion portion, the lower guide having a lower guide guiding surface provided along a portion of the lower guide that extends away from the stanchion portion; and

an upper guide connected to the arcuate portion, the upper guide having an upper guide guiding surface provided along a portion of the upper guide that extends away from the arcuate portion;

wherein the lower guide guiding surface and the upper guide guiding surface are oppositely facing and define a width between them;

wherein the width between the lower guide guiding surface and the upper guide guiding surface is greater at respective distal most ends of the guides than is the width at respective proximal most ends of the guides; wherein the lower guide further comprises a lower guide holding surface and the upper guide further comprises an upper guide holding surface;

wherein the lower guide holding surface and the upper guide holding surface are oppositely facing, biased toward each other, and configured to support an object between them in a stationary position; and

wherein the guides are configured to receive the swing of an implement at the distal most ends of the guides, and, when the implement contacts one or more of the guiding surfaces as the implement moves through the width and toward an object positioned between the holding surfaces, the contacted guiding surface will direct the implement on to a desired swing plane that intersects with the object and causes the implement to strike the object.

Description:
SWING PLANE TRAINING DEVICE

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority from United States Patent Application Number 62/261,061 filed on November 30, 2015.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to a baseball swing plane training device. More specifically, this invention relates to a swing plane guide stand comprising a tee stand and upper and lower guides. The guide stand is designed to receive a bat provided by a user on a deviant swing plane and redirect the bat until it is on a desired swing plane that is fundamentally sound and suitable for consistent contact of the bat with a baseball.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Batting tee stands are typically used as training devices for baseball players, particularly children who are learning how to hit a ball with a bat. Traditional batting tee stands, such as tee ball stands, are comprised of a base in contact with the ground and a pole extending vertically from the base to a desired height. During use of a batting tee stand, a ball is placed in a stationary position atop a pole end opposite the base, and a baseball player will then swing a bat to hit the ball off the tee. As such, a child may learn some basic baseball swing mechanics that may enable the child to contact a stationary baseball and begin to enjoy certain aspects of the game. [0004] However, batting tee stands of the prior art offer limited utility with respect to teaching a player how to properly swing a baseball bat to make consistent solid contact with a stationary ball, let alone a ball in motion, such as that provided by a pitcher. For example, when approached with the challenge of hitting a stationary ball from a tee ball stand, young players may swing a bat in an erratic manner along wildly divergent swing paths with each and every attempt to strike the ball from the tee. In other words, existing batting tee stands fail to teach baseball players the fundamental skill of swinging a baseball bat "on plane" with consistency.

[0005] Accordingly, there exists a heretofore unmet and pervasive need in the art for a baseball training device that is portable, easy to use, and designed to guide the bat swing path of a player along a consistent and desired level swing plane.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] To meet the needs described above, the present disclosure provides a swing plane guide stand comprising a base, a tee stand, and lower and upper guides. In operation, a user may swing a bat between the lower and upper guides optionally toward an object, such as a baseball. If the user's swing plane deviates from a desired swing plane defined by the guides, the user's bat will contact at least one of the lower and upper guides and improve the deviant swing plane to achieve the desired swing plane.

[0007] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the base is configured to rest on a surface, such as the ground. The base is connected to the tee stand, which extends approximately perpendicularly away from the base, such as in a direction perpendicular to the ground. The tee stand is connected at some distance from the base to oppositely facing and generally parallel lower and upper guides. The guides define a space or width between them and both extend approximately perpendicularly away from the tee stand, such as in a direction parallel to the ground.

[0008] In operation, an object such as a baseball is immobilized between proximal portions of the oppositely facing guides. A user preferably stands on the base at an appropriate distance from the object and addresses the guide stand with a baseball bat. The user swings a bat on a swing plane that extends toward the object and between the oppositely facing lower and upper guides. If the user's swing is not on a desired plane as the bat travels between the guides, the bat will contact at least one of the guides that will reposition the swing path of the user's bat to the desired plane for contact with the ball. In this way, the user may employ the guide stand as a training device for achievement of a proper swing plane through repetition and muscle memory.

[0009] An objective of the present invention is to fulfill an unmet need in the art for a baseball training device, namely a swing plane guide stand that is portable, easy to use, and designed to guide the bat swing path of a player along a consistent and desired level swing plane.

[0010] An advantage of the present invention is that it provides a device that may be used to train baseball players at any level to improve the quality and consistency of their swing plane.

