Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.



Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20180161652
Kind Code A1
Martin; John Richard ;   et al. June 14, 2018

ATHLETIC SWING PLANE INDICATOR

Abstract

The invention disclosed is an athletic swing plane training device used as a baseball bat swing plane visual indicator.


Inventors: Martin; John Richard; (Santa Clara, CA) ; Martin; Jacob Alan; (Santa Clara, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Martin; John Richard
Martin; Jacob Alan

Santa Clara
Santa Clara

CA
CA

US
US
Family ID: 1000002353613
Appl. No.: 15/375096
Filed: December 11, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 69/0002 20130101; A63B 71/0619 20130101; A63B 24/0006 20130101; A63B 2069/0008 20130101; A63B 2024/0012 20130101; A63B 2208/0204 20130101; A63B 2220/833 20130101; A63B 2071/0658 20130101; A63B 2220/40 20130101
International Class: A63B 69/00 20060101 A63B069/00; A63B 71/06 20060101 A63B071/06; A63B 24/00 20060101 A63B024/00

Claims



1) An athletic swing plane visual indicator comprising: a. a housing tapered to fix itself into position over a baseball bat with a simple sliding motion; b. an at least one battery; c. a switching circuit to connect and disconnect indicator light emitting diodes ("LEDs") to at least one battery; d. an at least one current limiting circuit; e. and a number of indicator light emitting diodes equally spaced around the housing. f. wherein the switching circuit is configured to detect initiation of the motion to generate illumination via the indicator light emitting diodes to define a path of illumination as a visible streak in a plane through which the housing traverses.

2) The invention in claim 1, wherein said switching circuit is a manual switch recessed in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing, but accessible to the user.

3) The invention in claim 1, wherein said switching circuit is an automatic centrifugal switch embedded in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing and not accessible to the user when being used and configured to automatically engage during motion of the housing, the motion coinciding with the motion of the baseball bat.

4) The invention in claim 1, wherein said switching circuit is an automatic switch based on accelerometers embedded in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing and not accessible to the user when being used and configured to automatically engage during motion of the housing, the motion coinciding with the motion of the baseball bat.

5) An athletic swing plane visual indicator comprising: a. a housing tapered to fix itself into position over a baseball bat with a simple sliding motion; b. an at least one battery; c. a switching circuit to connect and disconnect the indicator light emitting diodes ("LEDs") to at least one battery; d. an at least one current limiting circuit; e. a timing circuit designed to keep said indicator light emitting diodes ("LEDs") illuminated for a period of time, such as ten seconds, after said athletic swing plane visual indicator is swung; g. wherein the switching circuit is configured to detect initiation of the motion to generate illumination via the indicator light emitting diodes to define a path of illumination as a visible streak in a plane through which the housing traverses.

6) The invention in claim 5, wherein said switching circuit is a manual switch recessed in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing, but accessible to the user.

7) The invention in claim 5, wherein said switching circuit is an automatic centrifugal switch embedded in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing and not accessible to the user when being used and configured to automatically engage during motion of the housing, the motion coinciding with the motion of the baseball bat.

8) The invention in claim 5, wherein said switching circuit is an automatic switch based on accelerometers embedded in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing and not accessible to the user when being used and configured to automatically engage during motion of the housing, the motion coinciding with the motion of the baseball bat.

9) An athletic swing plane visual indicator comprising: a. a housing constructed of a plastic with semi-rigid properties that allows said athletic swing plane visual indicator to conform to the shape and diameter of a given athletic bat size; b. a timing circuit designed to keep said indicator light emitting diodes ("LEDs") illuminated for a period of time, such as ten seconds, after said athletic swing plane visual indicator is swung; c. at least one battery; d. switching circuit to connect and disconnect the indicator light emitting diodes ("LEDs") to at least one battery; e. at least one current limiting circuit; f. a number of indicator light emitting diodes ("LEDs") equally spaced around the housing; h. wherein the switching circuit is configured to detect initiation of the motion to generate illumination via the indicator light emitting diodes to define a path of illumination as a visible streak in a plane through which the housing traverses.

10) The invention in claim 9, wherein said switching circuit is a manual switch recessed in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing, but accessible to the user.

11). The invention in claim 9, wherein said switching circuit is an automatic centrifugal switch embedded in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing and not accessible to the user when being used.

