Understanding Tournaments

Squash tournaments are a great way to play against other players and improve your squash game, whether you are playing socially or you want to be on the official provincial ladder.

It can be very confusing for new parents and players.  To help, we want to give you more information about squash tournaments and what you need to know.  Please note that we have used the concept of “levels” to simplify the explanation of the tournaments, but officially, there are no levels of tournaments in squash.

Disclaimer: We do our best to have the information correct at the date of publishing. But CJS cannot be held liable for changes to criteria, dates, and other information.  This post is to explain the different squash tournaments and events, so please always refer to the organising body for the most up-to-date and correct information.

Last updated: 9 Sep 2022.

To download a handy 3-page Quick Reference Guide to Tournaments, please click HERE.

Table of Contents

  1. Squash season
  2. When should I enter my child into tournaments
  3. Squash age groups
  4. List of tournaments
  5. The tournaments explained
  6. Selection criteria for Northern Gauteng Provincial Teams
  7. Payments of Association fees
  8. Contact Information for NJSA

1.  Squash Season

The new squash season starts with the NJSA Start of Season tournament (usually in early September) and closes the following year with the IPTs (Interprovincial Tournaments).

2. When should I enter my child into tournaments

If your child is new to tournaments, we recommend that you enter your child in a few CJS Social Saturday events, to build their confidence in playing, marking, and refereeing.

When your child is competent in playing a squash game (can serve from both sides, can play a forehand and backhand shot), can mark with confidence, and knows the basic rules of squash (including an understanding of lets and strokes), we suggest you speak with your child about playing in a tournament.

Tournaments can be fun, but they can also be very stressful and disappointing for new players.  We believe that the best way to learn is to enter and play in a tournament.  There will be very tough games against better players, and there will be easier games.  It is all about experience and growth.

Where to start?  Here is our recommendation.  Please note that the details of the tournaments are below this section:

Step 1

Play in the CJS Social Saturdays.  These are short 10-minute games against players of similar strength, giving players the opportunity to experience the idea of competitive play and learn how to mark and referee. Social Saturday events are open for players from all levels (beginner up to provincial). Primary School and high school players welcome!

Step 2

A great first experience of a tournament is the CJS Midyear Tournament (previously known as the CJS Pre-IPT Tournament).  This is an event with more participants and players will get the experience of what a competitive tournament is like.  Players from all levels are encouraged to participate, and we group the players according to strength.   Players must be able to play a game (able to serve, play a forehand and backhand comfortably) and can mark and referee.  Court managers/officials on duty to help where needed.

Step 3

Then we have tournaments that are just for CJS players.  First, is our CJS Little Red League Tournament, which is aimed to give our young new players (Preschool to Grade 3) the opportunity to be on the court with coaches assisting.   This event is normally held in August.   Then in October, we have the CJS Primary and High School Club Champs.  This event is for CJS players only.  Both events are safe and supportive environments for our players to become comfortable with tournaments.

Step 4

The school leagues are where teams from the schools in Centurion and Pretoria compete against each other to determine the best school team.  Participating schools select their teams and then the schools play against each other.  You don’t have to be a provincial player to represent your school and play in the school league, as there are different sections according to strength in which teams can enter.

  • The NJSA High School League is usually from February to March.
  • The NJSA Primary School League is usually in October.
  • The National Top Schools Tournament is where high school teams play in regional tournaments to determine the best team. The winning team plays in the final round against the top school teams from the other regions.

CJS hosts the CJS Primary School League Tournament to assist the primary schools in determining the players for the teams.

Step 5:

Players can now enter the NJSA (Northern Junior Squash Association) tournaments.  These are competitive tournaments, and players must be able to mark and referee the game after their own game.  Coaches are not able to assist, although there are court officials at the venues that manage the play and may arrange for assistance where needed (for example, when junior players need to mark and referee senior players’ games).  After playing in any NJSA tournament, a player is then added to the NJSA ladder after the tournament, or the player’s rank is updated.

