Return To Competition

Updated March 4, 2021

Current Phase: 2

The return-to-competition pathway is currently in Phase 2, which includes local and regional competition and junior rankings determined by player ratings. The transition process to reach Phase 3 – national competition with resumption of junior points-based rankings – will occur in three stages beginning in April 2021. The details of this transition are outlined below.

Planned transition process to reach Phase 3 (resumption of points-based rankings):

  • Stage 1: April 12, 2021 – Prepare for play
  • Stage 2: May 28, 2021 – Points-based tournaments resume
  • Stage 3: September 8, 2021 – Points-based rankings resume

Summary information of the transition process can be viewed on the tabs below. For detailed policies and procedures for junior squash, please visit:

ussquash.org/policies/junior

 

Transition StagesRankings and RatingsCompetition TypesParticipant/Spectator/Facility SafetyFrequently Asked Questions

 

Stage 1: Prepare for Play Stage 2: Points-earning Tournaments Begin Stage 3: Points-based Rankings Begin
Anticipated Start Date April 12, 2021 May 28, 2021 September 8, 2021
Rankings Ratings-based rankings only; all players with current rating are listed Ratings-based rankings only; all players with current rating are listed Points-based rankings resume
Play Types Box leagues
Ladders
Team leagues
Match play
Skill level tournaments
Age division tournaments resume; players earn points by finishing position Age division tournaments continue; players earn points by finishing position
Geographic Limitations Local/State/Regional based on what is allowed by government guidelines Local/State/Regional continues. National competition resumes if allowed under government guidelines Local/State/Regional continues. National competition resumes if allowed under government guidelines
Tournament Qualification First-come first-served registration Ratings-based cut lists Ranking points-based cut lists
Tournament Size Details to be provided based on government restrictions, facility restrictions and US Squash guidelines Details to be provided based on government restrictions, facility restrictions and US Squash guidelines Details to be provided based on government restrictions, facility restrictions and US Squash guidelines
Seeding Method Ratings Ratings Tournament Points
Division Qualification Co-ed, cross age divisions Standard age divisions (U11, U13, U15, U17, U19) Standard age divisions (U11, U13, U15, U17, U19)
Play Outcomes Ratings exchange All play: ratings exchange
Points tournament play: ranking points
All play: ratings exchange
Points tournament play: ranking points
Event Operations Protocols US Squash and facility risk-mitigation protocols: see “Participant/Spectator/Facility Safety” section. US Squash and facility risk-mitigation protocols: see “Participant/Spectator/Facility Safety” section. US Squash and facility risk-mitigation protocols: see “Participant/Spectator/Facility Safety” section.

Junior player rankings were unfrozen October 7, 2020, and since that time have been based on player ratings instead of tournament ranking points. During this time when national competition is not possible, ratings provide the fairest method to measure progress and improvement while allowing each player to engage in accredited competition to the extent that is most appropriate for their personal situation. Ratings also seamlessly integrate competition between players of different genders and ages, and between juniors and adults.

Junior tournament points-based rankings are scheduled to resume fully on September 8, 2021. The transition to points-based rankings will occur in 3 stages:

      • Stage 1: April 12, 2021 – Prepare for play
      • Stage 2: May 28, 2021 – Points-based tournaments resume
      • Stage 3: September 8, 2021 – Points-based rankings resume

 

Ranking Considerations by Stage

Stage 1 (Beginning April 12, 2021):

      • Ratings-based rankings continue
      • Tournament seeding based on player ratings
      • Players record matches through tournaments, leagues, ladders and accredited match play in order to count matches towards their Ratings Confidence Index (RCI). Friendly club matches will not count.

