As a softball player, you expect two things to be constants every time you walk on the court: a wooden floor in a box that is 21’ x 32’, and a ball that is as reliable as that coffee pick-me-up in the morning. By reliable, you’re looking for a ball that travels at an expected pace when you hit it hard or soft, and one that reacts to the walls and floor without a sudden increase or decrease in speed.
In the past you’ve tried a few different brands of ball that have acted like super balls that are nearly impossible to catch up with as they rocket around the court. And you’ve experienced crazy bounces like those you might find from that “other” indoor racquet game (okay, racquetball). So you have been leery of trying something different.
Now comes a new ball from Prince that might bring out the rebel in you. Yes, the new Rebel double yellow dot in a green and white box. We will tell you that it is different from what you’re accustomed to, but not in a negative way.
The bounce of the Rebel is consistent, so no surprises when it hits the floor. What is different is the “bite” or “grip” that it takes when it hits the walls. While different from what we are accustomed to, it is very consistent with itself. In other words, if you opt to give the Rebel a try, you will be able to adapt your expectations of boasts and drops so that you take an extra step to go to the ball rather than waiting for it to come back to you. As for driving the ball to length, we found that we had to play it about a foot higher on the front wall to get the Rebel all the way to the back of the court. Initially we thought it was a heavier ball, but it’s identical to the other balls on the market. Instead, we reached the conclusion (no, not scientific but rather experiential) that the ball compresses a bit more and, therefore, stays on the string bed a bit longer.
Finally, durability seems to be a plus with the Rebel. While we used it in several matches without a noticeable reduction in its playability, we did speak with a few players who assured us that the ball lasts “a very long time.”
At the end of the day, you want a ball that plays the same every time it comes out of the box…and that every ball you use does so. If you have ever played at altitude, you’ve had to make adjustments in how you approach the game. With the Rebel, you will have to adapt to its stronger “bite” on the walls, but a shotmaker will love it. Who wouldn’t want to put in a dropshot that, well, stays short, or a boast that dies before reaching the third wall? Put on your best James Dean and let us know what you think of the new Prince Rebel.