Patent application title: Coaching aid
Rory Peter Gatenby (Calgary, CA)
IPC8 Class: AA63B6900FI
Class name: Education and demonstration physical education
Publication date: 2010-11-04
Patent application number: 20100279261
A coaching aid system includes a white board fashioned to resemble a sport
playing surface for a team sport and at least a first set of player
figurines. The first set of play figurines may include at least as many
player figurines as the number of team players would occupy said sport
playing surface during play of the sport. Each player figurine is
configured to resemble a unique playing position and stance unique to
that position within the number of team players. Advantageously the first
set of player figurines includes a greater number of player figurines
than the number of team members so as to provide at least one substitute
player figurine for at least one of the unique playing positions. Each
unique playing position figurine is in a nuanced player stance
corresponding to a player stance in that player position chosen from a
group of different scenarios.
1. A coaching aid system comprising of a white board fashioned to a
resemble a sport playing surface for a team sport wherein at least a
first set of player figurines are provided and wherein said first set of
player figurines includes at least as many said player figurines as the
number of team players which would occupy said sport playing surface
during play of said sport, wherein each said player figurine is
configured to resemble a unique playing position and stance unique to
that position within said number of team players.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein said first set includes a greater number of said player figurines than said number of team members so as to provide at least one substitute said player figurine for at least one of said unique playing positions, wherein for that said unique playing position said at least one said substitute player figurine is in a nuanced player stance corresponding to a player stance in that player position chosen from a group of different playing scenarios.
3. The system of claim 2 further comprising a second set of player figurines substantially resembling said first set of player figurines so as to provide a corresponding opposing second team for use on said white-board opposing a first team corresponding to said first set.
4. The system of claim 3 wherein said team sport is ice hockey, wherein said playing surface resembles a hockey rink, and wherein said first set provides a center-forward, a left winger, a right winger, two defensemen, and a goal tender, group of different play scenarios include play scenarios chosen from the group comprising: power plays, penalty-killing plays, break-out plays, three-on-two plays, two-on two plays, three-on-one plays, two-on-one plays, one-on-one plays, break-away plays, give-and-go plays, end-run plays, checking plays, body-checking, poke checking, sweep checking, face-off plays.
5. The system of claim 4 wherein said nuanced player stance is chosen from the group including: a protecting the puck with the body stance, a forward facing defensive stance for a defenseman, a forward attacking straight-on to the goal stance for a center, a close-in to deceive the goal tender stance for a forward in proximity to the goal crease, a sweep check stance, a poke-check stance, a body checking stance for the attacker, a body checking stance for the receiver of the check, a face-off stance for a I 0 center taking a face-off, an attacker stance for a forward standing in front of the opponents goal crease, an attacker stance for a forward standing in the opponents high slot in front of the opponents goal, a defenseman's stance engaging an attacker standing in front of the defenseman's goal, a protective stance for a winger entering a corner of the rink to retrieve a puck in the corner when pursued into the corner by an opposing defenseman.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to the field of visual aids for coaching sports and in particular to a three dimensional coaching aid employing nuanced three dimensional sports figurines in the form of substitutable action figurines for substituting into various sports team positions to depict play nuances in various scenarios encountered during play as replicated on a correspondingly sized white-board play field, rink, court, etcetera.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Many sports are difficult to teach, especially to children. Sports such as ice hockey, basketball, and football as any coach training athletes in those sports knows, requires attention to, firstly, basics such as correct stance in body position and correct timing during basic plays, and secondly, correct nuances, correct movements, correct situational awareness, and correct inter-play between team members in the many varied play developments and special circumstances and scenarios that occur that have to be mastered over and above basic playing.
Coaches' conventionally use team practices to impart skills, including basic skills to their players. Players showing skill, aptitude, experience, and, appropriate size, fitness, speed and agility, determination and willingness to learn become those players who are favoured by coaches and placed into critical positions during play.
