New Grading System

February 2024

Questions & Answers

  • For the start of the 2024 season, the current New Zealand grading points system and calculations will be replaced with the advanced and global SquashLevels rating system.
  • Players will still have an alphanumeric ‘grade’ such as A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, etc. however the ‘Levels’ associated with these grades will change based on the SquashLevels algorithm. Players will move up and down grades based on changes in their Level following match play.
  • All player grading information, grading lists, and player match history will only be available in MySquash.
  • All current graded players should have now received a welcome email inviting them to sign up for MySquash. If you haven't received one, please email support@squashnz.co.nz with your first name, last name and DOB so this can be resent. Existing players must use the link in the welcome email to sign up.
  • We've created a video guide to help you sign up via the welcome email here and a guide for navigating MySquash here.
  • From the second week in February, new players will be able to start signing up for a MySquash account via a link on the Squash NZ website.
  • A ‘Level’ is a ratio that is measuring your current playing form.
  • SquashLevels adjusts your Level after each match based on the full game scores and how well you did against how you were expected to do against your opponent. If you do much better than expected, you can move up a lot. Of course, that probably means your opponent did much worse than expected and can move down a lot too. If you both played as predicted, there would be little movement.
  • Example - If Player A is Level 500and Player B is 1000 then Player B is twice as good as Player A and therefore expected to get twice as many points and win their games by around 11-6/11-6/11-5.The same would be expected for someone on 3000 playing someone on 6000.
  • Because even though you won, you did not play to your current level.
  • A key point to help understand why your level can go down even if you win, is understanding the difference between our old and new grading system which is we no longer have grading ‘points’ that are won or lost. Your new ‘Level’ is measuring your current playing form. SquashLevels adjusts your Level after each match based on the full game scores and how well you did against how you were expected to do against your opponent.
  • This also means you may find your Level decreases if you win your match but not as well as you were expected to, while on the positive side this also means you can lose but your Level can increase if you played better than expected, meaning every match gives you something to play for.
  • If you check your match history, most likely you will see some matches you lost where your level increased, so it all balances out in the end to find your true current playing level.
  • Generally if they are around a third of your level, you can keep the games close and extend the rallies and they can get to around 15-10 in each. But don’t let a game go to extra points (win-by-two) or give your opponent a game.
  • If a player is half your Level – you shouldn’t take them lightly and avoid an upset! Half means if you play your best squash, you should win around 15-7 15-8 15-8. If you get up easily in the first game then you’ve got a few points up your sleeve for the next game.
  • SquashLevels knows, based on millions of past results, that it expects the higher-level player to play down anywhere between 20%-40% and allows for this. If the difference between players is really big such as four or five times, it excludes the match completely. Generally, you can keep the games close but giving away a game may result in your level decreasing.
  • Because we’ve heard from the community this is an area causing a lot of concern, we’ve analysed results from over the last 12,000 New Zealand matches.
  • Matches where there was a 2.5x or greater difference between two players and the higher-level player had a decrease from the match outcome accounted for only half a percent of all matches played. These are rare occurrences.
  • It’s important to note that often player’s Levels can be adjusted down marginally (e.g. 0.4%) after a match because of pool calibration.  These can often be mistaken for a Level decrease due to a match result, whereas in fact the match result has had no impact on player Levels.

Example 1 – 2.3x difference between players

Example 2 – 3.0x difference between players (higher grades)

Example 2 – 3.12x level difference between players (lower graded)

  • Answer – Calibration!
  • SquashLevels is a global system and part of its nightly processing is to calibrate the levels of players across clubs, regions, countries and even time. This process chips away at the levels of players as groups, whether up or down, with the goal to ensure that player levels are equivalent across the entire SquashLevels system.
  • The starting levels of both players and pools are worked out and set but after that they can only be adjusted a very small amount each match. To be able to factor in these dynamic adjustments needed over time, the system uses a ‘level pump’. This effectively runs throughout the calibration process adding or reducing each player’s level after each match to make the overall adjustments needed. They must be small enough to be virtually unnoticed but large enough that they have enough effect. If you look at the match review page you will see at the bottom an allowance for this dynamic adjustment.

