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Número de publicaciónUS20070123389 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 11/289,171
Fecha de publicación31 May 2007
Fecha de presentación29 Nov 2005
Fecha de prioridad29 Nov 2005
Número de publicación11289171, 289171, US 2007/0123389 A1, US 2007/123389 A1, US 20070123389 A1, US 20070123389A1, US 2007123389 A1, US 2007123389A1, US-A1-20070123389, US-A1-2007123389, US2007/0123389A1, US2007/123389A1, US20070123389 A1, US20070123389A1, US2007123389 A1, US2007123389A1
InventoresBrian Martin
Cesionario originalBrian Martin
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Athletic performance evaluation device
US 20070123389 A1
Resumen
An athletic training apparatus includes a generally horizontal base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface and a first sensor adapted to measure a weight of an athlete. A force receiving area adapted to be disposed in proximity of and above an end of the base is included and operably connected to a second sensor such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete.
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Reclamaciones(20)
1. An athletic training apparatus comprising:
a generally horizontal base, the base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface;
a first sensor, the first sensor adapted to measure a weight of an athlete;
a force receiving area, the force receiving area adapted to be disposed in proximity of and above an end of the base; and
a second sensor, the second sensor operably connected to the force receiving area such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete.
2. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
the base includes a first end and a second end;
the first sensor disposed proximate the first end of the base, the first sensor being operably connected to the base such that when the athlete is positioned on a first portion of the base, the first sensor measures the weight of the athlete; and
wherein the force receiving area is disposed above and in proximity to the second end of the base.
3. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 1, including:
a third sensor, the third sensor operably connected to the base such that when the athlete moves a fixed distance on the base, the third sensor measures a time it takes the athlete to move the fixed distance.
4. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 1, including:
a third sensor, the third sensor operably connected to the base, wherein the second and third sensors are adapted to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on the base.
5. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 3, wherein:
after the computer receives the measurements from the first, second and third sensors, the computer calculates a performance factor F utilizing each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100; and
wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
6. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 4, wherein:
the force receiving areas includes a blocking pad; and
the base, blocking pad and second sensor are operably connected such that the base, blocking pad and second sensor remain generally stationary with respect to one another when the athlete exerts a force on the blocking pad.
7. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 3, wherein:
the first, second, third sensors, and the base, form a unitary portable machine.
8. An athletic training apparatus comprising:
a generally horizontal base, the base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface;
a first sensor, the first sensor operably connected to the base such that when an athlete is positioned on a first portion of the base, the first sensor measures a weight of the athlete;
a force receiving area, the force receiving area adapted to be disposed above the base and in proximity thereto; and
a second sensor, the second sensor operably connected to the force receiving area such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete.
9. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 8, including:
a third sensor, the third sensor operably connected to the base, wherein the second and third sensors are adapted to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on the base.
10. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 9, wherein:
the first, second, and third sensors are operably connected to and communicate with a computer, the first sensor communicating the weight measurement, the second sensor communicating the force measurement, and the third sensor communicating the time measurement; and
the computer recording the weight, force, and time measurements and displaying the results on a display.
11. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 9, wherein:
after the computer receives the measurements from the first, second and third sensors, the computer calculates a performance factor F utilizing each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100; and
wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
12. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 9, wherein:
the force receiving areas includes a blocking pad; and
the base, blocking pad and second sensor are operably connected such that the base, blocking pad and second sensor remain generally stationary with respect to one another when the athlete exerts a force on the blocking pad.
13. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 9, wherein:
the third sensor is adjustable relative to the base.
14. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 9, wherein:
the first, second, third sensors, and the base, form a unitary portable machine.
15. A football training apparatus for measuring performance characteristics of an athlete, the apparatus comprising:
a generally horizontal base, the base having a first end and a second end, the base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface;
a first sensor disposed proximate the first end of the base, the first sensor operably communicating with the base such that when an athlete is positioned on a first portion of the base, the first sensor measures a weight of the athlete;
a force receiving area, the force receiving area adapted to be disposed above the base proximate the second end thereof;
a second sensor, the second sensor operably communicating with the force receiving area such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete;
a third sensor, the third sensor operably connected to the base, wherein the second and third sensors are adapted to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on the base;
wherein the first, second, and third sensors are operably connected to and communicate with a computer, the first sensor communicating the weight measurement, the second sensor communicating the force measurement, and the third sensor communicating at least part of the time measurement, the computer recording the measurements; and
wherein further, after the computer receives the measurements from the first, second and third sensors, the computer calculates a performance factor F utilizing each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
16. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 15, wherein:
the force receiving areas includes a blocking pad; and
the base, blocking pad and second sensor are operably connected such that the base, blocking pad and second sensor remain generally stationary with respect to one another when the athlete exerts a force on the blocking pad.
17. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 16 wherein:
the third sensor is adjustable relative to the base.
18. The athletic training apparatus according to claim 17, wherein:
the first, second, third sensors, and the base, form a unitary portable machine.
19. A method for measuring the performance of an athlete comprising:
providing an apparatus for measuring a weight, a time, and an exerted force of an athlete, the apparatus including: a generally horizontal base, the base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface; a first sensor for measuring the weight of the athlete; a second sensor for measuring the force exerted by the athlete; and a third sensor for measuring the time it takes the athlete to move the fixed distance on the base;
measuring the weight of the athlete with the first sensor;
measuring the force exerted by the athlete on a force receiving area that is in proximity with the base, the force measured with the second sensor; and
measuring the time it takes the athlete to traverse a fixed distance on the base with the third sensor.
20. The method according to claim 19, wherein:
the first, second, and third sensors are operably connected to and communicate with a computer, the first sensor communicating the weight measurement, the second sensor communicating the force measurement, and the third sensor communicating the time measurement; and
the computer calculates a performance factor F utilizing each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
Descripción
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to an athletic apparatus generally, and more specifically to a device and method for athletic performance evaluation.
  • [0002]
    Most sports are based on the development of specialized athletic abilities such as response time, coordination and strength. As such, an athletes training is designed to develop the athletes maximum potential. However, it is extremely difficult to quantify or objectively measure an athlete's overall ability. As a result of this difficulty, an athlete's performance in sports, for example football, is usually determined through a coach's observation or by competing against other athletes. However, these observations and trials have heretofore been mostly subjective. Objective measurement of athletic ability is particularly beneficial for training since this provides the athlete with a ability to identify those abilities and skills which require the most attention, and to measure the performance increase thereof. In addition, it would be highly beneficial for a coach or other training professional to evaluate a player's ability through a standardized system utilizing objectively obtained data. In this manner, an athlete could be evaluated for performance in a strictly objective manner that has heretofore been unknown. The use of a device which objectively measures an athlete's performance or skill can greatly assist not only athletes in reaching their potential, but also the trainers in evaluating and assessing an athletes ability.
  • [0003]
    Accordingly, a need exists for an athletic apparatus that can, among other things, objectively measure an athlete's performance, thereby allowing the athlete to be evaluated for performance in a strictly objective manner. Therefore, an athletic apparatus that solves the aforementioned disadvantages and having the aforementioned advantages is desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • [0004]
    On aspect of the present invention includes an athletic training apparatus comprising a generally horizontal base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface, a first sensor adapted to measure a weight of an athlete, and a force receiving area adapted to be disposed in proximity of and above an end of the base. A second sensor is operably connected to the force receiving area such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete.
  • [0005]
    Another aspect of the present invention includes an athletic training apparatus comprising a generally horizontal base, wherein the base is adapted to be disposed on a ground surface; a first sensor, wherein the first sensor is operably connected to the base, such that when an athlete is positioned on a first portion of the base, the first sensor measures a weight of the athlete; and a force receiving area, wherein the force receiving area is adapted to be disposed above the base and in proximity thereto. A second sensor is operably connected to the force receiving area such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete.
  • [0006]
    In another aspect of the present invention, a football training apparatus for measuring performance characteristics of an athlete, includes a generally horizontal base, wherein the base has a first end and a second end, and the base is adapted to be disposed on a ground surface. A first sensor is disposed proximate the first end of the base, and the first sensor is operably communicating with the base, such that when an athlete is positioned on a first portion of the base, the first sensor measures a weight of the athlete. A force receiving area is also included, wherein the force receiving area is adapted to be disposed above the base, proximate the second end thereof, and a second sensor is operably communicating with the force receiving area such that when the athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete. Additionally, a third sensor, is operably connected to the base, wherein the second and third sensors are adapted to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on the base. The first, second, and third sensors are operably connected to and communicate with a computer, the first sensor communicating the weight measurement, the second sensor communicating the force measurement, and the third sensor communicating at least part of the time measurement, and the computer records the measurements. Further, after the computer receives the measurements from the first, second and third sensors, the computer calculates a performance factor F utilizing each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F+100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
  • [0007]
    In another aspect of the present invention, a method for measuring the performance of an athlete comprises providing an apparatus for measuring a weight, a time, and an exerted force of an athlete, wherein the apparatus includes a generally horizontal base which is adapted to be disposed on a ground surface, a first sensor for measuring the weight of the athlete, a second sensor for measuring the force exerted by the athlete, and a third sensor for measuring the time it takes the athlete to move the fixed distance on the base. The method further includes measuring the weight of the athlete with the first sensor; measuring the force exerted by the athlete on a force receiving area that is in proximity with the base, wherein the force is measured with the second sensor; and measuring the time it takes the athlete to traverse a fixed distance on the base with the third sensor.
