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United States Patent Application 20180169493
Kind Code A1
Gardner; Taylor M. ;   et al. June 21, 2018

PRACTICE HITTING TEE

Abstract

A practice hitting tee has a support structure and a ball holder. The support structure has a base end and a distal end. The ball holder has sidewall, a first end, a second end, and a longitudinal axis. The ball holder may be formed of a flexible material and configured in a way that the second end has a ball receiving opening and the sidewall has at least one slit extending from the second end toward the first end. The ball holder is connected to the distal end of the support structure in a way that the second end of the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure with the longitudinal axis at an angle greater than 0.degree. but less than 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface and frictionally grips a ball having a porous cover when at least a portion of the ball is positioned in the ball receiving opening.


Inventors: Gardner; Taylor M.; (Moore, OK) ; Gardner; Jarrett C.; (Moore, OK)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Backspin Enterprises, Inc.

Moore

OK

US
Family ID: 1000002365232
Appl. No.: 15/380240
Filed: December 15, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 69/0002 20130101; A63B 2208/0204 20130101; A63B 2069/0008 20130101
International Class: A63B 69/00 20060101 A63B069/00

Claims



1. A practice hitting tee, comprising: a support structure having a base end and a distal end; and a ball holder having sidewall, a first end, a second end opposite the first end, and a longitudinal axis extending from the first end to the second end, the ball holder formed of a flexible material and configured in a way that the second end has a ball receiving opening and the sidewall has at least one slit extending from the second end toward the first end, the ball holder connected to the distal end of the support structure in a way that the second end of the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure with the longitudinal axis at an angle greater than 0.degree. but less than 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface, wherein the ball holder frictionally grips a ball having a porous cover when at least a portion of the ball is positioned in the ball receiving opening.

2. The practice hitting tee of claim 1, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is fixed.

3. The practice hitting tee of claim 1, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is adjustable.

4. The practice hitting tee of claim 1, wherein the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure with the longitudinal axis at an angle greater than about 20.degree. but less than about 30.degree. relative to vertical when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface.

5. The practice hitting tee of claim 4, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is fixed.

6. The practice hitting tee of claim 4, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is adjustable.

7. The practice hitting tee of claim 1, wherein the support structure has a generally inverted J-shape when the base end is positioned on a horizontal support surface.

8. The practice hitting tee of claim 7, wherein the support structure is rigid between base end and the distal end.

9. A practice hitting tee in combination with a ball having a porous cover, the practice hitting tee comprising: a support structure having a base end and a distal end; and a ball holder having sidewall, a first end, a second end opposite the first end, and a longitudinal axis extending from the first end to the second end, the ball holder formed of a flexible material and configured in a way that the second end has a ball receiving opening and the sidewall has at least one slit extending from the second end toward the first end, the ball holder connected to the distal end of the support structure in a way that the second end of the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure with the longitudinal axis at an angle greater than 0.degree. but less than 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface, wherein the ball is frictionally gripped by the ball holder with a portion of the ball extending downwardly from the ball holder.

10. The combination of claim 9, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is fixed.

11. The combination of claim 9, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is adjustable.

12. The combination of claim 9, wherein the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure with the longitudinal axis at an angle greater than about 20.degree. but less than about 30.degree. relative to vertical when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface.

13. The combination of claim 12, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is fixed.

14. The combination of claim 12, wherein the angle of the longitudinal axis of the ball holder is adjustable.

15. The combination of claim 9, wherein the support structure has a generally inverted J-shape when the base end is positioned on a horizontal support surface.