 


 

Stage 2 (Beginning May 28, 2021):

      • Ratings-based rankings continue
      • Tournament seeding based on player ratings
      • Players begin earning tournament points which are “banked” for the resumption of points-based rankings in Stage 3.
      • Ratings Confidence Index (RCI): Players will be assigned a RCI of low, medium or highThe Rating Confidence Index (RCI) is an indicator of the accuracy of a player’s rating. If a player has played many recent matches their rating will be reliable and stable which means their RCI will be classified as “high”. A player with fewer recent matches will have a “medium” or “low” RCI since the rating is not based on the same amount of recent information. Matches recorded since the restart of competition on October 7, 2020 through May 26, 2021 count towards the RCI match total.The RCI level will determine the percentage of available phantom tournament points (described in more detail below) that will be assigned to a player. The RCI, combined with the phantom tournament points, is designed to provide a balanced approach to players returning to a points-based ranking system for both players that have been playing actively and those who have not been willing or able to begin competition.

 

Matches recorded October 7, 2020 through May 26, 2021

RCI level

RCI percentage for phantom tournament points
7+ High 100%
4-6 Medium 90%
0-3 Low 80%
      • Phantom Tournament Points: Players will be assigned tournament points in 4 “phantom” tournaments. Phantom tournament points provide a starting level for player rankings for when points-based rankings return in Stage 3. Assignment of phantom points will be based on a player’s current rating and resulting RCI as of May 26, 2021, and will be released at the start of Stage 2 on May 28, 2021. Phantom points will be assigned in the age division based on a player’s age as of May 28, 2021. If a player ages up to a new division after May 28, 2021 but before the phantom points tournaments have rolled off, the standard age-up policies will be applied to the points. Any time a player earns points in a tournament in Stage 2 or 3, the points for that tournament replace those of one of the phantom points tournaments. If a player has not competed in points-earning tournaments, phantom points tournaments begin to be removed once per month at the end of each month from October 2021 until January 2022.

Phantom Points Assignment Table

 

Phantom Tournament Number

Roll-off date (if not already replaced by a points-earning tournament in Stage 2 or 3)
1 November 1, 2021
2 December 6, 2021
3 January 3, 2022
4 February 7, 2022

 


 

Stage 3 (Beginning September 8, 2021):

      • Points-based rankings released, incorporating the RCI and phantom tournament considerations listed above
      • Tournament seedings based on points, not rating
      • Player rating calculations continue, though ratings are not used for player ranking or tournament seeding

 


 

The current state of return to accredited competition involves two categories of events: local/regional tournaments and local league play. National tournaments will resume in stage 2 and/or 3 of the current transition back to competition, based on governmental regulations and the best information available at the time. US Squash will work closely with facilities, districts, and tournament directors to achieve a calendar that is as equitable and full of opportunities as possible within appropriate safety considerations.

Local/Regional Tournaments:
Active

      • Registration for any given tournament is limited geographically. These limits may be imposed at the facility, local, or regional level; each tournament will indicate the allowed geographic area from which players may register.
      • Limitations align with the competition state’s travel advisories and restricted states lists and required quarantine policies.
      • After May 28, 2021, players can begin earning rankings points in tournament play, which will be banked until the restart of junior tournament points-based rankings on September 8, 2021.

 

Leagues and Ladders:
Active

      • Players may compete in accredited leagues in their area, including organized team leagues and self-scheduled box leagues and ladders.
      • Leagues may be established either intra- or inter-facility and provide the flexibility to work within varied schedules and with limited exposure to additional groups of people. Squash community members interested in league play in their area are encouraged to reach out to their local facilities and districts to advocate for the establishment of accredited leagues in coordination with US Squash.

 

Mixed Competition:
Active

      • US Squash encourages competitions that mix genders and/or different ages – including between junior and adult players – during this transitional period.
      • Mixed competition further improves the accuracy of the rating system, increases the competition within divisions and broadens the experiences of players.

 

National Tournaments:
Not active; to resume in stage 2 & 3

*More information on the transition to national tournament play is available in the “Transition Stages” and “Rankings and Ratings” tabs of this webpage.

The safety of all individuals at accredited competition remains the top priority of US Squash. All accredited competitions – whether league or tournament play – may only take place in facilities that abide by all governmental guidelines as well as US Squash policies for return-to-competition.