  • [0008]
    In yet another aspect of the present invention, a method for measuring the performance of an athlete comprises providing an apparatus for measuring the weight, acceleration, and exerted force of an athlete, wherein the apparatus includes a generally horizontal base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface, a first sensor for measuring a weight of the athlete, a second sensor for measuring a force exerted by an athlete, and a third sensor for at least partially measuring the time it takes the athlete to move the fixed distance on the base. The method further includes providing a computer operably connected with the first, second, and third sensors; measuring the weight of the athlete with the first sensor; communicating the weight measurement to the computer, the computer recording the weight measurement; positioning the athlete on the base and initiating movement of the athlete, whereby the athlete traverses the base from a first position to a second position; using at least the third sensor to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on the base; communicating the measured time to the computer, the computer recording the time measurement; calculating the acceleration of the athlete; and having the athlete exert a force against the force receiving area, the second sensor measuring the exerted force and the computer recording the force measurement.
  • [0009]
    In another aspect of the present invention, a method for measuring the performance of an athlete comprises providing an apparatus for measuring the weight, acceleration, and exerted force of an athlete, the apparatus including: a generally horizontal base having a first end and a second end, the base adapted to be disposed on a ground surface; a first sensor disposed proximate the first end of the base, the first sensor operably connected to the base such that when an athlete is positioned in a first position on the base, the first sensor measures the weight of the athlete; a force receiving area, wherein the force receiving area is adapted to be disposed above the base in proximity with the second end thereof; a second sensor, wherein the second sensor is operably connected to the force receiving area such that when an athlete exerts a force on the force receiving area, the second sensor measures the force exerted by the athlete. The method also includes, providing a computer which is operably connected to the base for communication with the first, second, and third sensors, wherein the computer is adapted to record the measurements from the first, second, and third sensors and graphically display one or more results; positioning an athlete on the apparatus in the first position and measuring the athletes weight with the first sensor; communicating the weight measurement to the computer, the computer recording the weight measurement; initiating movement of the athlete, whereby the athlete moves on the base from the first position to an intermediate position; using at least the third sensor to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on the base, the fixed distance being between from at least the athletes first position to a second position; communicating the measured time to the computer, the computer recording the time measurement; continuing movement of the athlete to the second position, wherein the athlete contacts the force receiving area, thereby exerting a force against the force receiving area, the second sensor measuring the exerted force, and the computer recording the force measurement; and determining a performance factor F using each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
  • [0010]
    In yet another aspect of the present invention, a method for measuring the performance of an athlete comprises providing a first, second and third sensor; measuring the weight of the athlete with the first sensor; providing an athlete and a force receiving area; having the athlete exert a force against the force receiving area, the second sensor measuring the exerted force; and using at least the third sensor to measure the time it takes the athlete to traverse a fixed distance, the fixed distance being between from an athletes first position to a second position.
  • [0011]
    In still another aspect of the present invention, a method for measuring the performance of an athlete comprises providing a first, second and third sensor; measuring the weight of the athlete with the first sensor; providing an athlete and a force receiving area; having the athlete exert a force against the force receiving area, the second sensor measuring the exerted force; using at least the third sensor to measure the time it takes the athlete to traverse a fixed distance, the fixed distance being between from an athletes first position to a second position; determining a performance factor F using each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor;
  • [0012]
    Other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. The above brief description sets forth rather broadly the more important features of the present disclosure so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood, and so that the present contributions to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the disclosures that will be described hereinafter which will form the subject matter of the claims.
  • [0013]
    In this respect, before explaining the preferred embodiment of the disclosure in detail, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and the arrangement set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The athletic apparatus of the present disclosure is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for description and not limitation. Where specific dimensional and material specifications have been included or omitted from the specification or the claims, or both, it is to be understood that the same are not to be incorporated into the claims.
  • [0014]
    As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be used as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims are regarded as including such equivalent constructions as far as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    Further, the purpose of the Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers, and practioners in the art who are not familiar with the patent or legal terms of phraseology, to learn quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essences of the technical disclosure of the application. Accordingly, the Abstract is intended to define neither the invention nor the application, which is only measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.
  • [0016]
    These and other objects, along with the various features, and structures that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the athletic apparatus of the present disclosure, its advantageous and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated and described the preferred embodiments of the invention.