[0011] Yet another advantage of the present invention is that it enables users to improve and enjoy their coordinated ability to hit a baseball with a bat, while concurrently allowing users to fundamentally improve and/or hone their swing quality and technique. [0012] Yet another advantage of the present invention is that it is designed to improve the control and accuracy of a player's baseball swing, which often translates to enhanced player confidence on the ball field.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] Fig. 1 is a front perspective view of a swing plane guide stand provided in accordance with the present invention

[0014] Fig. 2 is a top down view of a swing plane guide stand provided in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

[0015] While the invention has been described with specific embodiments, many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to include all such alternatives, modifications, and variations set forth within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

[0016] As shown in the preferred embodiment of Fig. 1, a swing plane guide stand 10 of the present invention is preferably comprised of: (i) a base 20; (ii) a tee stand 30; (iii) a lower guide 40; and (iv) an upper guide 50. In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the guide stand 10 is substantially comprised of aluminum and ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene. It is contemplated that other materials may be used to comprise the guide stand 10 in accordance with the present invention, as will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art. In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, the guide stand 10 is collapsible for convenient portability and storage. For example, in embodiments comprising the base 20 and the tee stand 30, the base 20 may be hingedly coupled to the tee stand 30. Moreover, as will be described further herein, other components of the guide stand 10 are adjustably coupled to the guide stand 10, such that the guide stand 10 may be stored in a substantially flat configuration when it is not in use.

[0017] The base 20 preferably comprises a first face 22, a second face 24, and a sleeve 26. The first face 22 is preferably configured to engage a support surface, such as the ground. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the guide stand 10 may also be installed or mounted on a surface by connection of the base 20 or the tee stand 30 (for example, without the base 20) to the surface. The sleeve 26 preferably extends away from the second face 24, the sleeve 26 being configured to receive the tee stand 30.

[0018] The tee stand 30 preferably comprises a (lower) stanchion portion 31 having first and second stanchion portion ends 32, 33 and an (upper) arcuate portion 36 having first and second arcuate portion ends 37, 38. The stanchion portion 31 is preferably adjustably connected to the sleeve 26 of the base 20 and extends away from the second face 24. The stanchion portion 31 and the sleeve 26 comprise a plurality of complementary apertures 25, 35 that accommodate adjustable positions among the stanchion portion 31 and the sleeve 26, including an adjustable height of the guide stand 10. The guide stand 10 may be secured at a preferred position using a fastener. The arcuate portion 36 of the tee stand 30 is preferably substantially C-shaped and initially extends perpendicularly from an attachment origin that is below the second stanchion portion end 33, but makes several turns on an approximately arcuate C-shaped structural path until the arcuate portion 36 ultimately terminates at its second arcuate portion end 38. Although preferred embodiments of the present invention comprise a substantially C-shaped arcuate portion 36, the arcuate portion 36 may be provided in myriad geometric shapes and configurations, including polygons having straight sides and other configurations with curved sides, as will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art. It is contemplated that the arcuate portion 36 may originate from alternative locations on the stanchion portion 31. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the C-shaped structure of the arcuate portion 36 is of sufficient size and radius so as to not impede a bat swing provided in close proximity to the ends 33, 38 during normal use of the guide stand 10. Additionally, as shown in Fig. 2, the arcuate portion 36 is preferably oriented at a right angle from the lower and upper guides 40, 50. The second arcuate portion end 38 is oriented approximately parallel to the stanchion portion 31, the second arcuate portion end 38 and the second stanchion portion end 33 defining a space or width between them.