Example 1 – adjustment decrease for both players from calibration

Example2 – adjustment increase for both players from calibration

  • While the SquashLevels system is far more dynamic than our previous grading system, there are still some checks in place to ensure players don’t bounce up or down too much after very good or very bad tournament. Also, remember that every point in a match counts so winning matches in 4 could still have very different total point counts which mean different level changes.
  • In general, a player’s level won’t go up by more than 10%or down by more than 5% if they’ve played in the last 7 days. These are relaxed if their previous match was further back.
  • Try look at your level as a trend over a period time rather than match-by-match. If you had a big win against a player in your first round of a tournament and increased 7.5%, you may find another win against a similar level player will see less of an increase. However your overall increase from the tournament will still be impressive!
  • This also works the opposite to avoid players having their level decimated by having an off-weekend, which we’ve all had!

Example: Dylan won both matches in 4 against players of similar levels, however total points won vs Joseph was 35/32 and vs Bryce was 41/22, and therefore he received a larger increase for the win against Bryce.

  • There are three steps from your match being played to the results showing up in MySquash.
  1. Matches entered into iSquash and submitted to the grading list – done as soon your captain or tournament controller completes this.
  2. Matches entered by 1pm each day are collected from iSquash by SquashLevels and processed in their system around 3pm. Matches entered after 1pm will be picked up 1pm the following day.
  3. MySquash collects new match results and updated the level for all players at 3am each morning.
  • For example – if you have interclub results entered on a Monday night following your match, these will show in MySquash on Wednesday morning.
  • For a match to be submitted for grading, one or more full games need to have been completed with the uninjured player (the player who wins the match by default) wining at least one of those games.
  • Matches that have not started or where at least one full game has not been completed cannot be submitted for grading by SquashLevels.
  • This is because the system relies on full game scores and every point to be accurate, and entering game scores from a match not played will incorrectly impact player’s levels and those they subsequently play. However, we are making allowances to reward a player who was on the way to winning, while removing a disincentive for players to pull out of a match they are losing to avoid a Level decrease.
  • Read the full default guidelines here.

Club administrators will be able to give new players a placeholder rating, which allows for new players to be seeded correctly for their first competition. As soon as they play their first match, their Level will automatically update to where SquashLevels calculates they belong and they will receive their grade. The more matches the player plays, the more confident the algorithm will be in the accuracy of their Level - a player should have an accurate Level after having played four matches.

  • By using a more accurate and universal rating system, SquashLevels, there are benefits to all players to ensure fairness in seeding events, selecting teams and interclub playing order, and for rankings at all levels and grades.
  • The ultimate goal of any rating system is to give an accurate depiction of every player’s playing level at any given time rather than focusing on past performance, which SquashLevels does extremely effectively.
  • The old system, while embedded in New Zealand squash culture, required constant reviewing and adjusting, and we know was misaligned across region, gender and age group. SquashLevels solves all these problems. To give some insight, some of the recent changes the old grading system had to undertake were,
  • Two years ago every male player C2 and under received 100 points because the male/female points got out of alignment.
  • Players were given a minimum of 5 points for a win regardless of who they played, but it had to be removed it because it was overinflating player’s grades and affecting seedings.
  • Inactivity points were created to incentiveplaying, but it didn’t have the expected impact and ended up causing additionalwork because the grading list wasn’t maintained properly at a club level.
  • The entry point of B2 was dropped from 2800 to 2700because there were too many C Grade men.
  • Some districts were starting players on different grades (i.e. some had beginner females starting in E2).
  • Finding people to play at a similar level is a problem amongst non-graded players.  From 2025 non-competitive players are able to get a Level even if they don’t play in leagues or tournaments. They simply need to play against another player with a Level and they get a provisional Level. The fact that box matches and club matches can be included also help to include non-competitive players of all abilities.
  • SquashLevels has a comprehensive FAQ’s on their website and will also provide a comparison document that can be sent out to the clubs for their members.
  • Players are able to get a 3 months free Gold trial in SquashLevels which gives you access to features that will help you understand how the system works better, such as reviewng your matches to see how the level changes have been calculated. To get your trial, log into MySquash, go to MySquash Resources and click on the SquashLevels link.

  • A major component of being able to enjoy squash at any level is having a sense of your own level, so that you can match up with other players of a similar ability and enjoy the intense workout and adrenaline rush a good, close squash game gives you. SquashLevels is the tool to make that a reality by enabling anyone to be able to record match results and see how they stack up, and we are embracing that to enable greater quality participation in squash across the country which will ultimately lead to participation growth.
  • Being part of a global rating system is such an important part of growing our sport not only locally but also globally. So far there are no sports that have an effective rating system that measures players from a very beginner to the best in the world with the ability to transcend borders.