During the 2022/2023 season, the Dutch Squash Federation (SBN) adopted SquashLevels as their national ratings and rankings solution. An API was developed allowing SBN competition results from Tournament Software and ClubLadder to be automatically shared to the SquashLevels platform. As a result, SBN players became part of the global rating system and the wider SquashLevels community. Affiliated SBN members were also granted an enhanced level of access to the SquashLevels platform, along with discounted access to premium plans. Furthermore, a white-labelled rankings solution powered by the SquashLevels algorithm was embedded on the SBN website. The goal was to create an inclusive national ratings and rankings system that would be more accurate and thus drive engagement within the wider Dutch squash community.
CHALLENGES FOR SBN
The Dutch Squash Federation faced several challenges:
- The existing cumulative ranking system prevented players from climbing up or descending the rankings at an appropriate pace.
- When international players participated in Dutch tournaments or leagues the initial grading scale and tournament seedings were inaccurate. This resulted in mismatched opponents and obvious challenges for the tournament organisers.
- SBN needed a rating system that could be integrated with their current tournament and league management solutions while retaining the Dutch grading system.
- The new system needed to be accurate and capable of creating a more inclusive ranking list.
SquashLevels offered SBN a bespoke, white-labelled ranking solution that allowed SBN to connect to SquashLevels using APIs, while maintaining their existing tournament and league management solutions. The system was mapped to the SBN grading system, (which used a numerical scale of 0-9), enabling players to keep their SBN grading while benefiting from the more precise underlying SquashLevels algorithm.
The implementation of SquashLevels in the Netherlands was two-fold:
- An API was developed allowing SBN competition results from Tournament Software and ClubLadder to be automatically shared to the SquashLevels platform. By sharing the tournament and league results with SquashLevels it allowed all Dutch players to attain a Level and become part of the global rating system.
- With all the SBN results flowing into SquashLevels a white-labelled rankings module was developed, where monthly national rankings were published on the first day of each month. The rankings module utilises a moving average of a player’s previous four results to give an accurate ranking that is reflective of a player’s form, as opposed to the dynamic SquashLevels ratings that change after each match.
The Dutch Squash Federation decided to implement SquashLevels in three phases to familiarise players with the new system. They made a bold move to implement the final phase midway through the league season.
Rogier Van Veen, responsible for innovation at SBN, explained the federation’s decision to do this: “We initiated this transition based on the needs of our squash players. Last November , we gave all members the option to finish the leagues with SquashLevels or the previous system. Nearly 90 percent of our members chose SquashLevels, which strongly affirmed our belief in the system. We observed an extremely high accuracy level of the system between players that had never played against each other before, and the accuracy rate was even higher for players that had previous match history.”
The adoption of SquashLevels has been immensely successful, receiving praise from both players and management for its benefits. The new rankings have been described as “perfect” by the CEO of SBN, Tom Lucas, who believes that the impact of SquashLevels has had these positive effects:
- SquashLevels has provided a far more accurate indication of the current national rankings within the country.
- The implementation of SquashLevels has reinvigorated graded events in the country with first-round matches becoming more competitive due to improved seedings.
- SBN has witnessed a 25 percent increase in tournament participation at grassroots levels as well as the national championships.
- SquashLevels has made squash players value the leagues and tournaments more. When surveyed, 65 percent of team captains had already noticed a positive change in terms of the competitiveness of the matches in the leagues.
- The implementation of SquashLevels has reduced ranking change requests and inquiries about the national rankings for the federation.
- The federation is expecting further growth in the upcoming season as teams will be assigned divisions based on their gradings.
The adoption of SquashLevels in the Netherlands has fostered increased engagement and interest throughout the country’s squash community. The system has provided SBN with an accurate and inclusive rating system that seamlessly integrates with their existing tournament and league management solutions and is highly valued by its players.
If you are interested in connecting to SquashLevels and would like to call to discuss what we are able to do for your federation or club, please contact Jaclyn Kemp: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions for the Dutch Squash Federation, please contact Rogier van Veen via email@example.com.