Christian Nunez USA

How good am I at Squash?
Squash Ratings USA explained.

The governing body for Squash in the USA, the U.S rates the standard of all player from junior to adult using a rating system.

Basically, you have a rating that can go from 1.5, for a total beginner, to 7, for a top world professional.

For adult club players, it is an important number. It is used as a reference to enter in the correct level/group of regional team leagues, boxes and tournaments.

I.e. If your rating is 3.75 – yes, it has decimals J – you can’t enter in a tournament in the 3.5 group, you need to play at least in the 4.0 group or above.

What are the basic requirements to have a rating?

  1. A U.S. squash membership
  2. A minimum of 1 win and 1 loss against another rated player
  3. Gender
  4. Birth date registered – so you can see how you fair within your age group

How is the rating related to a skill level/ability?

Rating groups are related to certain skill level. The expected ability of a player on each rating group it’s described and compared. U.S. Squash has a great summary here:

Squash ratings explained.

It’s quite interesting to look at the different skills level groups and expectations, it makes you think about your own game.

 

Forehand/Backhand

Fitness/Movement

3.5

Starting to hit for power. Can retrieve in the front and back corners. Can hit cross court and down the rail for power. Can lob off both sides but without much touch.

Can get to almost any ball. Knows how to run as hard as necessary to get to each ball to hit the desired shot. Fit enough to defeat all lower rated players.

4.5

Forehand is a strong shot with power, depth. On backhand, controls depth and power but still occasionally breaks down under pressure.

Watches the other player as a key to moving properly. Recovery is a consideration on virtually every shot. Starting to pay attention to balance when stretching to the ball.

5.5

Can drive, boast, lob, and drop. Can put any player into the corners with a set up. Drives the ball powerfully enough to get it past a good volleyer. Can hold the shot to take advantage of a player that guesses or leans.

Can get to almost any ball. Knows how to run as hard as necessary to get to each ball to hit the desired shot. Fit enough to defeat all lower rated players.

How is the rating calculated?

According to the U.S Squash website this number is calculated like this:

 “Every time the ratings are recalculated, the algorithm looks to a player’s most recent 50 matches (or matches played within the past 45 months if a player doesn’t have 50 recorded results) and factors in all of those results as well as all of the results of your opponents. It is possible that player’s ratings changes based on the results of his past opponents, even if he has not recorded any results. The algorithm looks at direct match results, indirect match results, and specific match scores (3-1). Additionally, the algorithm weights recent matches more heavily than older matches. Finally, the algorithm establishes the elasticity of a player’s rating (if a player has played lots of matches, the software will assume his rating is relatively stable and will be less likely to change significantly. If a player has played relatively few matches, the software assumes that his rating is relatively inaccurate and therefore, his match results can produce larger changes).”

To summarize the rating is based on:

  • The last 50 matches or matches played in the last 45 months.
  • Matches played by your opponents.
  • Matches played recently. Those carry more weight than older results.

Match results need to be registered in U.S. Squash, so any result entered in Clublocker would count, even friendlies if results are entered. Clublocker is the online platform that U.S. Squash uses to manage squash activity and players, everyone with a U.S. Squash membership has an account for it and every tournament and league is managed there. In some clubs, like my one, we use clublocker for everything, even to book the courts.

I’ve been playing 2 years in the U.S. and I find the rating quite fair, and more than anything a reasonable representation of player’s ability. The more you play, the more stable it gets. The only part where you might see surprises is with juniors. Sometimes their rating doesn’t represent their recent form. Juniors progress so quickly in a single season, that strong recent form and progress are often not reflected in their rating straight away. Basically, some juniors move faster than the algorithm.

I wonder how ratings are calculated in other areas of the world. When I played in Ireland and Argentina, the rankings were based on points that you carry along the season, the more tournaments you play the more points you get.