SportyHQ is a comprehensive tournament, league and membership management system and has its own ranking system based on 'SportyHQ points'. For those familiar with SportyHQ points and wondering how they compare with SquashLevels here's a summary of the main differences:
- SportyHQ points are based on the 'matrix' system which uses game scores and their opponent's SportyHQ points value to decide if they played better or worse than expected. Points are awarded based on a matrix and are additive. You can get anything up to a 30 point adjustment from a match though it's typically much less than that - 1 to 5 is common, 10 is quite significant.
- SquashLevels uses points scores as well as games scores for greater accuracy and a more mathematical approach to a player's level such that someone playing twice as well will have a level that is twice as high. So levels are more of a ratio than additive. I.e. a 2000 level player will be playing twice as well as a 1000 player whereas the equivalent for SportyHQ is a difference of around 275 SportyHQ points. This also allows results prediction as you'd expect someone with twice the level to win their games by around 15-7... Of course, most humans are less predictable than that but it's good fun!
- As SquashLevels takes points scores into account it is more responsive and dynamic than the SportyHQ points value. This allows for fast moving players such as juniors or those just simply those getting better quickly. This also requires that we take player behaviour into account such as when a good player gives their lesser opponent a runaround.
- When there are lots of players with similar SportyHQ ranking points or even similar Levels (<10% difference) they will change often. In fact, it wouldn't take much of a change for players with similar ranking points to completely change the order of the rankings entirely. As humans, we vary around 10-20% per match, which is reflected in the dynamic SquashLevels system. This leads to an important point about rankings when you are looking at clusters of players with a very similar level - don't be too black and white on actual position as it is likely to change from match to match.
- A key part of the SquashLevels algorithm is calibration. This compares pools of players such as between clubs, regions and even countries and makes continued small adjustments to ensure that a 1000 player in one club or region is equivalent to a 1000 player in another club or region. This is performed globally and a unique feature of SquashLevels.
We ran a comparison between SportyHQ points and SquashLevels level (based on one SportyHQ region) to create a mapping between the two systems though bear in mind this is approximate as SportyHQ doesn't perform calibration, the absolute values may vary from region to region.
We hear these quite a lot from players who are used to SportyHQ's points system and who are comparing with SquashLevels.
- Don't expect the SportyHQ and SquashLevels rankings to be the same! As SquashLevels follows the ebb and flow of playing level more dynamically, this is bound to affect their ranking order. This is particularly true if your rankings cover a lot of players of a similar level (e.g. everyone in division 5) as, by definition, they will all be reasonably close. We often find upwards of 15 players withing 10% of each other's level. That's not much!
- Don't get too hung up comparing SportyHQ points with SquashLevels levels as they are very different number systems. As described above, with SquashLevels, if you are twice as good as someone then you will have twice their level - it's mathematically relative. In comparison, if you are twice as good as someone on SportyHQ then you will have 275 more points then them. It's not mathematical but is a rough rule of thumb when comparing players. We've done quite a bit of analysis on this.
- It doesn't matter which division or grade you play in - we just look at the result and the level of your opponent. What's nice about SquashLevels is that we take points scores into account and even if you get well beaten (3-0) by a better opponent you can still get an increase if you did better than expected - even allowing for the fact the better player might have given you a bit of a run-around. This is some of the behavioural modelling at work.
- The difference between two players is not always as massive as SportyHQ has led you to believe. It turns out that a 100 point difference on SportyHQ (which we have often heard described as massive) is actually only about 30% difference in playing level and that's only a bit more than we naturally vary from match to match! If you are playing at that level, SquashLevels will keep up with a 30% increase in just a few matches whereas it can take literally months on SportyHQ to change that much. We hear this a lot and when we check we just find that the SportyHQ points now are equivalent to what SquashLevels was showing about 6 months ago.
- The solution is not to override the level! Even if you do, it will quickly adjust to your playing level again anyway and you'll be back where you started. In all honesty, the only way to increase your level is to play better! That's particularly true if you are up against a better opponent - don't give up (we'll measure that...). Make them work hard for it and, even if they still win 3-0, those extra points could well cause your level to go up.
- On occasion there can be players who may have been incorrectly initialised on SportyHQ and, even after multiple years, they are still adjusting to where they should be.