  • [0017]
    While embodiments of the athletic apparatus are herein illustrated and described, it is to be appreciated that various changes, rearrangements and modifications maybe made therein, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one preferred embodiment of an athletic performance evaluation device of the present invention;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of the athletic device of FIG. 1, taken along line II-II;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view of section A of the base of FIG. 2;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 4 is a top view of the athletic device of FIG. 1; and
  • [0022]
    FIG. 5 is a flow chart of one preferred method of evaluating athletic performance in an athlete using the athletic device of FIG. 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0023]
    The best mode for caring out the invention is presented in terms of the preferred embodiment, wherein similar referenced characters designate corresponding features throughout the several figures of the drawings.
  • [0024]
    For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper”, “lower”, “right”, “left”, “rear”, “front”, “vertical”, “horizontal”, and derivatives thereof, shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings and described in the following specification are exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.
  • [0025]
    Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, these same referenced numerals will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts. The dimensions illustrated in the drawings (if provided) are included for purposes of example only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present invention. Additionally, particular details in the drawings which are illustrated in hidden or dashed lines are to be considered as forming no part of the present invention.
  • [0026]
    As used herein, the term athlete is meant to refer to anyone utilizing the athletic evaluation device, and the term is not meant to be limited to a particular type of individual or to a particular sport or activity. However, for brevity, we will discuss herein the inventive athletic device as it works with and relates to the evaluation of a football player. Of course, this is not meant to be limiting in any manner and this device may be used to evaluate numerous other types of athletes, and may be used to evaluate numerous other activities.
  • [0027]
    A common training apparatus that is used to currently measure a football players ability is the blocking sled. These apparatuses come in many variations and can be either stationary or movable, and numerous routines can be practiced on these sleds. Typically, these devices include a force receiving area which is usually called a pad, blocking pad, or dummy, and two common routines practiced on these devices are the runner block and the pass block. With the runner block, the routine starts by having the subject move forward, toward the pad, and the athlete asserts as much force to the pad with their shoulder, forearms, or hands, as the subject is able to, while driving the pad with the subjects legs for a specified period of time. With the pass block, the routine starts by having the subject take a position with their back towards the pad, and the subject then moves backwards, until the pad is contacted.
  • [0028]
    At present, relatively few systems can objectively measure the ability of an athlete, or measure the performance increase or decrease therein. In addition, it would be highly beneficial for a coach or other training professional to evaluate an athlete's ability through a standardized system utilizing objectively obtained data. In this manner, an athlete could be evaluated for performance in a strictly objective manner that has heretofore been unknown. The use of a device which objectively measures an athlete's performance or skill can greatly assist not only athletes in reaching their potential, but also the trainers in evaluating and assessing an athletes ability.
  • [0029]
    The disadvantages and drawbacks of the prior art are overcome through the athletic training apparatus 2 of the present invention (FIGS. 1-4) which includes a generally horizontal base 10 which is adapted to be positioned on a ground surface. The training apparatus also includes a first sensor 31 that is operably connected to base 10, whereby when an athlete is positioned on a first portion 12 of base 10, first sensor 31 measures the weight of the athlete. A force receiving area 50 is also included as part of training apparatus 2. The force receiving area 50 is typically disposed above base 10 in proximity to one end 16 thereof. A second sensor 51 is operably connected to force receiving area 50, and when the athlete exerts a force on force receiving area 50, second sensor 51 measures the force exerted by the athlete. In addition, a third sensor 72 may also be operably connected to base 10, wherein the second and third sensors, 51 and 72, respectively, are adapted to measure a time it takes the athlete to move a fixed distance on base 10. Although the training apparatus may be developed to simply measure the aforementioned weight, force, and time values, apparatus 2 may also be operably connected to and communicate with a computer 91, wherein first sensor 31 communicates the weight measurement, second sensor 51 communicates the force measurement, and at least third sensor 72 communicates the time measurement. As such, computer 91 can calculate a performance factor F utilizing each of the results from the first, second, and third sensors in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor, the force is determined from the second sensor, and the time is determined from at least the third sensor.
  • [0030]
    In one preferred embodiment, athletic training apparatus 2 may take on the form of a typical tackling, blocking or leg drive apparatus, have a generally rectangular shape, and be fabricated from a rigid material such as steel into a generally unitary configuration. However, the shape of athletic training apparatus 2 may vary according to specific requirements and need not be rectangular in configuration. Further, although one preferred embodiment of athletic training apparatus 2 is fabricated from a rigid material, other materials, pliable or rigid, may be used. In addition, although this particular embodiment of athletic training apparatus 2 is fabricated into a generally unitary configuration which is portable, multiple piece configurations may also be utilized and further, apparatus 2 may be stationary.
