Patent application title: Basketball Training Device
Ulric S. Ward, Iii (Georgetown, GA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B6900FI
Class name: For game using apertured or pocketed goal or target (e.g., for hockey, soccer, polo, lacrosse, etc.) for game using elevated, horizontally disposed goal or target (e.g., for basketball, etc.) hoop-opening reducer or means for improving arch of ball shot toward goal or target
Publication date: 2012-12-06
Patent application number: 20120309566
An improved basketball training device comprising a substantially
semi-elliptical U-shaped rim device, which is designed to allow a user to
safely and rapidly install or remove the device from an existing standard
sized rim that is attached to a backboard of a raised basketball goal.
The training device compels players to use proper arch when shooting in
order to pass the basketball through the goal.
1. A basketball training device, comprising: (a) A generally U-shaped
elliptical barrier, having an interior side and an exterior side, and
also having a first end and a second end; said barrier having a size
slightly greater than the exterior radius of a rim of a basketball goal;
(b) a plurality of suspension means fastened to the interior side of said
barrier for suspending said training device from said rim; (c) a
plurality of removable attachment means for releasably attaching said
training device to said rim; and (d) brace means extending between and
releasably attached to said first barrier end and said second barrier
end; said brace means retain said barrier in its U-shape and buttress
said barrier in a horizontal plane resting above said rim; wherein said
barrier is removably attached to said rim by aligning said barrier such
that said suspension means align with the top of said rim and then by
extending said attachment means around said rim.
2. The basketball training device of claim 1, wherein said suspension means described in claim 1 (b) includes a predetermined plurality of hook members, wherein each hook member has an inverted J-shape.
3. The basketball training device of claim 2, wherein said attachment means described in claim 1 (c) includes a predetermined plurality of ball ties.
4. The basketball training device of claim 1, wherein said first and second barrier ends as described in claim 1 (a) include end guards, said end guards serve the purpose of protecting said basketball goal or a user from scratches or other damage from the edges of said first and second ends of said barrier.
5. The basketball training device of claim 1, wherein said brace means as described in claim 1 (d) further includes exterior retaining caps connected to the outer edges of said brace means, said retaining caps retains said barrier in the desired U-shape during use.
6. A basketball training device, comprising: (a) a generally U-shaped elliptical barrier, having an interior side and an exterior side, and also having a first end and a second end; said barrier having a size slightly greater than the exterior radius of a rim of a basketball goal; (b) end guards attached to said first and second barrier ends, said end guards serve the purpose of protecting said basketball goal or a user from scratches or other damage from the edges of said first and second ends of said barrier; (c) a predetermined plurality of inverted J-shaped hook members fastened to the interior side of said barrier for suspending said training device from said rim; (d) a plurality of ball ties for releasably attaching said training device to said rim; (e) cylindrical brace means extending between and releasably attached to said first barrier end and said second barrier end; said brace means retain said barrier in its U-shape and buttress said barrier in a horizontal plane resting above said rim; and (f) exterior retaining caps connected to the outer edges of said cylindrical brace means, said retaining caps retains said barrier in the desired U-shape during use; wherein said barrier is removably attached to said rim by aligning said barrier such that said hook members align with and rest on top of said rim and then by extending said ball ties around said rim then securing said ball tie.
7. The basketball training device of claim 6, wherein said suspension means described in claim 6 (b) includes four hook members.
8. The basketball training device of claim 6, wherein said ball ties described in claim 6 (c) includes three ball ties.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to a basketball training device adapted to be releasably secured to a standard sized rim of a basketball goal in a safe and efficient manner without the need for tools.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 It is desirable that basketball players develop a high degree of accuracy in shooting the ball from various locations on the court, such that the ball will pass directly into the basket. This is particularly true with regard to free throw shots. Many players have good skills in making shots using the backboard, such as lay-up shots, yet they can have considerable difficulty in making shots from the free throw line, or from an angle where the backboard cannot be used to bank a shot. As such, it is desirable for players to develop the ability to make shots with the proper arch such that the basketball passes directly through the goal without connecting with either the backboard or the rim of the goal. This is known in the vernacular as a "swish" shot.
 There are numerous inventions designed to help player's improve aim in the game of basketball. As with this invention, many are to be used in combination with a standard basketball goal. However, none of the inventions known to this applicant contain the same features for achieving this desired end as the present invention.
 U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,364,092 and 5,823,896 both describe devices that decrease the diameter of a basketball rim so that making a basketball shot is more difficult. However, the devices are not directed to teaching a player to use proper arch when shooting. Other types of improvement devices include additional hoops through which the basketball must travel before it travels through the basketball rim. Such a device is found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,558,323. These devices are only effective in allowing a user to shoot a goal from a restricted number of angles.