For most players, conventionally they can only improve what they have the ability to control, in order to gain skills, ability, fitness etcetera relative to their teammates and relative to the players on other teams and so to gain playing positions of greater responsibility, and greater play time. Thus what conventionally players can control outside of actual on-field, on-court or on-ice practice time is strength and fitness, and practice of only rudimentary playing skills. For example, a hockey player may in order to practice at home repeatedly shoot pucks into a statically protected net or shoot basketballs into undefended hoops and like basic activities that may be conducted at home.
In addition, many coaches employ so-called white-boards is the team locker-rooms to outline the basic expected play positioning and movement of the players in a given play situation. Players are often represented by "X"s and "O"s which are removably marked by so-called dry-erase markers on the whiteboard to represent the players of the two teams in play. Movements of the various players are often represented by arrows marked on the whiteboard. For any particular "X" or "O" in any particular movement or position, if the coach wants to instruct the corresponding actual players in the locker-room on the correct stance, movement, or other nuance to give those players the benefit of the coaches' experience, the coach must typically model or mimic the correct stance, movement, or other nuance, while standing in front of the whiteboard. This is equally as likely to cause laughter as to actually teach anything to the players.
In the prior art of which applicant is aware, certain embellishments have been made on the traditional whiteboard method of teaching. For example, as disclosed by Bailey in his U.S. Pat. No. 6,464,507, the whiteboard may be made from vinyl magnetic sheet and single magnetic disc-shaped markers are provided to represent the players and the puck or ball. The discs adhere magnetically and removably to the board and so may be moved around to represent positional play. In applicant view, Bailey has merely substituted magnetic discs for "X"s and "O"s marked directly on the board. What Bailey lacks, as does the marking of conventional white boards, is the ability to demonstrate the correct stance, movement, or other nuance without the coach either modelling same or trying to draw a depiction showing the required nuance to be taught.
For example, using the sport of ice hockey as an example, and admittedly what follows is an over simplification, it is quite common that defensemen are typically physically large players, standing arranged in a typically side-by-side pair in front of the goal tender who is standing in the goal crease. The defensemen are the second-to-last line of defense. The forward of the opposing team, if they can elude the forwards of the defending team have then to somehow get around the defensemen who are waiting for them to advance towards the goal. There are typically three forwards on both teams, subject to removal of one or more players for penalties. Typically the forwards of both teams are lighter more agile players than the defensemen. Sometimes the forwards are physically smaller or shorter than the defensemen. Hence a straight forward or straight on assault by the advancing forwards, one of whom is carrying the puck, will usually not succeed save for exceptional solo puck-control, stick handling and deceptive skating skills which would allow the forward carrying the puck to carry straight on past a corresponding defenseman in a one-on-one contest.
More typically the advancing forwards will pass the puck, which moves with much greater speed relative to the reaction time and skating speed of a defending player, so as pass the puck amongst the advancing forwards to throw the defensemen into disarray or to deceive the defensemen as to who will make a puck-carrying drive for the net. Quite often at least one defenseman will be drawn slightly out of position or be caught relatively flat-footed, up-ice and too far in front of the defenseman's own goal, and an advancing forward skating very quickly, for example along the one side of the rink or the other (typically, the so-called wingers) will be passed the puck from, for example, and advancing centrally positioned forward (typically the so-called center) or from the advancing defensemen of the team having control of the puck. The winger thus receiving the pass may use his speed and momentum, and his acceleration and agility to skate in a curved trajectory looping around the relatively slower defensemen, so as to arc in towards the goal and goal-tender thereby doing an end-run around the defensemen.