  • [0031]
    As best illustrated by FIGS. 1-2, the athletic training apparatus 2 of the present invention includes a generally horizontal base 10 that is adapted to be positioned on a ground surface. Base 10 includes a first portion 12 proximate to a first end 14, and a second portion 24 proximate a second end 16. In one preferred embodiment, base 10 can be further subdivide into an upper portion 18 for supporting an athlete thereon, and a lower portion 19 for supporting the upper portion as well as supporting apparatus 2 on the ground surface. Upper and lower surfaces 18 and 19, will typically be separated by one or more sensors 31, described in more detail below. As illustrated by FIG. 3, in one preferred embodiment this separation is accomplished by having lower portion 19 resting on the ground surface, having first sensor 31 resting on lower portion 19, and having upper portion 18 resting on sensor 31. This sandwiched style assembly maintains alignment by having pins 22 of lower portion 19 closely received and in alignment with apertures 23 of upper portion 18. Again, base 10 may be subdivided into more than one portion. As illustrated, one preferred embodiment includes a first portion 12 and second portion 24, wherein second portion 24 may have one or more additional sensors 32 if required. Base 10 also includes pad base 40 for receiving thereon pad support 41 which support pad 50 in proximity to second end 16 base 10.
  • [0032]
    The specific configuration and features of base 10 may vary according to the requirements of the end user. In one preferred embodiment, base 10 is generally rectangular in shape and is fabricated into a multi-zoned configuration, wherein each portion 12 and 24 has a width of from about 3 feet to about 5 feet, and a length of from about 3 feet to about 12 feet. However, the shape and size of athletic training apparatus 2 may vary, need not be rectangular in configuration, and may be shorter or longer as the requirements dictate. Further, although one preferred embodiment of base 10 is fabricated into a multi-zone configuration, a single zone may be utilized. Still further yet, first portion 12, second portion 24, and pad base 40 may all be made to be either integral with each other or separate therefrom. In one preferred embodiment, base 10 and base 40 are fabricated to be assembled into a single or unitary configuration.
  • [0033]
    As best illustrated by FIG. 3, first sensor 31 is operably connected to base 10. As described above, one such connection may be accomplished by having first sensor 31 rest on lower portion 19, and having upper portion 18 rest on sensor 31 in a floating or sandwich style assembly which is kept in alignment by pins 22 and apertures 23. First sensor 31 may be any type or style of a sensor and may measure various attributes. However, in one preferred embodiment first sensor 31 is used to measure the weight of the athlete when the athlete is positioned on first portion 12 of base 10. For example, when an athlete is disposed on and in their initial blocking stance on first portion 12, sensor 31 can measure the weight of the athlete. Of course, sensor 31 may also be disposed separate from base 10. For example, a separate scale may be used to measure the weight of the athlete, wherein the athlete's weight is recorded on sensor 31 either before or after the athlete performs the blocking maneuvers on base 10.
  • [0034]
    First sensor 31 may be any type or style of a sensor that is capable of measuring, among other things, weight. However, in one preferred embodiment sensor 31 is a load cell including a centrally located sensor 31 having a generally X-shaped body or frame 34. The X-shaped frame of sensor 31 allows sensor 31 to more accurately read the athletes weight, when positioned on first portion 12, even when the athlete is not positioned centrally over sensor 31. Of course this can be accomplished in various others ways, as for example by using multiple sensors, and is not meant to be limiting.
  • [0035]
    A force receiving area such as a pad, blocking pad, or dummy 50 is positioned in close proximity to one end of base 10, typically second end 16. In one preferred embodiment pad 50 is rigidly affixed to pad base 40, and base 40 is rigidly affixed to base 10 proximate second end 16. This configuration allows little to no relative movement between base 10 and pad 50. Of course, pad 50 may be attached directly to second end 16 if so desired. Naturally, if the requirements dictate, pad 50 may be operably connected to or positioned near base 10 to allow movement therebetween.
  • [0036]
    Pad 50 may be any type or size receiving area. In one preferred embodiment, pad 50 is generally rectangular, from about 4 inches to about 8 inches wide, from about 1 foot to about 3 feet in height, and from about 2 inches to about 8 inches in thickness. However, the shape and size of pad 50 may vary, and the configuration need not be rectangular, and may be shorter or longer as the requirements dictate.
  • [0037]
    A generally rigid plate 42 connects pad 50 to an arm 44. For example, plate 42 may be fabricated from plate steel having a thickness of from about 0.250 inches to about 0.500 inches. Further, arm 44 rigidly connects plate 42 at a first end 45, and a second 46 is adjacently disposed to second sensor 51. In one preferred embodiment, arm 44 is a tube having a diameter of from about 1.0 inch to about 8.0 inches, and is closely received within an outer tube 47. For example, a clearance of about 0.005 inches may be utilized. Although arm 44 and outer tube 47 may be fabricated for sliding engagement if so required, as discussed above, they are generally not slidingly engaged and outer tube 47 is closely received and mounted within arm 44 in a static manner. Further, in this preferred embodiment, plate 42 and sensor 51 may be disposed from about 1 foot to about 3 feet from each other. Again however, the shape, size, and distance of plate 42, arm 44 and outer tube 47 may vary according to specific requirements and this is in no way meant to be limiting.