16. The combination of claim 15, wherein the support structure is rigid between base end and the distal end.

17. A method of supporting a ball, comprising: obtaining a ball holder having sidewall, a first end, and a second end opposite the first end, the ball holder formed of a flexible material and configured in a way that the second end has a ball receiving opening and the sidewall has at least one slit extending from the second end toward the first end; supporting the ball holder in a way that the second end of the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure with the longitudinal axis at an angle greater than 0.degree. but less than 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface; and positioning the ball into the ball receiving opening so that the ball is frictionally gripped by the ball holder with a portion of the ball extending downwardly from the ball holder.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising obscuring an upper portion of the ball from view.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the step of supporting the ball holder further comprises: positioning a support structure on a horizontal support surface, the support structure having a base end and a distal end; and connecting the first end of the ball holder to the distal end of the support structure.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the step of supporting the ball holder further comprises: adjusting the angle of the vertical axis of the ball holder relative to vertical.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] Sports such as baseball and softball involve hitting a ball with a bat. Being proficient at hitting a baseball and a softball requires practice. Many different types of training devices have been developed over the years to help players become more skilled at hitting. The most common practice device presently used for hitting practice is a hitting tee of the type that has a stationary stand on which the baseball or softball sits. The height of the hitting tee, and thus the ball when it is on the hitting tee, is usually adjustable.

[0002] While this type of hitting tee is generally easy to use and enables the hitter to hit balls that are unaltered, it has several drawbacks. For example, because the ball is resting on top of the tee, a hitter necessarily must hit the tee when hitting the bottom half of the ball, which is required to obtain a desirable ball trajectory, such as a line drive. To avoid striking the tee, the hitter may have a tendency to hit less desirable areas of the ball, such as the upper half of the ball, which results in ground balls.

[0003] Some other training devices for hitting include a ball suspended from a tether. In most instances, the ball is fixed to the tether in a way that the ball remains attached to the tether after the ball is hit. As such, the hitter is at risk of being hit by the ball as it swings around the support structure. In addition, the hitter is unable to determine if the ball was struck properly because the hitter is unable to observe the flight of the ball.

[0004] Attempts have been made to create practice hitting tees that overcome the problems discussed above. For example, practice hitting devices have been suggested that include a ball removably secured to the end of a structure or line from which it is suspended. The ball releases from the line when the user strikes the ball with enough force to break the elements holding the ball in place. However, with such devices, the ball is required to be altered relative to regulation balls in way that allows the ball to be releasably attached to the tether. By requiring an altered ball, the hitter again does not get realistic feedback on the flight of a type of ball that will be used in a game situation. Moreover, a hitter will be required to purchase a significant number of the altered balls to practice efficiently and effectively.

[0005] In another example, U.S. Publication No. 2009/0082140 discloses a batting apparatus that employs a suction cup suspended from a tether. The suction cup is configured such that it only temporarily supports a baseball or softball due to the porous nature of the covers of baseballs and softballs. As such, a hitter must quickly ready himself to strike the ball after attaching the suction cup to the ball. In addition, the hitter must face the risk of injury due to the tether spinning around the support structure. Alternatively, the hitter can wait until the ball drops from the suction cup. In the case of the latter, the ball is moving downwardly and is not covered in any way that would train a hitter to strike preferred areas of the ball.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 9,352,204 discloses a practice hitting tee that has a support structure and a ball holder. The support structure has a base end and a distal end. The ball holder has sidewall, a first end, and a second end. The ball holder may be formed of a flexible material and configured in a way that the second end has a ball receiving opening and the sidewall has at least one slit extending from the second end toward the first end. The ball holder is connected to the distal end of the support structure in a way that the second end of the ball holder extends downwardly away from the distal end of the support structure when the base end of the support structure is positioned on a horizontal support surface and frictionally grips a ball when at least a portion of the ball is positioned in the ball receiving opening.

[0007] Such design has met with success in training batters to more consistently contact the bottom half of the ball and produce more preferred hits. Nevertheless, this design supports the ball holder in a perpendicular orientation relative to the ground. On the other hand, the angle of the bat as it contacts a ball is typically at a negative angle relative to horizontal. In other words, the barrel of the bat (i.e., the larger portion used to strike the ball) is lower than the handle of the bat during the act of hitting the ball with the bat. It has been found that the angle of the bat at contact is generally in a range of about -5.degree. to about -40.degree. and more typically in a range of about -20.degree. to about -30.degree.. The drawback of supporting the ball holder in a perpendicular orientation is that the bat will generally contact a greater percentage of the ball holder nearer the hitter. In addition, because the angle of the bat and the angle of the ball holder do not correspond, the hitter does not have a line of reference that is easy to correlate with the hitter's desired bat angle.