US Squash has released minimum risk-mitigation guidelines for which facilities must positively affirm compliance, including enhanced air filtration and surface sanitization requirements. Facilities around the country are currently collaborating with US Squash to confirm that the appropriate measures have been put in place at their facility.

US Squash is continually reviewing safety regulations and operational protocols based on the current available information. Changes will likely be prompted by future potential availability of reliable rapid testing, vaccine approval and distribution, further research on risk mitigation, changes to governmental guidelines, and overall changes in the course of the pandemic. The input of the community as a whole is welcome in this area.

Mask use on court for players, and off court for all spectators, will be required during all accredited competition. This policy is informed in part by a unanimous recommendation by the US Squash Medical Advisory and Sports Science Committee. While the wearing of masks does not fully eliminate risk, their use on court by both (or all four in doubles) competitors likely limits the potential dosage of viral particles emitted into a facility during play, and also provides a level of protection to others. Mask use during competition is required already under the guidelines produced by many states for indoor recreation; requiring mask use for US Squash accredited play creates a level field of competition to all players nationally.

  • Operational Protocols:
      • Each player will be allowed only one accompanying spectator, whether that is a parent, coach, or other guardian.
      • Players will not be allowed to enter facilities until immediately before their match times and are required to leave facilities after completion of their match or requisite officiating duties.
      • Only the winner from the previous match will referee the following match. Social distancing protocols should be observed at all times.
  • Competition Structure:
      • Many tournaments will be limited to a single day of competition.
      • The total number of competitors in a given tournament or league will be restricted based on facility size, court availability and state gathering limits – specific caps per event will be noted on tournament registration pages.

Further detail and the most current information on tournament procedures and facility guidelines will be posted on the US Squash website as it is available.


 

Player Situation Chart

Player Situation Rating Phantom Points RCI Recommended Action
I have played and recorded many recent matches (7+) since October 2020. Because of your entered match results, your rating is a reliable indicator of your level of play. You will be awarded 100% (high RCI) of your allocated phantom tournament points. High (100%) You are in a good position to resume ranking points tournament play. Continue to train and keep fit and you will be ready to compete for tournament points in Stage 2 (beginning May 28, 2021).
I want to play matches and the guidelines allow that,  but I can’t find any events or other players with whom to compete. Your rating still reflects your relative ability as of the time you last played. You still show on the ranking list and you will be seeded in the appropriate range once you are able to participate in tournaments during Stage 1 or 2.

However, the longer the gap is between recorded matches, your first matches back are more likely to have a significant effect on your rating.

Record matches if you can prior to May 26, 2021 in order to help maximize the phantom tournament points allocated to you beginning in Stage 2.

If you can record 7 or more matches through organized play between October 1, 2020 and May 26, 2021 then you will be allocated 100% (high RCI) of your possible phantom points; if you record between 4 and 6 that percentage will be 90% (medium RCI); fewer than 4 will result in 80% (low RCI).

High (100%), Medium (90%), or Low (80%) Playing matches by May 26, 2021 is recommended so that you benefit from a stable rating and receive a “high” RCI percentage. This will also take pressure off the significance of your first matches when you return.

Try to find opponents within +/- 0.5 rating of yours. The age and gender don’t matter.

Talk to the teaching professional at your facility, or other local facilities, to see if they can help organize some programming. Review the tournament schedule on the US Squash website to see if events are coming up in which you are eligible to participate. Events are being added regularly.

I can’t play matches currently due to my facility being closed or it being otherwise not allowed, but I will when I am able. Your rating still reflects your relative ability as of the time you last played. You still show on the ranking list and you will be seeded in the appropriate range once you are able to participate in tournaments during Stage 1 or 2.

However, the longer the gap is between recorded matches, your first matches back are more likely to have a significant effect on your rating.

If you can record 7 or more matches through organized play between October 1, 2020 and May 26, 2021 then you will be allocated 100% (high RCI) of your possible phantom points; if you record between 4 and 6 that percentage will be 90% (medium RCI); fewer than 4 will result in 80% (low RCI).