  • [0038]
    As described above, second sensor 51 is operably connected to pad 50, through plate 42, arm 44, and outer tube 47. In this exemplary configuration, when the athlete exerts a force against pad 50, for example when the athlete “blocks” pad 50 as is typically done on a standard blocking machine, the force is transferred to second sensor 51 to be measured. Sensor 51 can also be used for an additional time measurements. For example, the initial time of impact may be recorded, or the duration of the impact may be recorded. Further yet, weight sensor 31 (or 32 if so provided) can also be utilized to measure the force exerted by the athletes legs on base 10 during the interval when the athlete is applying force to pad 50. These additional measurements may also be used in the performance analysis.
  • [0039]
    Second sensor 51 may be any type or style of sensor and may measure various attributes. However, in the preferred embodiment second sensor 51 is fabricated to measure the force exerted against pad 50 as well as the initial time of impact. For example, when an athlete blocks pad 50, sensor 51 may record the initial time of the exerted force, the amount of exerted force, and the duration of the exerted force. In one preferred embodiment, sensor 31 is a load cell adapted to measure these various values. Obviously, the specific characteristics of sensor 51 may vary according to specific requirements and this is in no way meant to be limiting.
  • [0040]
    A third sensor 72 may also be included with athletic training apparatus 2. Sensor 72 may be used, for example, to measure the time it takes an athlete to traverse a fixed distance on base 10. Although one or more sensors 72 may be utilized, the preferred embodiment utilizes sensor 72 in conjunction with sensor 51 to measure the time the athlete takes to traverse the fixed distance. This is accomplished by utilizing sensor 72 to measure the athlete's movement, at a fixed location proximate first end 14, while sensor 51 measures the initial impact on pad 50. Since pad 50 is disposed a fixed, known, distance from sensor 72, since the time when the athlete passes sensor 72 is known, and since the time when the athlete first makes contact with pad 50 is known, the time it takes the athlete to traverse this fixed distance is known. As such, this time can be used in objectively analyzing the athletes performance and the athletes speed, among other things, can know be calculated. For example, when the athlete initiates movement towards pad 50 at a point D0, sensor 72 may be tripped to indicate an initial time T0. As the athlete travels a specified distance D1 to pad 50 and makes contact with pad 50, sensor 51 may record this time as T1. Hence, the time T it took the athlete to traverse the fixed distance D, wherein D=D1−D0, is known from T=T1−T0. Additionally, a sensor 71 may also be included which will determine if the athlete is in the correct position before the blocking or other routine is carried out. For example, an indicator such as a sound can be played to indicate when the athlete is in the correct position before the athlete is signaled to start the routine. Therefore, by utilizing sensors 31, 51, 71, and 72 the initial positioning of the athlete, the movement of the athlete, the time the athlete took to traverse a specified distance, and the total time the athlete took to reach pad 50 can be objectively determined. As such, the weight of the athlete, the speed of the athlete, the acceleration of the athlete, the various times of the athlete, and/or the force exerted by the athlete can be calculated, recorded and objectively analyzed.
  • [0041]
    Sensors 71 and 72 may be any type or style of a sensor that are capable of measuring, among other things, movement and/or time. In one preferred embodiment sensors 71 and 72 may be photoelectric eyes, cameras, or light curtains. Of course, numerous other sensors may be utilized, and this is in no way meant to be limiting. Additionally, sensors 71 and 72 may also be movable along base 10 for maximum flexibility.
  • [0042]
    Although the training apparatus may be designed to merely measure the aforementioned weight, force, and time values, one preferred embodiment of athletic training apparatus 2 is operably connected to, communicates with, and records to a computer 91. As such, first sensor 31 communicates the weight measurement, second sensor 51 communicates at least the force measurement, and third sensor 72, if provided, will communicate a time measurement to computer 91 for recordation, display, further calculation, and/or analysis. For example, computer 91 may utilize these various measurements to calculate the weight, speed, and exerted force of the athlete, and further, computer 91 may display the results numerically or graphically on monitor 94. After receiving the measurements from sensors 31, 51, and 72, computer 91 may also utilize the measurements to calculate a performance factor F in the equation (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, wherein the weight is determined from the first sensor 31, the force is determined from the second sensor 51, and the time is determined from either the third sensor 72, or the third sensor 72 in conjunction with second sensor 51, as described previously. Therefore, by utilizing only a few sensors and a single machine, the weight, speed, acceleration, time, and the force exerted by the athlete can be objectively calculated, recorded and objectively analyzed. Further, a single numerical value or performance factor F can be created from these various measurements, allowing the trainer a single number or factor 160 (see FIG. 5), whereby the player may be objectively measured and compared. Additionally, performance measure 160 can be analyzed over time to determine if the player's performance remains the same, increases, or decreases. Further yet, with extensive use and analysis with machine 2, a player's career ability could be indicated by initial use of the machine. For example, a player's performance factor 160 would be calculated after initial use of the machine and performance factor 160 would be compared to other athlete's known or previously recorded performance factors. This would allow the trainer a simple tool that could be used, in whole or in part, to decide which players will make the team, get scholarships, etc.