[0008] To this end, a need exists for practice hitting tee that allows a hitter to practice hitting an unaltered ball with a bat in a way that the practice hitting tee encourages a batter to strike the bottom half of the ball while providing realistic feedback to the hitter. It is to such a practice hitting tee that the inventive concepts disclosed herein are directed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a practice hitting tee constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein shown with a baseball supported thereby.

[0010] FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a ball holder of the practice hitting tee of FIG. 1.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a plan view of a sheet of material used for constructing the ball holder of FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0012] FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of one embodiment of a coupler constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of the coupler and the ball holder.

[0014] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a coupler constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

[0015] Before explaining at least one embodiment of the inventive concepts in detail, it is to be understood that the inventive concepts disclosed herein are not limited in its application to the details of construction, experiments, exemplary data, and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The inventive concepts are capable of other embodiments or being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for purposes of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0016] In the following detailed description of embodiments of the inventive concepts, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the inventive concepts. However, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the inventive concepts within the disclosure may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, certain well-known features may not be described in detail to avoid unnecessarily complicating the instant disclosure.

[0017] As used herein, the terms "comprises," "comprising," "includes," "including," "has," "having," or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion. For example, a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherently present therein.

[0018] Unless expressly stated to the contrary, "or" refers to an inclusive or and not to an exclusive or. For example, a condition A or B is satisfied by anyone of the following: A is true (or present) and B is false (or not present), A is false (or not present) and B is true (or present), and both A and B are true (or present).

[0019] The term "and combinations thereof" as used herein refers to all permutations or combinations of the listed items preceding the term. For example, "A, B, C, and combinations thereof" is intended to include at least one of: A, B, C, AB, AC, BC, or ABC, and if order is important in a particular context, also BA, CA, CB, CBA, BCA, ACB, BAC, or CAB. Continuing with this example, expressly included are combinations that contain repeats of one or more item or term, such as BB, AAA, AAB, BBC, AAABCCCC, CBBAAA, CABABB, and so forth. A person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that typically there is no limit on the number of items or terms in any combination, unless otherwise apparent from the context.

[0020] In addition, use of the "a" or "an" are employed to describe elements and components of the embodiments herein. This is done merely for convenience and to give a general sense of the inventive concepts. This description should be read to include one or at least one and the singular also includes the plural unless it is obvious that it is meant otherwise.

[0021] The use of the terms "at least one" and "one or more" will be understood to include one as well as any quantity more than one, including but not limited to each of, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, and all integers and fractions, if applicable, therebetween. The terms "at least one" and "one or more" may extend up to 100 or 1000 or more, depending on the term to which it is attached; in addition, the quantities of 100/1000 are not to be considered limiting, as higher limits may also produce satisfactory results.

[0022] Further, as used herein any reference to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular element, feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. The appearances of the phrase "in one embodiment" in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

[0023] As used herein qualifiers such as "about," "approximately," and "substantially" are intended to signify that the item being qualified is not limited to the exact value specified, but includes some slight variations or deviations therefrom, caused by measuring error, manufacturing tolerances, stress exerted on various parts, wear and tear, and combinations thereof, for example.

[0024] Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 2, shown therein is an exemplary embodiment of a practice hitting tee 10 constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein. Broadly, the practice hitting tee 10 includes a support structure 12, a ball holder 14, and a coupler 15 connecting the ball holder 14 to the support structure 12. The ball holder 14 frictionally grips a ball 18, such as a baseball or softball having a porous cover, when at least a portion of the ball 18 is positioned in a ball receiving opening of the ball holder 14.