 U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,342,486 and 6,932,723 decrease a user's reliance on the use of a backboard, but they both require tools to attach and remove the training aid from the rim.
 Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,913,551, decreases a player's use of the backboard, and promotes proper arch when shooting. However, it is attached to the backboard by means of suction cups, which are known to be unreliable in securely supporting such a device. Suction cups require a surface completely free of dust and residue to remain attached. Moreover, a vigorously shot basketball can cause the unsupported device to be knocked loose from the backboard. Thereby requiring a user to reattach the device frequently during use. Further, this method of attachment presents a safety hazard as it requires the user to attempt to secure the device to a backboard by pushing the device while standing on a ladder or other surface, at a dangerous elevation. Accordingly, this device requires additional tethering means to prevent the invention from falling to the ground when the gripping means unexpectedly disengage from the front surface of the backboard.
 While these devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, the need remains for a device that can be releasably secured to a standard sized rim of a basketball goal in a safe and efficient manner without the need for tools, which can increase the accuracy of a player by training said player to impart proper loft and trajectory when shooting a basketball. The desired device also will be lightweight, easily storable, constructed of reliable materials, and economic to manufacture.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of training aids now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new basketball training device comprising an elliptical barrier over which a basketball shot must be shot in order to pass through the basketball goal. The basketball training device is intended for secure attachment to a conventional basketball goal with a circular rim mounted to the front surface of a basketball backboard. The device is designed so that it can be releasably attached and subsequently removed from a basketball goal in a safe and efficient manner without the need for tools. Moreover, this device requires no additional support attachments or tethering devices.
 In one embodiment, the basketball training device comprises a barrier having a first end and a second end, and being formed into a substantially semi-elliptical U-shape with an interior side and an exterior side. The barrier has a plurality of brackets attached to the bottom edge of the barrier for positioning the barrier member onto the top of the rim. A plurality of gripping means are affixed to the barrier in line with the brackets for selectively securing the barrier member securely to the rim such that the barrier member extends upwardly with the majority of the barrier member rising above the rim. The gripping means may be toollessly released from said rim surface of the basketball goal in order to remove the basketball training device.
 There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims.
 The objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty, which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims forming a part of this disclosure.
OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
 One of the primary objects of the present invention is to provide a basketball training device that fits onto an existing standard sized basketball rim in order to teach a player to shoot a basketball using proper arch.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide an oversized basketball rim device that be safely and easily attached to and removed from an existing standard sized basketball rim with the aid of tools.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a basketball training device that can be securely attached to a basketball goal without the possibility that it could be dislodged during use.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a basketball training device that needs no height adjustment or complex set up for proper use.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a sturdy, long lasting basketball training device with sufficient strength to withstand the forces imparted on it.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a basketball training device that can be manufactured easily and economically.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a basketball training device that has a minimum amount of parts that can wear out or be damaged, such that it substantially maintenance free.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a basketball training device that is easy to use and can be easily assembled or disassembled for compact storage when not in use.
 These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a reading of the attached specification and appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective of a basketball training device mounted onto a standard sized basketball rim according to one embodiment of the present invention; and
 FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of a basketball training device mounted onto a standard sized basketball rim according to one embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 3 is an overhead view of a basketball training device mounted onto a standard sized basketball rim according to one embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 As shown on the drawings, in which like reference numerals designate the same part or area of a part throughout the several views thereof, there is shown in FIG. 1 the present invention, a basketball practice device indicated generally by the reference numeral 10, which is supported from and above a standard annular basketball rim 5. Rim 5 is affixed to an angular bracket 6 that is secured to a standard basketball goal backboard using bolts or other means.
 Basketball practice device 10 includes a barrier 20 that is generally of a U-shape with two end portions 24, and an arcuate portion 22, which forms the bight of the U. Barrier 20 radius is slightly greater than the radius of rim 5 with a result that the curved portion 22 lies laterally beyond the exterior of said rim. Barrier 20 may be made of any suitable material, such as high-impact polymer composite, nylon, fiberglass, an extrudable material, such that it is flexible, lightweight, and durable. The edges of end portions 24 can remain sharp when cut during manufacturing. Accordingly, end guards 26 are affixed to surround the edges of said end portions 24 to protect a user of said practice device 10 from potential injury from the edges of said end portions 24. End guards 26 also serve the dual purpose of protecting a basketball goal backboard from scratches or other damage from the edges of said end portions 24. End guards 26 may be made of any suitable material, such as rubber, plastic, high-impact polymer composite, fiberglass, and the like, so that it is protects the user and backboard from said end portions 24.