  • [0043]
    Athletic apparatus 2 is used by having the athlete weighed on a weight sensor or scale 31. Sensor 31 may be either separate from machine 2 (for example a separate scale) or, in a more preferred embodiment, part of apparatus 2. In this embodiment, the unit works by having the athlete position himself on first portion 12 of base 10, wherein first portion 12 will have weight sensor 31 disposed therein so as to automatically read the athletes weight when the athlete is disposed thereon in a first position (i.e. the initial blocking stance). As the athlete assumes this starting position or stance, sensor 71 will sense whether or not the athlete is in the correct position and may indicate this, for example, by an audible sound. The athlete will either self-initiate the blocking operation, or be instructed to do so by an external source. As the athlete moves from the initial starting position to some intermediate position, third sensor 72 will be triggered as the athlete passes the sensor, whereby the sensor will be used to start an internal or external clock (for example time=T0). Additionally, first sensor 31 will be able to record this initial start of the athlete because weight sensor 31 will record a spike; the spike being caused by the athlete's initial acceleration against base 10. Therefore, sensor 31 may alternatively, or in addition to sensor 51, be used to calculate the initial time T0. The player will then continue to accelerate and move towards pad 50 until initial contact with pad 50 is made. At this point, sensor 72 may be adapted to measure this initial contact and time (time=T1) or alternatively, second sensor 51 may be used for calculating this second time measurement, in addition to the exerted force. For example, when the athlete initiates movement towards pad 50 at some point D0 (typically the athlete initial stance), sensor 72 may be tripped to indicate an initial time T0. As the athlete travels a specified distance D1 (for example the distance from D0 to pad 50) and makes contact with pad 50, sensor 51 may record this time as T1. Hence, the time T it takes the athlete to traverse the fixed distance D, wherein D=D1−D0, is known from T=T1−T0. Further, since the distance D and the time T are known, additional factors may be calculated, for example, for speed and acceleration of the athlete. However, sensor 51 will also be used to determine and record the force exerted by the athlete on pad 50, and the time duration of the exerted force. Typically, the player will exert a force against pad 50 with his upper body or shoulder such that when the player “blocks” pad 50, measuring device 51 will record the reading.
  • [0044]
    During the “block”, the various factors described above are recorded and can then be used to determine and evaluate the player's performance. This is accomplished because the machine has recorded the weight of the player, the time of the player, and the force exerted by the player. These various factors can be analyzed on their own or alternatively, a formula, as for example, (weight÷time)*force=F÷100, may be utilized in order to arrive at a performance number or factor 160. Consequently, an athlete's performance can be objectively determined by utilizing the training apparatus of the present invention. For example, by using the present invention an athlete's response to a particular workout regime (i.e. the athletes increase or decrease in weight, response time, and exerted force) can be objectively and consistently measured. Of course, the data can be used for numerous reasons and in many ways. For instance, the data may be used to determine how well an injury is healing, whether the player is being effected by outside factors (drugs, Physicological factors, etc.), to analyze and determine the players initial performance, or their performance over time. This is particularly useful as a player's initial response may be measured, and then subsequently measured during the training season. As the machine will record these various readings and factors over time, the player's performance can be graphed to indicate whether the players performance is increasing or decreasing, and player's routine can then be adjusted such that the player is always working at peak performance. However, the machine can also be used in numerous other ways. To whit, the machine gives athletes and their trainers a powerful tool to objectively, accurately, and consistently track the performance of their players. Furthermore, it is even envisioned that with extensive use and analysis with this machine, a player's career ability could be indicated by initial use of the machine. This may be accomplished be utilizing the performance factor to determine a factor of initial performance that may characterize the ability of an athlete upon a single use of the present invention. This would allow the coaches a simple tool which could then be used, in whole or in part, to decide which players will make the team, get scholarships, etc.
