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Handicap Rating System

Published: 29 Apr 2007 - 12:32 by philc1312

Updated: 24 Aug 2009 - 11:31

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Hi All,

I am searching for some kind of squash handicap matrix/system where my club can play a handicap tournament and each player is allocated a handicap rating/score so all players can be on a level playing field so to speak. 

My idea of something suitable would a table where squash grades are listed (e.g. A,B,C grade etc) and a handicap score is allocated to each grade. Players are then allocated a score depending on what grade they play (e.g. an A grade player who plays number 1 in their team might be minus 20 and a C grade number 4 might be plus 20)

Does anyone know of a system like this or have any useful info which might help us have a standardised handicap system for our tourmaments. Any help would be appreciated.


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From mike - 24 Aug 2009 - 11:31

IMO when there's a big difference in player's abilities no amount of score tweaking is going to give a competitive match.

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From ericcraggs - 23 Aug 2009 - 19:42

Hi Adz

How do you decide the matrix?


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From raystrach - 30 Apr 2007 - 08:01

hi phil

the system adz suggests is a very good one and one that i have used to very good effect. in fact , later in the year one of my little projects will be to create a website which has the aim of creating a global handicap system.

a couple of points with the system above:
  • try to keep the opponents within 10 points and a maximum of 12 points apart
    • ie playing point a rally, start at 5, -5 ( 6, -6)
    • when the points get beyond that, whilst the game can sometime be close, it is not usually a great experience for either player
  • you try to break the competition up into divisions so that players of similar standard play against each other
  • at the end of each match, the adjusted points remain as the new handicap for the next match
  • if adjusting points after each game is a little complicated for you, just adjust the points after the match
  • depending if this is just a one off competition or a weekly event, the new handicap can be carried forward to the next competition.
    • if it only happens once in a blue moon, this may not work but if it is weekly it works very well
    • points are carried through each season and onto the next
    • divisions change from season to season according to the next handicaps
let us know how you go

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From Adz - 29 Apr 2007 - 20:05

I've played in a tournament using this system before, and it was never very compelling for the better players to have to come back from upto 80 points behind! It makes for a very long and boring game as those players don't take any risks and will keep the ball tight and deep stopping average players from being able to play. I've seen average players get really demoralised from hitting some great shots and winning points, but never 15 of them against someone of that high a standard.


One way to fix this is to have a matrix system where after each player is given their handicap, they are matched with their opponents on the matrix to give the starting scores. e.g. an A playing a B might have to give a 4 vs -4 start, whilst an A playing an F might have to give a 12 vs -10 start.


This is as opposed to giving people a staring score where a -60 player meets a -15 player. Scores cancel to give a 0 vs -45 start. The higher starting player might stand no chance of getting 15 points, but could be capable of getting 10. They will ALWAYS lose. This is unfair.


Once you feel that you have your matrix set approximately correct, you can then introduce a floating handicap system, where the scores of the winning player change by 2 points each game. e.g.

Player A (starts the match off -6)

Player B (starts the match off 6)

Game 1 - Player A wins 15-13 and thus loses 2 points off their score

Game 2 starts 6 vs -8 - Player A also wins 15-12

Game 3 starts 6 vs -10 - Player B wins 15-10

Game 4 starts 6 vs -8 - Player B wins 15-14

Game 5 starts 6 vs -6 and Player A wins 15-13


Always move the lower handicapped player up or down in points, keeping the higher player's score fixed.




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