Pilot for New Singles National Rankings System Released

2019-11-20

Squash Canada is pleased to release its pilot of a new national rankings system for singles, found here: http://squash.ca/en/canadiansinglesrankings

The new rankings system will list players in descending order of their Club Locker player rating within any given category.  The player’s rating will be based upon thousands of match results entered into Club Locker over the past 16 months.  Any tournament, ladder or league play that uses Club Locker will see those results fully automated into the system, with ratings being updated nightly.  Club Locker is Squash Canada’s comprehensive home for ratings/rankings as well as our tournament management platform.

A rating reflects a player’s level that is calculated based on a universal algorithm used for players all over the world.  With Club Locker’s algorithmic ratings based rankings, as match results are entered into the system, players receive a rating.  It is based not only on a player’s own results but the results of opponents they have interacted with.  The more information the system has, the more accurate the ratings for players become.

The ratings algorithm builds connections between players as they compete against each other and adjusts ratings due to wins and losses. The strength of a match result is considered, the relative ability of the opponent and whether the game score of a match was 3-0, 3-1, 3-2.  Matches played more recently have more weight than those played further in the past.  In fact, if someone doesn’t play for a while, their rating even starts to degrade. 

Matches affect a player’s rating for up to 45 months, or until 50 newer matches have been played. Players who have more results in the system will have more stable ratings, whereas those with fewer matches will adjust more quickly as the system gains new information on them.

The rating scale begins at 1.5 with a top rating of around the 7.0 mark for higher world-ranked professionals. The majority of club-level squash players are in the 3.0 - 4.5 rating range, which would coincide to what we would often refer to as “C” or “B” level club players. Professional players generally play at a 6.0+ level.

Ratings are calculated in one pool, for all players including juniors and adults, women and men.  Ratings can then be filtered by age categories as well as by club, league and provincially.

The benefits of the new system include the universality of rated playing abilities across age categories, genders and national borders.  It facilitates even the player who doesn’t travel outside their region to be assigned a valid rating as to their playing ability and to see where they stand in the nation.  Junior players in some regions who have fewer players in their age group to play against can benefit from playing adults to both accelerate their development and have match results that will contribute to their ranking.  Contrarily, the previous Canadian rankings system disregarded junior versus adult matches and tournament play below a 1-star rating, league play and other meaningful matches, leaving a large portion of the playing membership excluded from the national rankings system.

There are some differences between Adult and Junior Rankings that are important to outline.

Adult Rankings:

Ratings are the most accurate long-term reflection of a players’ ability, which is why ratings are a great option for Adults. The Club Locker algorithm ranks and adjusts players continually based on the most up to date information in the system. This includes club friendly matches, city-league matches, box-league/houseleague matches, ladder matches, tournament matches, and any other types of meaningful matches that are recorded through Club Locker. The more information the system has, the more accurate the ratings for players become and because the majority of Adult participation is outside of tournament play, it is beneficial to include all other types of match results into the ranking, leading to additional accuracy. Furthermore, because adults are in age groups for five years, the relatively slow fluctuation of a rating is less significant than it would be for a junior who only spends two years in each age group.

The Club Locker algorithm is extremely accurate taking into account players all over the world.  A player with a 4.5 rating in Canada is theoretically a similar level of player in the USA and is the same in England.  And as more and more countries come on board to Club Locker, they immediately are connected into the greater ecosystem of ratings and rankings.

In addition, the ratings benefit when a player faces someone from outside their club or city or province/territory, since those results help normalize ratings based upon the player’s ability relative to other groupings of players.

The system is constantly renormalizing and changing players’ ratings so it therefore can be tougher to precisely track so if one’s rating goes up or down, it’s not always obvious as to why.  That said, the accuracy of the ratings hugely outweighs this drawback.

The ratings algorithm is complicated and multifactorial, and in the case of small fluctuations of ratings, explanation for rating adjustments is virtually unachievable.  Yet the adjustments are based on consistent treatment of match interactions for all players within the system.  The algorithm was developed between 2012-2014 by Elder Research, a data mining and predictive analytics firm based in Charlottesville, VA known for their work in sports data analytics.  For those mathematicians who would like to understand the complexity, click HERE.

The parameters for adult rankings include:

  • Minimum requirement of 3 matches in the previous 12-month rolling period;
  • Must have at least 1 win and 1 loss before receiving an initial rating, which will ensure players are in the correct rating range before additional results affect the ratings of other players;
  • Includes all matches entered into Club Locker, including friendly matches, city-league matches, box-league/houseleague matches, ladder matches, and tournament matches;
  • Only current members of provincial/territorial squash associations are reflected in the rankings.
  • Includes matches against foreign players who have a Club Locker account rating, whether the match was held in Canada or outside the country.

Junior Rankings:

The Junior Rankings parameters are more demanding than the Adult system, designed to encourage ongoing and more tournament play. Junior rankings parameters:

  • Requires a minimum of 4 matches in at least 2 sanctioned tournaments in the previous 11-month rolling period;
  • Must have at least 1 win and 1 loss;
  • Includes all matches entered into Club Locker, including friendly matches, city-league matches, box-league/houseleague matches, ladder matches, and tournament matches;
  • Only current members of provincial/territorial squash associations are reflected in the rankings;
  • Includes matches against foreign players who have a Club Locker rating, whether the match was held in Canada or outside the country.

National championship event seedings, plus National Team selections are subject to additional criteria and specific committee input, as outlined in separate terms of reference and selection criteria documents.  Club Locker ratings for individuals are just one factor of several that are considered in the overall process to determine seedings and team selections.  

In addition to rankings and seedings, a rating is a great way to compare playing level against friends and competitors, find a match against someone of similar level, or track positive and negative performance over a period of time.

The Ranking system is being rolled out as a pilot for the remainder of the season.  Squash Canada will monitor the system’s implementation and performance and will make changes and modifications as needed with further consultation amongst stakeholders. 

A doubles rankings program will be developed over the current playing season, enabling more results to be captured within the system, thus enhancing accuracy upon their first release.

Ratings FAQ’s

Why can’t I see the rating move match-to-match on the “matches” tab of my profile?

  • The new algorithm runs many iterations of the calculation for each player each time it is processed. Therefore, there isn’t a new rating calculated for each match; instead, the algorithm looks at all results and determines the most appropriate ending rating for each player in that period.

Do all my matches count equally?

  • Generally, all matches are taken into account. A player’s most recent matches, however, are weighted more heavily in the calculation than older matches. Only the players’ most recent fifty matches are factored, and no matches outside of the previous three years are used in the algorithm.

How do I get a rating?

  • Any players playing matches in the Club Locker system, in Canada or elsewhere, receive a rating, whether those matches are friendly, league, box or tournament matches.

How do I view my rating?

  • All Club Locker account holders can view their rating on their Club Locker player profiles.

 

 

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