[0025] In one embodiment, the support structure 12 may include a base end 20, a distal end 22, and have a generally inverted J-shape when the base end 20 is positioned on a horizontal support surface. The support structure 12 may include a first portion 23 extending upwardly from the base end 20, a second portion 24 extending horizontally from the first portion 23, and a third portion 25 extending vertically downwardly from second portion 24 a distance from the first portion 23. The first support portion 23 may be one piece or include plurality of telescoped sections, such as a first telescoping section 26 and a second telescoping section 27 to permit the position of the distal end 22 of the support structure 12 relative to the base end 20 to be selectively adjusted. The first and second telescoping sections 26 and 27 may be releasably secured relative to one another in any suitable manner, such as with a latch 28.

[0026] The first portion 23, the second portion 24, and the third portion 25 of the support structure 12 may be formed in a variety of shapes and may be made from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, metal, plastic, or a combination thereof, so that the support structure 12 is rigid, impact resistant, light weight, and corrosive resistant. Also, while the first support portion 23, the second support portion 24, and the third portion 25 are shown as being cylindrical in shape, it is understood that the first support portion 23, the second support portion 24, and the third portion 25 may be made of a variety of other shapes or configurations including but not limited to square, oval, and rectangular.

[0027] The base end 20 is positioned at a lower end of the support structure 12 to provide stability to the practice hitting tee 10 and thus to prevent the practice hitting tee 10 from tipping over when in use. In one embodiment, the base end 20 may be a weighted member releasably connected to the first portion 23 with a latch 29. However, it should be appreciated that the base end 20 may be in many different forms so long as the base end 20 provides stability to the practice hitting tee 10. For example, the base portion 20 may be an H-shaped structure or a structure with a cavity to permit the base end 20 to be weighted with sand or water. Also, the base end 20 may include a plurality of legs to form a stand, similar to a tripod. In another embodiment, the base end 20 may be in the form of a spike that may be inserted into the ground support.

[0028] The ball holder 14 has a sidewall 43, a first end 31, a second end 32, a longitudinal axis 33 extending from the first end 31 to the second end 32. The ball holder 14 includes a sheet of flexible material 36 rolled into a frusto-conical shape that forms a ball receiving opening 37 at the second end 32. The ball holder 14 tapers from the second end 32 toward the first end 31. In one embodiment, overlapping portions of the sheet of material 36 form a slit 38 extending from the second end 32 toward the first end 32. The slit 38 provides relief to allow the ball receiving opening 37 to expand and contract as necessary to frictionally grip a ball having a porous cover, such as the ball 18, when at least a portion of the ball 18 is positioned in the ball receiving opening 37.

[0029] The sheet of material 36 may be made from any suitable material that is capable of frictionally gripping a ball having a porous cover. In one embodiment, the sheet of material 36 may be made of a rubber or polymeric material, such as polypropylene, polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride, fabric, or some other suitable material or combination of materials. FIG. 3 depicts the sheet of material 36 in a flattened state from which the ball holder 14 may be fashioned. The sheet of material 36 is characterized as having a first end 39, a second end 40, a first side 42, and a second side 44 and may be generally trapezoidal in shape.

[0030] In choosing a suitable material for the ball holder, attention should be given to the flexibility and rigidity of the material. When rolled to form the ball holder 14, the material may exhibit sufficient rigidity to grip a baseball or softball and to return to its frusto-conical shape after being hit with a bat, yet be sufficiently collapsible to give way when struck by a bat. Too much rigidity in the ball holder 14 may cause the hitting tee 10 to topple when the ball holder 14 is struck by a bat.

[0031] The sheet of material 36 may be constructed of a single layer of material or a plurality of layers of the same or different types of materials. When the sheet of material 36 is constructed of a plurality of layers of material, the layers of material comprising the sheet of material 36 may be connected together such as by lamination or may be separate layers.

