Case Study: Accurately Measuring Player Ratings In South African Squash

15th September 2023

Understanding SquashLevels and its role in South African Squash

SquashLevels is a points-based ranking system based on a unique algorithm. As players compete in their leagues and tournaments, their results automatically flow into SquashLevels from their existing results providers, from this the algorithm calculates a level for each player based on (among other things) their opponents’ level, their result including points scores, behavioural modelling and various other factors, making SquashLevels one of the most advanced rating systems of any sport in the world.

Predicting The Growthpoint 2023 SA Nationals Ladies Finals Results

Squash South African currently makes use of the SportyHQ Ladies National Ranking (SquashSA) which allows for an accurate ranking of South African-based players, where it falls short however, is the omission of rating points gained outside of South African competition or outside of the SportyHQ platform.

We can see a reflection of this at this year’s Growthpoint 2023 SA Nationals Finals, where the incorrect seeding of Savannah Ingledew led to a knockout of the number 1 seed Hayley Ward.

Let’s take a look at the SportyHQ Ladies National Ranking (SquashSA) before the tournament:

We can immediately see two discrepancies.
  1. Alexandra Fuller at the time of this writing, is ranked 26th in the world but is ranked 5th in South Africa.
  2. Savannah Ingledew, currently ranked 8th, would go on to win the Growthpoint 2023 SA Nationals Finals.

Now let’s look at the Ladies National Ranking had they been seeded using the SquashLevels platform before the tournament:

This reflects a data-driven accurate picture of the players and their current ratings and had these ratings been used prior to the competition, we could have seen a possible final match between Savannah Ingledew and Hayley Ward, rather than the two highest-ranked players having to compete in the first round of competition.

While it is possible for players to make drastic improvements, the allowance for a major upset of the top seeds becomes a risk when seedings are not done accurately. This can lead to a reduced level of competition in major finals and detract from the overall delivery of an event.

How does SquashLevels account for these challenges?

SquashLevels is able to calculate player ratings from a multitude of squash sources. This means that if a player has results from more than one tournament software, SquashLevels is able to generate an accurate rating based on those results. SquashLevels also makes use of a powerful rating algorithm that allows us to take into account “behavioural modelling”. You can read more about our algorithm here.

A perfect example of this is Savannah Ingledew who has been playing overseas and in PSA events. This has not been reflected in her Squash South Africa ranking as these results took place outside of SportHQ and South African Squash.

Squash South Africa runs the risk of isolating these players as they may not be recognized for selection based on inaccurate ratings given to them outside of SquashLevels.

What’s next for SquashLevels and Squash South Africa?

Using SquashLevels ratings in the future can level the playing field and lead to more competitive matches. The role it could play in attracting larger audiences, both locally and internationally, given the credibility of the rankings, cannot be ignored.

The introduction of SquashLevels’ South African ratings will complement existing national rankings provided by SportyHQ while fostering engagement and connection among squash players not only within South Africa but also around the world.

Over the next 12 months, SquashLevels and Squash South Africa will work together to integrate the platform at the social, grassroots, club and elite levels right around the country, digitally revolutionising the sport for all players.

Sign Up For Free

Players within South Africa will be able to sign up to our freemium service, allowing access to their level, national and global ratings, as well as having access to the SquashLevels social network. Premium memberships are available for those who wish to access enhanced features such as the head-to-head analysis tool, in-depth match review, what-if analysis and full match and level history.

Sign up to our freemium service