12). The invention in claim 9, wherein said switching circuit is an automatic switch based on accelerometers embedded in said athletic swing plane visual indicator housing and not accessible to the user when being used and configured to automatically engage during motion of the housing, the motion coinciding with the motion of the baseball bat.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of and priority to the following U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/386,781 filed Dec. 11, 2015, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] This disclosure relates generally to an athletic swing plane indicator and relates specifically to a baseball bat swing plane visual indicator. Additionally, the disclosure describes and enables improved athletic performance training at home and on the field.

BACKGROUND

[0003] In 2003, USA TODAY's choice for the hardest thing to do in sports was hitting a baseball. Yale University physics professor Robert Adair wrote that the moment of contact when a bat strikes a ball lasts just 1/1,000th of a second. But the skills required to execute that at the highest levels require years and years of training to develop. The best players can get a multimillion-dollar contract if they can pull it off successfully anywhere near three out of ten times when faced with a Major League pitcher.

[0004] In baseball, the batter's swing must match the path of the baseball thrown by the pitcher as closely as possible, and for as long as possible, to successfully hit the ball.

[0005] To be successful, the hitter must master two dimensions, horizontal and vertical. The zo aim of the pitch will affect the horizontal dimension while the speed of the pitch will affect the vertical dimension. The hitter's job is to time the arrival of the pitch based on the estimated speed of the ball while determining where, horizontally, it will cross the plate. The shape of the bat helps the batter in the horizontal space as its length compensates for more error, right to left. However, the narrow 2''-4'' barrel does not cover a lot of vertical ground, forcing the hitter to be more accurate judging the vertical height of a pitch than the horizontal location.

[0006] The key to success then, is to have a good swing that is repeatable and adjustable to the angle of the pitched ball. Since the pitcher is actually standing above the batter and is throwing the ball from above his shoulder, the ball will be traveling in a downward arcing flight to the strike zone. The optimum swing plane for the bat would be a slight upswing to closely match the angle of the ball as it travels into the strike zone. The longer the batter is able to keep the bat on the same path as the baseball, the greater the chance of hitting the baseball.

[0007] As mentioned earlier, developing the skills needed to hit a baseball even three out of ten at bats, can take many years of practice. In reality, most young players taking up the sport of baseball will not have long and lasting baseball careers. They start out playing on Little League teams while they are young, play in high school if they enjoy the sport and if they are very good, play in college. From there, only a select few will have a paying career in baseball. Therefore, young players have very few years in which to develop into good baseball players.

[0008] Accordingly, there exists a need for a device to include improved training features which addresses the training time and consistency of the batter's swing. Ideally, the improvements would be implemented in an easy to use and inexpensive device that allows wide acceptance, especially in families with limited resources.

SUMMARY

[0009] Briefly and in general terms, the present disclosure is directed towards an athletic swing plane indicator. The disclosed athletic swing plane indicator easily attaches to a standard baseball bat and gives a visual indication of the swing plane for a baseball bat as it is being swung. Bright LEDs in the athletic swing plane indicator along with the speed of the bat's movement cause the persistence of vision effect in humans and yields a visible streak along the swing plane of the bat. Coaches can instantly analyze the swing plane without the use of expensive video recording and playback equipment and provide corrective feedback to the batter.

[0010] Other features and advantages of the present disclosure will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the disclosed embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a close up view of an athletic swing plane indicator installed on a baseball bat, rotated to show the On/Off switch mechanism.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a full view of an athletic swing plane indicator installed on a baseball bat.

[0013] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of an athletic swing plane indicator installed on a baseball bat, rotated to show the electronic module.

[0014] FIG. 4 is a graphical depiction of an athlete swinging a baseball bat with the athletic swing plane indicator installed on a baseball bat.

[0015] FIG. 5 is a block diagram depicting one embodiment of the electronic module used in an athletic swing plane indicator.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] An athletic swing plane indicator is described. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth. However, it is understood that embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known materials, structures, and techniques have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure the understanding of this description.

[0017] The terms, "for example," "e.g.," "in one/another aspect," "in one/another scenario," "in one/another version," "in some configurations," "in some implementations," "preferably," "usually," "typically," "may," and "optionally," as used herein, are intended to be used to introduce non-limiting embodiments. Unless expressly stated otherwise, while certain references are made to certain example system components or services, other components and services may be used as well and/or the example components may be combined into fewer components and/or divided into further components.

[0018] Turning now to the FIG. 1 drawing, which is included by way of example and not limitation, the present disclosure is directed towards an athletic swing plane indicator 100. The athletic swing plane indicator 100 is comprised mainly of three main operator accessible components: the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105; a number of indicator LEDs 110 and the athletic swing plane indicator On/Off switch 115.