Once approaching the net, the player advancing on the net with the puck, the winger in this case, will typically have a relatively high closing velocity with the net and goal-tender and must with agility and trained deceptiveness and accuracy firstly lure the goal-tender into leaving an exposed hole or unprotected avenue for the puck to be shot by the winger past the goal tender and into the net, and secondly deliver an accurate shot so as to shoot the puck through the exposed hole or unprotected avenue and into the net. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the coaching arts that, even in this grossly simplified description of a goal scoring play in the sport of ice hockey, that the defenseman will not typically stand idly by and let the winger merely skate by with the puck (unless they play for Vancouver). One of the defensemen will typically turn in pursuit and attempt to cut across the path of the winger as the winger curves in from the side of the rink to the goal (which is positioned at the very end and in the center of the rink). Because the winger has a relatively longer distance to cover in trying to do his end-run around the defenseman, even though the winger may be moving faster than the defenseman, the defenseman only has a shorter distance to travel in order to cut-off the approach of the winger.
The skilled nuance the coach must then have taught the winger is the proper body position or stance to take while accelerating for the goal in order to protect the puck with the wingers body so as to protect the puck from being swept or poke-checked away by the defenseman. If those checks are not successful, the defenseman may try to bodily force the winger off course and possibly into a body-check against the so-called boards. The boards provide a solid perimeter fence around the rink. Thus the winger has to keep the puck tucked in and protected on the side of the winger opposite that of the approaching defenseman, and has to adapt the appropriate typically crouched, skating stance to counter any bodily push by the defenseman, tying to drive the winger into the boards after which the winger may have successfully slipped by the defenseman so as to advance on the goal tender. Once in short proximity to the goal tender the winger typically will try to appear to draw the puck past the front of the goal tender and instead shoot the puck under or on the near side of the goal tender, or visa-versa and appear to shoot for the near side of the goal and instead try to draw the puck from its protected position away from the defenseman and forward to the front of the winger so as to draw the puck quickly across the front of the goal tender before the goal tender can fully react the winger may then shoot the puck in the far side of the net before the goal tender can cover. Again the above is a gross simplification, but, it is intended to be illustrative of the complexities of sports such as hockey, football, basketball etcetera which involve close-in almost hand-to-hand sparring and skirmishing between players of opposing teams.
Other hockey scenarios which come to mind, of which there are many to choose from, would involve the nuances in so-called clearing plays for a team to use to escape with the puck from their own end so as to advance into their opponents end of the rink, so-called penalty killing plays where a team which has the puck is disadvantaged by being short one or more players for a short period of time due to penalties, so-called power plays where a team which has the puck has a one or more man advantage due to a penalty or penalties of the opposing team, etcetera. It will be appreciated that teaching the nuances associated with the above plays cannot be taught by the use of merely a white-board, or a modified white-board such as disclosed in the Bailey patent. Thus it is an object of the present invention to provide a system combining the benefits of a white-board with devices in the form of specialized action figures to depict the nuances associated with the various nuanced aspects of such sports as hockey, football, basketball, etcetera.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In summary the coaching aid system according to one aspect of the present invention may be characterized as including a white board fashioned to a resemble a sport playing surface for a team sport and at least a first set of player figurines. The first set of player figurines may include at least as many player figurines as the number of team players which would occupy said sport playing surface during play of the sport. Each player figurine is configured to resemble a unique playing position and stance unique to that position within the number of team players. Advantageously the first set of player figurines includes a greater number of player figurines than the number of team members so as to provide at least one substitute player figurine for at least one of the unique playing positions. For each unique playing position each substitute player figurine is in a nuanced player stance corresponding to a player stance in that player position chosen from a group of different playing scenarios. A second set of player figurines, substantially resembling the first set of player figurines, may be provided so as to provide a corresponding opposing second team for use on the white-board opposing a first team corresponding to the first set.