 Basketball practice device 10 is supported from and above a standard annular basketball rim 5 by suspension means 30. Suspension means 30 are affixed through connection means 35 to the interior side of said barrier 20. Suspension means 30 are generally of an inverted J-shape such that they can hook onto the surface of rim 5. Suspension means 30 may be made of any rigid material, such as rubber coated metal, plastic, high-impact polymer composite, fiberglass and the like, such that they can retain their shape when supporting basketball practice device 10.
 In general, the requirements for the construction of connection means 35 are well known and are not discussed in great detail herein. Briefly, in the preferred embodiment, connection means 35 consist of an exterior portion, such as a common screw, which passes through both barrier 20 and suspension means 30 and is then threadingly received by a standard nut. Alternatively, connection means 30 can be any other method, including welding, gluing, bonding, or the like, for rigidly securing suspension means 30 to the interior of barrier 20.
 Suspension means 30 collectively provide support sufficient to maintain the majority of barrier 20 above and substantially parallel to rim 5, thereby causing the upper surface of barrier 20 to be positioned above a top surface of rim 5 and outside a front edge of rim 5 as illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. Correspondingly, suspension means 30 are affixed to said barrier 20 so that an imaginary line drawn between the uppermost portion of each suspension means 30 is substantially parallel to the horizontal plane of basketball goal 5. Suspension means 30 are positioned on said barrier 20 so that the uppermost portion of barrier 20 prevents a player from shooting a shot into the basket from any angle without proper trajectory. Rather, the player must shoot the basketball at a high arching angle of flight so that it will pass over the uppermost portion of barrier 20 and then downwardly through rim 5.
 Extension bar 50 is generally of a cylindrical shape with two end portions, each containing a hole (not specifically shown) located near said end portions that pass its diameter. When basketball device 10 is properly assembled, extension bar 50 passes through the end portions of barrier 20 and is held in place thereof, by the combination of retaining cap 55 and retaining pin 60. Retaining cap 55 has an interior diameter sized to fit the exterior diameter of extension bar 50, and a hole 56 passing through both sides of said retaining cap. When retaining cap 55 is properly inserted onto the end of said extension bar, retaining cap hole 56 aligns with the extension bar hole, so that retaining pin 60 may then be inserted simultaneously through retaining cap 55 and extension bar 50, thereby securing extension bar 50 in a fixed position in relation to barrier 20. Extension bar 50 is sized such that when it passes through barrier 20 and is secured by retaining cap 55 and retaining pin 60, it causes barrier 20 to maintain the desired U-Shape, such that end portions 24 are parallel to one another. Extension bar 50 provides additional support for the device through its contact with bracket 6. Extension bar 50 may be made of any material, such as rubber, plastic, high-impact polymer composite, fiberglass and the like, such that it can retain its cylindrical shape when supporting basketball practice device 10. Further, said extension bar 50 may be made using either a solid or hollow cylindrical object such as a length of PVC pipe.
 It can be readily observed that in its desired configuration basketball practice device 10 is of a slightly larger size and diameter than a standard basketball ring 5, which provides the foundation for the entire practice device. Once basketball practice device 10 is placed on rim 5 and is retained thereof by extension bar 50 and suspension means 30, the device is secured to said rim 5 by attachment means 40. Attachment means 40 are preferably toollessly releasable. In other words, attachment means 40 may be rapidly installed or released from rim 5 without the aid of any tools. Accordingly, basketball practice device 10 may be secured or removed from a standard basketball rim 5 simply and easily. As this feat must generally be performed while standing on a latter, the lack of tools or complicated attachment mechanisms substantially increases the safety of the present device. In the preferred embodiment, attachment means 40 consist of an attachment device commonly referred to as a ball tie. Ball ties are generally made of one or more strands of an elastic material, usually rubber, bound together by a fabric covering into a singly flexible strand, which is then formed into a loop with both ends secured to a plastic ball. In this embodiment, the loop of said ball tie 40 extends through the exterior side 21 of barrier 20, it then coils around rim 5 and then return through interior side 23 of said barrier to emerge on exterior side 21. The ball rests against exterior side 21 of barrier 20 and the loop wraps around and over the ball. The elastic nature of ball tie provides constant tension to hold basketball practice device 10 securely to rim 5.
 The invention has been shown, described and illustrated in substantial detail with reference to the presently preferred embodiment. It will be understood by those skilled in this art that other and further changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention which is defined by the claims appended hereto.