[0019] In operation, the athlete places the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105 onto a baseball bat 105 from the handle end of the baseball bat 105 towards the hitting end of the baseball bat 105. The tapered nature of baseball bats allows the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105 to fix itself into position with a simple sliding motion. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105 is constructed of a urethane plastic with semi-rigid properties which allows the device to conform to the shape and diameter of a given bat size. In other embodiments of the invention, the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105 is constructed of nylon, rubber, metal or other suitable material. In other embodiments of the invention, the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105 is comprised of two separate more rigid halves that clamp onto the bat and are fixed in place with screws, bolts/nuts, straps or other attachment means. Once the athletic swing plane indicator 100 is in place on the baseball bat 105, the athlete switches on the device. The LEDs 110 glow brightly and with the persistence of vision effect in humans yields a visible streak along the swing plane of the bat 105.

[0020] FIG. 4 shows graphically the visible streak 410 along the swing plane of the bat 105 caused by the bright LEDs 110 as the athlete 400 swings the bat 105 with the athletic swing plane indicator 100 attached. The visible streak 410 along the swing plane of the bat 105 allows the batting coach to immediately determine improvements that can be made to the athlete's swinging technique.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a full view of an athletic swing plane indicator 100 installed on a baseball bat 105. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the athletic swing plane indicator 100 contains six indicator LEDs 110 spaced somewhat evenly around the athletic swing plane indicator 100. This configuration places an indicator LED 110 every 60 degrees or so around the athletic swing plane indicator 100 and facilitates an even, unbroken, no indicator streak as the bat 105 is rotated as it's swung. In other embodiments of the invention, the athletic swing plane indicator 100 has a different number of indicator LEDs 110 and may be spaced either evenly or unevenly around the athletic swing plane indicator 100.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of an athletic swing plane indicator housing 120 installed on a baseball bat 105, rotated to show the internal electronic module 130. As shown in FIG. 5, the electronic module 130 is comprised of a battery 510, switching circuit 115, a current limiting circuit 520 and a number of indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C. Another set of three indicator LEDs along with a separate current limiting circuit could be connected in parallel with the current limiting circuit 520 and indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C shown to yield more indicator LEDs without requiring a higher voltage battery 510. Alternatively, additional indicator LEDs could be placed in series with the current limiting circuit 520 and a higher voltage battery used. Alternatively, each indicator LED could be placed in parallel with either separate or a shared current limiting circuit to allow the lowest voltage battery to power the indicator LEDs.

[0023] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the current limiting circuit 520 is simply a resistor of sufficient wattage and resistance to limit the current flow through the indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C to the optimum level. In other embodiments of the invention, the current limiting circuit 520 is a constant current source that allows the optimum level of current to flow through the indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C regardless of the charge state of the battery 510, until the voltage drops too low to supply the current required for the indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C.

[0024] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the switching circuit 115 is simply a SPST switch used to completely disconnect the battery 510 from the indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C and the current limiting circuit 520. The switch would be recessed in the athletic swing plane indicator housing 105, but accessible to the user. In other embodiments of the invention, the switching circuit 115 is a centrifugal switch that is inaccessible to the user and engages automatically as the athletic swing plane indicator 100 is swung. The switching circuit 115 could also have a timing circuit that engages the indicator LEDs 110A, 110B and 110C for a period of time, such as ten seconds, after the athletic swing plane indicator 100 is swung, such as would happen in a practice swing, or tapping the bat 105 on the ground. Having an active, vs. passive, switching circuit 115 would allow for brighter (higher wattage) indicator LEDs without requiring high capacity batteries to power the athletic swing plane indicator 100, since the duty cycle of when the indicator LEDs are being powered would be greatly reduced. Other switching techniques, such as electronic circuits with accelerometers have been contemplated. Such circuits could be used to control not only when the LEDs are active, but also how brightly the LEDs are driven, to indicate swing speed, as an example.

[0025] It will be apparent from the foregoing that, while particular forms of the disclosure have been illustrated and described, various modifications can be made without parting from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.

[0026] Furthermore, the various embodiments described above are provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed to limit the invention. For example, while described as a baseball swing training device, embodiments are not so limited. For example, the invention could be used on other athletic equipment, such as tennis rackets or golf clubs. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize various modifications and changes that may be made to the disclosed invention without following the example embodiments and applications illustrated and described herein.

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.