One example of the team sport is ice hockey. Thus the playing surface resembles a hockey rink, and the first set provides a center-forward, a left winger, a right winger, two defensemen, and a goal tender. The group of different play scenarios may include play scenarios chosen from the group including: power plays, penalty-killing plays, break-out plays, three-on-two plays, two-on two plays, three-on-one plays, two-on-one plays, one-on-one plays, break-away plays, give-and-go plays, end-run plays, checking plays, body-checking, poke checking, sweep checking, face-off plays. Advantageously, and by way of non-limiting example, the nuanced player stances are chosen from the group including: a protecting the puck with the body stance, a forward facing defensive stance for a defenseman, a forward attacking straight-on to the goal stance for a center, a close-in to deceive the goal tender stance for a forward in proximity to the goal crease, a sweep check stance, a poke-check stance, a body checking stance for the attacker, a body checking stance for the receiver of the check, a face-off stance for a center taking a face-off, an attacker stance for a forward standing in front of the opponents goal crease, an attacker stance for a forward standing in the opponents high slot in front of the opponents goal, a defenseman's stance engaging an attacker standing in front of the defenseman's goal, a protective stance for a winger entering a corner of the rink to retrieve a puck in the corner when pursued into the corner by an opposing defenseman.
The figurines allow for teaching proper body positioning and stick placement. The figurines allow the child player or coach to move the player figurines to recreate different scenarios and to easily show proper and improper technique. The figures accommodate different types of learners, in particular, visual, auditory and tactile. The figurines allow active involvement for the tactile learners as they move and position the players around the playing surface. The figurines allow for a playful realism that keeps the student player's interest. The coaching aid system according to the present invention may be used by parents. The different figurines can be substituted in for different scenarios. In addition, in one preferred embodiment, the white board may be folded up for ease of transport.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a representation of a player other than the center in a face off stance awaiting dropping of the puck.
FIG. 1a is, in plan view, a white board depicting a hockey rink.
FIG. 2 is a representation of a center forward taking a face off, awaiting dropping of the puck.
FIG. 3 is a representation of a defenseman skating backwards facing an oncoming attacker.
FIG. 4 is a representation of an advancing forward receiving or giving a pass.
FIG. 5 is a representation of a defenseman at the blue line taking a slap shot.
FIG. 6 is a representation of a defenseman commencing a sweep check.
FIG. 7 is a representation of a player accelerating along the ice while looking up at the play and ready to receive a pass.
FIG. 8 is a representation of a defenseman completing a sweep check.
FIG. 9 is a representation of a player during a fight in a grapple stance grappling with a player of the opposing side (not shown).
FIG. 10 is a representation of a player in a ready-to-fight stance having dropped his gloves and ready to either grapple or throw a punch.
FIG. 11 is a representation of a goaltender facing an oncoming attacker or oncoming attacking play ready to respond to a shot on net.
FIG. 12 is a representation of a goaltender responding to a high shot on net while covering the net.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
A white board 10 as seen in FIG. 1a is demarked with the outline of a rink 12 used in ice hockey. Rink 12 contains a representation of an ice surface 14 on which are marked the various lines and circles used during play. In particular, rink 12 is bisected by center line 14a, on either side of which are parallel so called blue-lines 14b. Parallel to those in the rink end zones are goal lines 14c. Goal lines 14c lie across the front of the representations of goal nets 16, in front of which are marked goal creases 16a. The center face off circle 18a lies between blue-lines 14b. Four other face off circles 18b are spaced apart in the corners of rink 12 between the blue-lines 14b and the goal lines 14c. All hockey plays which occur in real life on a hockey link, are intended by the use of the present invention to be displayable on white board 10 within the confines of rink 12 given sufficiently large dimensions of the white board and rink and sufficiently detailed and nuanced sets of players as further described below.
The play of hockey as described herein, is meant to be exemplary only, and the principles and the scope of the present invention is intended to extend also to other sports which by the most accomplished players are played at a professional level, but which for the vast majority of players are being played in lower levels of play beneath that of the professional level wherein the players skills are not fully honed and therefore require coaching in order to improve. The present invention is for the most part directed to coaches teaching the vast majority of players, who, through practice and demonstration to the players will acquire further skills to aid in their development in the various sports including hockey, football, soccer, basketball, etc. It is an important object to the present invention to aid coaches teaching children at recreational levels in the various sports where it is, in applicants view, quite often the case that the children players will learn by first seeing what is required of them and then practice by mimicking what they have seen. It is the seeing-then-doing style of teaching and coaching to which the present invention is directed.