[0032] The sheet of material 36 may be opaque to obscure an upper portion of a ball (e.g., upper one-third to upper one-half) from view when the ball 18 is positioned in the ball receiving opening 37 of the ball holder 14. Also, the sheet of material 36 may vary in color. In one version, the sheet of material 36 may be a color in contrast to the color of the baseball or softball (e.g., black or gray). Further, the sheet of material 36 may consist of designs, or logos, advertisement, or decorative patterns, which are printed, etched, and/or embossed thereon using inks or other printing materials.

[0033] In one embodiment for use with a baseball, the ball holder 14 may be constructed of a sheet of material having a height of about 8 inches, a minor width corresponding with the first end 31 of the ball holder 14 of about 6 inches, and a major width corresponding with the second end 32 of the ball holder 14 of about 10 inches. In an embodiment for use with a softball, the ball holder 14 may be constructed on a sheet of material having a height of about 9 inches, a minor width corresponding with the first end 30 of the ball holder 14 of about 7 inches, and a major width corresponding with the second end 32 of about 13 inches.

[0034] Referring now to FIG. 5, the sheet of material 36 may be wrapped about a fastener 46 and secured thereto with a connecter 48. The fastener 46 may include a clamp member 50 and a securing member 52 which may pass through an opening of the clamp member 50 for securing the fastener 46 to the connector 48. The connector 48 may include a first threaded opening 60 configured to receive the coupler 15 and a second threaded opening 62 configured to receive the securing member 52 of the fastener 46. The first threaded opening 60 extends along the longitudinal axis 33 of the ball holder 14. An inner surface 64 of the base 56 defines a cavity 66 configured to receive an upper portion of the clamp member 50. The connector 48 has a proximal end 68 and a distal end 70 with the inner surface 64 of the connector 48 flaring from the proximal end 68 to the distal end 70 in a way that forms the frusto-conical shape of the ball holder 14. The shape of the clamp member 50 corresponds to the shape of the inner surface 64 of the connector 48 such that the sheet of material 36 wrapped about the connecter 48 may rest substantially flush against the inner surface 64 of the connector 48.

[0035] The sheet of material 36 and the clamp member 50 of fastener 46 may be sized such that the sheet of material 36 may be wrapped about the clamp member 50 about one and one-half times. By way of example, an upper portion of the clamp member 50 may have a diameter of about 1 inch for use with baseballs and 11/4 inch for use with softballs.

[0036] The ball holder 14 is connected to the distal end 22 of the support structure 12 by the coupler 16 in a way that the second end 32 of the ball holder 14 extends downwardly away from the distal end 22 of the support structure 12 with the longitudinal axis 33 at an angle greater than 0.degree. but less than about 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end 20 is supported on a horizontal support surface, such as the ground or a floor.

[0037] As best shown in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5, in one embodiment, the coupler 15 has a base 80 and a protrusion 82 extending from the base 80. The base 80 is generally a block structure with a threaded opening 84 formed in one side thereof. The threaded opening 84 is configured to threadingly receive the distal end 22 of the support structure 12. To secure the distal end 22 to the base 80, a portion of the base 80 is split to define a first portion 86 and a second portion 88 The base 80 is further provided with a pair of openings 90 extending through the first portion 86 and the second portion 88 and on each side of the threaded opening 84. The openings 90 receive a pair of fasteners 92, such as nut and bolt combinations, in a way that tightening of the fasteners draws the first portion 86 and the second portion 88 toward one another to secure the coupler 15 to the distal end 22 of the support structure 12.

[0038] As discussed above, the angle of a bat as it contacts a ball, such as bat 94 illustrated in FIG. 1, is typically at a negative angle 96 relative to horizontal. In other words, the barrel of the bat (i.e., the larger portion used to strike the ball) is lower than the handle of the bat during the act of hitting the ball with the bat. It has been found that the angle 96 of the bat 94 at contact is generally in a range of about -5.degree. to about -40.degree., and more typically in a range of about -20.degree. to about -30.degree..