  • [0045]
    The present invention also includes a method for measuring the performance of an athlete. The method can be practiced with or without the aforementioned athletic machine and includes utilizing a first sensor 31 to determine the weight of an athlete, and communicating the weight to a computer 91, wherein computer 91 records the weight measurement. The athlete then initiates movement, the movement typically being a standard blocking maneuver as is done on a standard blocking and tackling machine which are well known in the art. The athlete then exerts force against a pad 50 or other item, and a second sensor 51 records the exerted force and communicates the force to computer 91. The athlete's time is then measured by one or more third sensors 72, from some first position to some intermediate or final position, and the time is communicated to and recorded by computer 91. The computer 91 than applies an algorithm or formula 150 in the form of (weight÷time)*force=F+100 utilizing each of the results from the first 31, second 51, and third sensors 72 and determines a performance factor 160 based on the input of the first 31, second 51, and third sensors 71 results.
  • [0046]
    As best illustrated by FIG. 5, the above described method for measuring the performance of an athlete can be practiced in conjunction with the aforementioned athletic machine, wherein the method 110 includes measuring the weight, acceleration, and exerted force of an athlete on an apparatus 2 which includes a generally horizontal base 10 having a first end 14 and a second end 16, wherein base 10 is adapted to be disposed on a ground surface. A first sensor 31 is disposed at first end 14, and is operably connected to base 10 such that when the athlete is positioned on a first portion 12 on base 10, first sensor 31 measures the weight of the athlete. The apparatus also includes a force receiving area 50 adapted to be disposed above base 10 in proximity with the second end 16 thereof. A second sensor is also operably connected to force receiving area 50 such that when an athlete exerts a force on force receiving area 50, second sensor 51 measures the force exerted by the athlete. A computer 91 is provided and operably connected to base 10 for communication with the first, second, and third sensors, 31, 51 and 72, respectively, and adapted to record the measurements from the sensors and graphically display one or more results. As illustrated by FIG. 5, the method includes having a technician start the computer and checks for proper operation (118). The technician will then type in a subjects vital information on a profile page (122), and the subject steps onto an electronic scale or sensor 31 in the basic model, or onto base 10 of a deluxe model, to record the subject's weight. This data is then saved into a data profile (126). Any number of tests or sequences can be used in this method. Two such tests are the “run block” and the “pass block” (130). With the run block, the subject begins the test by assuming the proper stance, for example a three or four-point-stance as is known in the art, and upon assuming this stance the subjects helmet activates a pre-stage test sensor 71. An audible sound may be generated by pre-stage sensor 71 if the athlete is not in the correct position. With the pass block, the subject assumes a position with their back towards pad 50 and the subjects helmet activates pre-stage sensor 71 (130). The subject is then instructed begin the test (134). With the run block, the subject begins the test by moving forward until the subjects helmet activates sensor 72 and applies either the right or left shoulder, forearms, or hands to pad 50 while driving with their legs for the required period of time. With the pass block, the subject assumes a position with their back towards pad 50. Again, the subjects helmet activates pre-stage sensor 71. The test begins when the subject moves backwards until pad 50 contacted (138). The technician then saves the test results. For example, the time required to contact pad 50 and the force output curve over the required time (on the base model) as well as leg drive force and frequency on the deluxe model, to the subject data profile (142). Finally, the data is analyzed (146).
  • [0047]
    Advantageously, the athletic training apparatus of the present invention allows an athlete's performance to be objectively recorded, and analyzed. Objective measurement of athletic ability is particularly beneficial for training since this provides the athlete with the ability to identify those abilities and skills which require the most attention, and to measure the performance increase thereof. In addition, it is highly advantageous for a coach or other training professional, and useful to evaluate a player's ability through a standardized system utilizing objectively obtained data. In this manner, an athlete may be evaluated for performance, as well as against other athletes, in a strictly objective manner that has heretofore been unknown. The use of this device allows for objectively measuring an athlete's performance and skill and can greatly assist not only athletes in reaching their potential, but also the trainers in evaluating and assessing the athlete's ability.
  • [0048]
    The solutions offered by the invention herein have thus been attained in an economical, practical, and facile manner. To whit, a novel athletic training apparatus which is able to objectively measure an athlete's performance has been invented. While preferred embodiments and example configurations of the inventions have been herein illustrated, shown, and described, it is to be appreciated that various changes, rearrangements, and modifications may be made therein, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims. It is intended that the specific embodiments and configurations disclosed herein are illustrative of the preferred and best modes for practicing the invention, and should not be interpreted as limitations on the scope of the invention as defined by the claims, and it is to appreciated that various changes, rearrangements, and modifications may be made therein, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims.
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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.482/8, 482/54
Clasificación internacionalA63B22/02, A63B71/00
Clasificación cooperativaA63B2220/53, A63B69/345, A63B2220/51, A63B2243/007, A63B2230/01
Clasificación europeaA63B69/34F