In the play of hockey, often from an early age onwards, players are taught firstly the fundamentals of skating and positional team play, and then those fundamentals are built upon by layering skills and play strategies over and over one upon the other as the players advance through the seniority levels, and within those seniority levels in varyingly higher skilled leagues depending upon there ability, etcetera. Thus a young player while improving his or her individual skating skills, stick handling skills, shooting skills which quite often are the subject of individual training, will also learn to play as a team and routinely practice team play in different play scenarios which routinely occur during a hockey game. Those may include power plays, penalty-killing plays, break-out plays for a team getting possession of the puck in their own end to advance the puck and play from their own end across the blue-lines so as to advance an attacking play on to the opposing teams goal, and upon successfully breaking out of their own end, using set up plays to head man the puck to the most forward player who is leading the advance. That player is supposed to cross the opposing teams blue-line without going off side. Thereafter that player transitions from the set up play to an attacking play such as, and depending on the number of attackers and defenders in the opposing teams end at that instant of play, three-on-two plays (meaning three forwards facing two defenders and a goal tender), two-on-two plays, three-on-one plays, two-on-one plays, and one-on-one plays. In some situations, the set up play may result in a break away by a sole forward breaking through the opposing team's defensive line (which for the purposes herein are referred to as break-away plays).
In all of the foregoing attacking plays, the forward (who may be a left or right winger or a center), or in some cases may actually be an attacking defenseman, will advance quickly up the ice to give or receive passes for example during give-and-go plays, in order to advance the puck around the opposing players and as the play advances in to the opposing teams end may also include end-run plays previously described. The defensemen facing the up-ice rush of the opposing team trying to advance the puck through the various break out plays, set up plays, and attack plays, will typically start from the blue-line of the opposing, now attacking, team and will back up from there across the center line, and continue to back up across their own blue-line skating backwards as the opposing team advances up the ice. The two defensemen will coordinate their efforts to firstly engage one of the defensemen as quickly as possible with the opposing player carrying the puck, while the remaining defenseman will provide a safety fall back if the opposing player manages to avoid the first defenseman. The remaining defenseman will also attempt to seal off other advancing forwards on the opposing team to prevent, or intercept passes made to those advancing forwards. The defenseman will during this time employ various forms of checking, for example open ice body checking, checking against the boards, and various forms of non-contact checking including poke-checking, and sweep checking. Many times during play, the play is halted by the referee for various infractions of the rules which result in the play restarting using a face-off. A face-off is typically between opposed-facing centers from both teams standing in the center of the appropriate face-off circle. Play starts when the referee drops the puck into the space between the opposed facing adjacent centers. These are often critical plays which will result in one team or the other obtaining possession of the puck. One of a center's critical skills is winning face-offs, and in that event, that center's team has to be ready to take advantage of gaining the puck to there after quickly go on the offensive. For the purposes herein, such face-offs and their immediate consequences are referred to as face-off plays. Depending on the position of the player involved in those face-off plays, each position will typically have a different role to play involving, as with all of the various plays, different positions, and different stances in those positions, depending on the unfolding scenario.
Once players have been coached by repetitive practicing of individual aspects of the various types of plays, the players will then have to learn and master many nuances which will then assist them in successfully putting the practice plays into an actual game with an equally practiced opposing team. The nuances are numerous. Some of the nuances have been described above. Many more exist as would be known to a skilled coach. The present invention uses figurines showing the nuances. Different figurines represent not only individual position on the team but the various nuanced stances to be taken by the various position in the various plays which occur during play.