If a player wants to qualify for selection to represent Northern Gauteng at the SA Schools Country Festival (Bloemfontein, April) or the Angela Difford Interprovincial IPT (for U11 only), it is important to play in at least 1 of the NJSA tournaments.   Please note that NJSA has a requirement that players must play in at least 3 sanctioned tournaments.

Step 6

There are also tournaments hosted by the other regions in squash, for example, Joburg Junior Squash and Eastern Junior Squash.  These Other Junior Tournaments are important to play if a player wants to qualify for selection to represent Northern Gauteng at the Interprovincial Tournament (IPT).

Once you are a provincial-level player, we recommend that you participate in the Tecnifibre Bloemfontein Junior Open.  This is a national tournament where players from all over South Africa participate, which means it is a great opportunity to play against players you would normally not play against.  This tournament is also a qualifying tournament for the SA Schools Top 10 Rankings.

The Growthpoint National Tournament is a national-level tournament.  There are regional rounds and then the top player (or players) from each region are invited to play in the final rounds in Cape Town on the glass squash court.  The age group sections for this tournament are different from other tournaments: U15, U17, and U19.

Step 7

For our high school players who are serious about their squash, we recommend that they participate in any of the PSA (Professional Squash Association) tournaments.  These are adult and professional level tournaments.  Please speak to Maryna Fourie first before you enter a player in a PSA tournament.

Optional

For our high school players who want to play more squash socially (no need to play in NJSA tournaments or be a provincial player), we recommend that they participate in the Adult Squash Club League.  

3. Squash Age Groups

Junior squash has different age groups, as follows:

  • Under 11
  • Under 13
  • Under 14
  • Under 16
  • Under 19.

A player plays in the age group that he or she is on 1 January of that year, e.g., if you’re 13 on 1 January you play u14 for the year even if you turn 14 on 2 January. Players must play according to their age group in the NJSA Closed and in the IPTs. It is compulsory to play in your age group for all SA Selection tournaments.

4.  List of Junior Tournaments

The CJS Tournaments and events are listed below:

  • CJS Social Saturday (various dates))
  • CJS Mid-Year Tournament (Jun, open)
  • CJS Primary School League Tournament (Aug).  Please note that CJS hosts this tournament on behalf of the primary schools to determine the teams to play in the NJSA Primary School league in October. 
  • CJS Little Red League Tournament (Aug, CJS players only)
  • CJS Primary and High School Club Champs (Oct, CJS players only)

The NJSA Tournaments are listed below:

  • NJSA Start of Season (Sept)
  • NJSA Ranking (Jan)
  • NJSA Round Robin Closed (Feb)
  • NJSA Graded Open (Mar)
  • NJSA Closed (May)

The list of external tournaments (NJSA sanctioned) are:

  • Pre-Season Easterns Junior Open (Sept)
  • North West Open (Oct)
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal Junior Open (Jan)
  • Wilson Easterns Junior Open (Jan)
  • Joburg Junior Open (Feb)
  • Boland Junior Open (Feb)
  • Dunlop Easterns Junior Open (Feb)
  • Joburg Junior Open Graded (Mar)
  • Tecnifibre Bloemfontein Junior Open (Mar)
  • SA Schools Closed (Invitation only – Apr)
  • Pointline Western Province Youth Open (Apr).

The school leagues are:

  • NJSA Primary School League (Oct)
  • Note:  CJS assists the schools in determining the teams for the NSJA Primary School League.  Players who want to play in the league must enter and play the CJS Primary School League Tournament (Aug).
  • NJSA High School League (Feb – Mar)
  • National Top Schools (Jun & Aug, for high school teams)

Other tournaments and club league:

  • Growthpoint National Tournament U15, U17, U19
  • PSA Tournaments (various dates)
  • Adult Club League (Mar/Apr to Sept/Oct)

Please note that dates are subject to change.

5. The Tournaments Explained

Please note that we have used the concept of “levels” to simplify the explanation of the tournaments, but officially, there is no levels of tournaments in squash.