If you remain unable to play, you should not worry, however. The transition to competition structure is designed to be balanced; even if you have a “low” RCI score, you will still receive a reasonable amount of phantom points and your ranking will return to an appropriate level once you are able to begin competing in tournaments again.

As a reminder, if you do participate in tournaments in Stage 2 (starting May 28th, 2021 and before September 10th, 2021), player seeding is based on rating. However, your rating could adjust significantly depending on those first results, which could impact  your seeding in future Stage 2 events.

High (100%), Medium (90%), or Low (80%) Playing matches by May 26, 2021 is recommended so that you benefit from a stable rating and receive a “high” RCI percentage. This will also take pressure off the significance of your first matches when you return.

Try to find opponents within +/- 0.5 rating of yours. The age and gender don’t matter.

Talk to the teaching professional at your facility, or other local facilities, to see if they can help organize some programming. Review the tournament schedule on the US Squash website to see if events are coming up in which you are eligible to participate. Events are being added regularly.

I have the opportunity to play, but I am choosing not to because of personal concerns about returning to court, or because I’m worried about my rating adjusting. While your rating still reflects your relative ability as of the time you last played, and will adjust along with other players who are actively competing, the longer the gap is between matches recorded, your first matches back are more likely to have a significant effect on your rating.

Depending on your results upon returning to competition, your rating may adjust more significantly, up or down, compared to if you have many recent matches recorded.

If you record fewer than 4 results by May 26, 2021, you will be allocated phantom points at 80% (low RCI) of what is potentially available to you.

However,  the transition to competition structure is designed to be balanced; even if you have a “low” RCI score, you will still receive a reasonable amount of phantom points and your ranking will return to an appropriate level once you are able to begin competing in tournaments again.

As a reminder, if you do participate in tournaments in Stage 2 (starting May 28th, 2021 and before September 10th, 2021), player seeding is based on rating. However, your rating could adjust significantly depending on those first results, which could impact  your seeding in future Stage 2 events.

Low (80%) Playing matches by May 26, 2021 is recommended so that you benefit from a stable rating and receive a “high” RCI percentage. This will also take pressure off the significance of your first match when you return.

Try to find opponents within +/- 0.5 rating of yours. The age and gender don’t matter.

Talk to the teaching professional at your facility, or other local facilities, to see if they can help organize some programming. Review the tournament schedule on the US Squash website to see if events are coming up in which you are eligible to participate. Events are being added regularly.

I can play matches now but I am choosing not to because of COVID considerations. I may not be able or comfortable to start to compete until the fall. While your rating still reflects your relative ability as of the time you last played, and will adjust along with other players who are actively competing, the longer the gap is between matches recorded, your first matches back are more likely to have a significant effect on your rating.

Depending on your results upon returning to competition, your rating may adjust more significantly, up or down, compared to if you have many recent matches recorded.

If you remain unable to play, you should not worry, however. The transition to competition structure is designed to be balanced; even if you have a “low” RCI score, you will still receive a reasonable amount of phantom points and your ranking will return to an appropriate level once you are comfortable competing in tournaments again. Low (80%) Take your time and make sure you feel comfortable and ready before resuming tournament play. Make sure to train and practice to prevent injury first, then start competition.

All accredited competition will adhere to government regulations and US Squash guidelines for safety protocols and risk mitigation as described above. Furthermore, US Squash recognizes that each area of the country and specific facilities have varied rules and protocols, and families have different risk factors and willingness to engage in competition. For these reasons, the competitive opportunities and structure are designed to provide flexibility for different levels of engagement and participation.

During the return to any form of competition, it is incumbent on the entire community – players, facilities, administrators, coaches, and families – to work cooperatively to ensure the best and safest possible experience. While it’s been said many times before, the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges that we must face through creative solutions, patience, and understanding. There almost certainly will be changes of course along the path before prior models of competition are possible again, and some of those models may be forever altered.

US Squash remains deeply grateful to the all members of the squash community for their commitment to the sport, and for their input throughout the process of planning for a return to play and competition. Stay informed with the most recent updates and information on the COVID-19 and return-to-play section of the US Squash website here.