Thus in the accompanying figures various stances which are not intended to be limiting are depicted. The figures are intended to represent the use of a three dimensional figurine which is typically sized in proper proportion to the size of rink 12. Thus with sufficient attention to the detail of the figurines, young players may learn nuances of stance and positional play by looking at relatively small detailed figurines. The figurines may advantageously form part of an easily transportable set of figurines to be used by a coach for example travelling on the road to away games. At the home ice rink, a set of figurines of much larger size and a corresponding much larger white board 10 depicting a much larger rink 12, may be used in the home ice locker room. For example the figurines may stand approximately 10 inches high in which case then rink 12 would be depicted on for example at least a 4 foot by 8 foot white board. The puck would also be sized accordingly so as to reflect the proper relative dimensions. Thus in a very small sized set of figurines, the puck would be relatively small also.
Without intending to be limiting, properly sized and nuanced figurines and a properly sized puck assists in the teaching of the nuance of where to place the puck relative to the puck carriers position and stance in any particular play scenario, again depending on where the opposing team players may themselves be positioned. So for example, discussing the individual case of a right wing position, firstly in an advanced set of figurines, the right winger might be depicted by a three dimensional figurine showing a right banded player. The set may also include a substitute right winger who is a left a handed player however unusual that may be. Similarly with a set of figurines for the left winger position, in an advanced set, figurines may show both the correct stances and nuances for a left banded winger and a substitute set for a right handed winger.
For both left and right winger positions, a set of substitute figurines would be available to place on the white board depending on where the player was positioned and the correct stance to be assumed in that position and in the corresponding play being taught. So given the above example of a winger on the attack doing an end-run play around the opposing defensemen, the winger figurine which would be taken from the set and placed by the coach onto the white board would be the winger figurine showing the correct end run stance, that is, in this case showing the player accelerating in a curve from along the side boards towards the net of the opposing team while protecting the puck with the wingers body as an opposing defenseman attempts to check the winger. So in this case, the winger figurine would be formed in an accelerating crouch with the stick on the opposite side of the defenseman. The figurines would be so placed on the white-board. The puck would be placed so as to be safely carried by the wingers stick while the winger may be extending the wingers arm closest to the defenseman outwardly toward the defenseman. The defenseman figurine in that case may reflect firstly that the defenseman is physically larger than the winger and that the defenseman is still either skating backwards or has turned from skating backwards and is directly accelerating towards the end-running winger so as to cut of the wingers approach to the goal.
Thus as may be seen and will be appreciated, depending on the complexity of the set there may be a greater number of lesser number of figurines for each position to be substituted onto the white board to show the nuances of a particular stance and aspect of a particular play. The basic substitute figurines for any particular position may show for example the proper stances for a defenseman, including proper slap shot stance when standing on the opposing team's blue-line, and a proper reverse skating stance in an open position when standing between the defenseman's goal and the on rushing opposing team's forwards. Other figurines would be formed to show for example the proper stance in such basics as high acceleration turns in order to properly get positioned during, for example, a set up play to receive a pass, proper defensive positions for defensemen when standing in front of their own goal with an opposing teams forward advancing with the puck from the corner where the defensemen has to cover both the scenario where the forward with the puck will advance directly onto the goal or the forward with the puck may pass to another of his forwards who are positioning themselves in the goal behind the defending defenseman, or where during an end run by an opposing winger, a defenseman cannot intercept in time and can only then attempt a sweep check with out tripping the advancing winger. Other figurines would show correct face-off stance for training positional play during face-off plays, intercepting back checking stances to appropriately check from a side on or from the rear against an advancing opponent having the puck for example during the opposing team set up play crossing between the blue lines, the correct winger stance when during a set up play, the winger has the puck and is setting up either to pass or to carry across the opposing teams blue line for either an end run play by the winger or for a pass to for example an advancing center to hopefully pass into a break away play or into a give and go play or into a drop-pass play which, in variation of the give-and-go play the winger drops the puck backwards once crossing over the opposing teams blue line so as to leave the puck to a trailing team mate who then takes control of the assault play as the winger for example accelerates to the goal crease to receive a further pass. Other figurines may show for example the correct stance during open ice acceleration during a set up play, so that the forwards who do not have the puck may accelerate into position for advancing one of the attack plays.
As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.
Patent applications in class PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Patent applications in all subclasses PHYSICAL EDUCATION