[0019] The lower guide 40 preferably comprises a lower guide mounting sleeve 42, a lower guide body 44, a lower guide holding surface 46, and a lower guide guiding surface 48. The lower guide 40 is preferably adjustably connected to the second stanchion portion end 33 at the lower guide mounting sleeve 42. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the second stanchion portion end 33 and the lower guide mounting sleeve 42 are adjustably coupled and biased apart by a spring (not shown) that is preferably housed within the second stanchion portion end 33. It is contemplated that other biasing mechanisms may be employed, such as those known to one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0020] Similarly, the upper guide 50 preferably comprises an upper guide mounting sleeve 52, an upper guide body 54, an upper guide holding surface 56, and an upper guide guiding surface 58. The upper guide 50 is preferably adjustably connected to the second arcuate portion end 38 at the upper guide mounting sleeve 52. The second arcuate portion end 38 further comprises a plurality of apertures (not shown), and the position of the guide 50 may be fixed to the second arcuate portion end 38 using a fastener to accommodate a range of bat diameters intended to pass through a space or width defined by the second stanchion portion end 33 and the second arcuate portion end 38. By way of non-limiting example, the guide stand 10 may preferably be configured to accommodate bat diameters ranging from 2.25-2.75 inches through the width defined by holding surfaces 46, 56. In a similar way, adjustment of the position of the guide 50 at the second arcuate portion end 38 allows a user to adjust the width defined by guiding surfaces 48, 58. Additionally, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the second arcuate portion end 38 and the upper guide mounting sleeve 52 are adjustably coupled and biased apart by a spring (not shown) that is preferably housed within the second arcuate portion end 38. It is contemplated that other biasing mechanisms may be employed, such as those known to one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0021] The lower and upper guides 40, 50 are preferably substantially sail shaped and approximately the same overall size. It is contemplated that other guide 40, 50 shapes may be used in accordance with present invention, as will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art. The lower guide 40 approximately perpendicularly extends away from the stanchion portion 31 while the upper guide 50 approximately perpendicularly extends away from the arcuate portion 36. As noted above, both guides 40, 50 are preferably adjustably coupled to the guide stand 10, and therefore both guides 40, 50 are capable of being rotated about the second stanchion portion end 33 and the second arcuate portion end 38, respectively, as desired to accommodate the swings of right-handed and left-handed hitters. [0022] The lower guide holding surface 46 and the upper guide holding surface 56 preferably oppositely face each other and further define the space or width between the second arcuate portion end 38 and the second stanchion portion end 33. The aforementioned respective spring biases of the lower guide mounting sleeve 42 and the upper guide mounting sleeve 52 pushes surfaces 46, 56 toward each other, which enables the guide stand 10 to sustain an object in a stationary position between the surfaces 46, 56. The lower guide guiding surface 48 and the upper guide guiding surface 58 also oppositely face each other. The surfaces 46, 48, 56, 58 are preferably made from UHMW polyethylene. It is contemplated that other materials may be used to comprise the surfaces 46, 48, 56, 58 in accordance with the present invention, as will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art. In some preferred embodiments, each of surfaces 46, 48 and 56, 58 may be comprised of a single piece of material, respectively.

[0023] To the extent that the lower and upper guides 40, 50 are approximately sail shaped, for example, the lower and upper guiding surfaces 48, 58 extend along respective leech edges of the lower and upper guides 40, 50, each forming an approximated (curved) hypotenuse of the sail shaped guides 40, 50, respectively. Additionally, although the lower and upper guides 40, 50 extend approximately perpendicularly away from the stanchion and arcuate portions 31, 36, the guides 40, 50 preferably gradually flare away from each other pursuant to the curved shape of the respective leech edges. In other words, the width between the guiding surfaces 48, 58 is greater at respective distal most ends 47, 57 of the guides 40, 50 than it is at respective proximal most ends 49, 59 of the guides 40, 50. Additionally, in some preferred embodiments the width is variable from the proximal most ends 49, 59 of the guides 40, 50 to the distal most ends 47, 57 of the guides 40, 50. The guides 40, 50 are configured to receive the swing of a bat or comparable implement at the distal most ends 47, 57 of the guides 40, 50 as the bat moves through the width and toward an object positioned between the holding surfaces 46, 56.

[0024] In a preferred operational example of the guide stand 10, an object such as a baseball 60 is positioned between lower and upper holding surfaces 46, 56 of the guide stand 10, and a player (user) stabilizes the guide stand 10 by standing on the second face 24 of the base 20 at an appropriate distance from the ball 60. The player swings a bat or comparable implement on a swing plane that extends between the oppositely facing lower and upper guiding surfaces 48, 58 toward the ball 60. If the player's swing is deviant and not on plane, the bat will contact at least one of the guiding surfaces 48, 58 to effectively correct the swing path and direct the player's bat to a desired swing plane that intersects with the ball 60 and causes the bat to strike the ball. In this way, the player may use the guide stand 10 as a training device for achievement of a proper swing plane through repetition and muscle memory.

[0025] It is contemplated that the guide stand 10 of the present invention may be suitable for other sports training and load bearing applications. For example, the guide stand 10 may be configured for use in improving the technique and swing plane of a user's leg when kicking a football or soccer ball. Additionally, the guide stand 10 may be configured for placement over a user's head for form improvement of a basketball shot. The guide stand 10 is also compatible with ball machines that may be mounted near or on the guide stand 10 for the purpose of automatically providing a ball 60 between holding surfaces 46, 56. It is further contemplated that the guide stand 10 has applicability where load bearing support is needed, such as in the automotive industry. For example, the guide stand 10 may be configured for placement in close proximity to a car wheel hub, such that a technician may support a wheel to be installed on the hub by placing the wheel on the guides 40, 50 of the guide stand 10 to support the weight of the wheel as the technician moves the wheel across the guides 40, 50 and into position for installation on the hub.