[0039] To this end, the coupler 15 is configured to support the ball holder 14 at an angle relative to vertical that corresponds to the angle of the bat relative to horizontal so that the vertical axis 33 of the ball holder 14 is supported in a substantially perpendicular relationship to the bat during the act of hitting the ball with the bat. The protrusion 82 is an elongated structure configured to be threadingly received in the first threaded opening 60 of the connector 48. In one embodiment, the protrusion 82 extends from the base 80 so that the angle of the longitudinal axis 33 of the ball holder is fixed at a selected angle. The protrusion 82 may extend from the block 80 at any fixed angle relative to the threaded opening 84 of the base 80 such that the longitudinal axis 33 of the ball holder 14 is greater than 0.degree. but less than about 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end 20 of the support structure 12 is positioned on a horizontal support surface. In another embodiment, the protrusion 82 may extend from the block 80 at a fixed angle relative to the threaded opening 84 of the base 80 such that the longitudinal axis 33 of the ball holder 14 is greater than about 20.degree. but less than about 30.degree. relative to vertical when the base end 20 of the support structure 12 is positioned on a horizontal support surface. In the embodiment illustrated, the protrusion 82 extends from the block 80 at a fixed angle relative to the threaded opening 84 of the base 80 such that the longitudinal axis 33 of the ball holder 14 is at an angle of about 25.degree. relative to vertical when the base end 20 of the support structure 12 is positioned on a horizontal support surface.

[0040] In use, a ball, such as the ball 18, is positioned in the ball receiving opening 37 of the ball holder 14, as illustrated in FIG. 1, so that the ball 18 is frictionally gripped by the ball holder 14 and an upper portion of the ball 18 is hidden from view in a way that a lower portion of the ball 18 is predominantly visible to the hitter. The hitter then strikes the ball 18 with a bat. Because the lower portion of the ball 18 is predominantly visible, the hitter is encouraged to strike the lower portion of the ball 18 in a way that causes the ball 18 to travel with an upward trajectory. At the same time, the flexibility of the ball holder 14 provides little resistance to the ball 18, thereby providing the hitter with real feedback as to how the ball was struck. In addition, with the ball holder 14 supported at an angle to vertical, the ball holder 14 is positioned generally perpendicular to the angle of the bat at contact and thus the ball holder 14 provides the hitter with a line of reference that is easy to correlate with the hitter's desired bat angle.

[0041] FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of a coupler 100. The coupler 100 is configured to allow the angle that the ball holder 14 is supported to be selectively adjusted between an angle greater than 0.degree. but less than about 40.degree. relative to vertical when the base end 20 of the support structure 12 is positioned on a horizontal support surface. The coupler 15 has a first portion 102 and a second portion 104 selectively movable relative to the first portion 102. The first portion 102 includes a threaded opening 106 formed in one side thereof. The threaded opening 106 is configured to threadingly receive the distal end 22 of the support structure 12. The first portion 102 has a plurality of teeth 108 along one side thereof. The second portion 104 is similar in construction to the first portion 102 except the second portion 104 is provided with a protrusion 110 receivable in the first threaded opening 60 of the connector 48. The second portion 104 has a plurality of teeth 112 matingly engageable with the teeth 108 of the first portion 102. The first portion 102 and the second portion 104 are secured to one another with a fastener 114, which extends from the first portion 102 to the second portion 104 and may include a knob 116. In use, the knob 116 may be used to loosen the fastener 114 so that the teeth 108 and 112 may be disengaged from one another, thereby permitting the second portion 104, along with the ball holder 14, to be rotated relative to the first portion 102. Upon positioning the ball holder 14 at the desired angle, the knob 116 may be used to draw the first portion 102 and the second portion 104 together to matingly engage the teeth 108 and 112.

[0042] From the above description, it is clear that the inventive concepts disclosed and claimed herein are well adapted to carry out the objects and to attain the advantages mentioned herein, as well as those inherent in the invention. While exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts have been described for purposes of this disclosure, it will be understood that numerous changes may be made which will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art and which are accomplished within the spirit of the inventive concepts disclosed and/or defined in the appended claims.

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