Northampton, MA — Beginning this season, the College Squash Association will adopt Point-A-Rally scoring to 11 (PAR 11). With PAR 11 scoring, the winner of each rally earns a point. Games are usually played to 11; however, at 10-10, a player must win by two points.
In October 2008, the World Squash Federation (WSF) announced that in April 2009, the entire sport would officially adopt PAR 11 scoring. This move served to unify the sport by creating a single worldwide scoring method.
The New England Interscholastic Squash Association (NEISA) responded to the WSF announcement by switching to PAR 11 last season. In December, US Squash announced that all U.S. junior and adult championships would immediately use PAR 11 scoring. First-year college students may have a slight advantage at the beginning of the college season because they are already accustomed to PAR 11.
PAR 11 has been used by the Professional Squash Association (PSA) since 2004 and the Women’s International Squash Player’s Association (WISPA) since 2008. PAR 11, which is sometimes referred to as professional scoring, has experimented with different tiebreaker methods, but it now utilizes the worldwide practice that a player must win by two points.
PAR scoring is not a new concept for college squash. Both men’s and women’s squash used PAR to 15 point (PAR 15), also called American scoring, for decades. In 1994, one year after moving from hardball to softball squash, women’s college squash changed from PAR 15 to hand-in-hand-out scoring. In this scoring method, the server, on winning a rally, scores a point; the receiver, on winning a rally, becomes the server. Games are usually played to nine points; however, if the game is tied at 8-8, the receiver may decide to play the game to 9 or 10. The men continued with PAR 15 for a few more seasons, but in 2001 they also changed to hand-in-hand-out scoring.
At the Howe Cup in February, the scoring change came to a vote. According to Shona Kerr, the women’s College Squash Association president, “We had a quality debate on the PAR 11 issue, but when it came to the vote it was pretty clear cut to follow the rest of the squash world globally on this one.”
The following weekend, the issue was again presented at the men’s National Team Championships. The men followed the women and elected to change its scoring system to PAR 11. “There was a strong voice of support for the move. All of the coaches are excited to try it out this year!” reported men’s College Squash Association president Bob Callahan.
The February 2009 issue of Squash Magazine outlines the debate about PAR 11. Jay D. Prince, the magazine’s publisher and editor, and columnist Richard Millman both support the change. Prince wrote that it took him a while to embrace the new system; however, he ultimately sees the benefit. He stated that “the quality of my play is improving, simply because I’m so much more aware of the dangers of making an error.”
Although there might be a slight learning curve, by the end of the season all college players should be experts in PAR 11.