I had the opportunity to talk to Raheel Manji and discuss how his vision for an elite performance center has started during Covid-19. Read more to find out how he has built a support team to help professional and college tennis players achieve their goals.
- When did you see this vision to start Mission Elite Performance?
I always knew that when my career was done, I would start an elite performance center. I could see it perfectly. Go to work, but have all the right resources and people together. About 2 months into going back on tour I envisioned it. So many players on tour are struggling financially. They are very motivated and driven but do not have that structure and feedback. I also noticed that college players come back home during summer and do not get the training they need. I believe in college tennis players. They have a toughness and edge to them and have been pushed in a lot of ways, so I wanted to help guide them. We are trying to find ways to help these players live like actual pros and find ways to support them because they are working hard every day. To join Mission Elite you have to be the right person and contribute in the right way.
2. What was the catalyst behind your vision?
The catalyst was my love for teams, and how they’re organized. History had a huge impact on how I saw a team. I became interested in studying the effects of groups and character. I saw a huge void in the team in tennis, and results are proven to be stronger in teams. There is so much toxicity and selfishness in tennis and no one wants to put their guard down and work together. If you do not want to work together, yeah you may be the best in your town but you will not break out to the next level. I saw a lot of powerful results that came out of creating a team environment, but it has to be the right one.
3. What do you do as the CEO of Mission Elite Performance?
I overlook every single aspect of the company. I push them as a player, I manage them as a manager, overlook them as a company owner, and as a coach. I am trying to get in the trenches with them. I have the luxury of still feeling what they feel. I put together a whole support team for these players and if I feel I am best in a certain role then I will fill that.
4. How have you received partnerships to support your athletes?
The players pay me to coach them so I can cover things like court fees, but then I invest that money back into the resources like the support team for fitness, mental performance, and nutrition. I make it affordable for the players. Instead of pocketing the money, I use it to invest back into them.
5. Can you talk about how important networking and relationships were to create this team you have now?
It is so important to network and build relationships. You should have the intention to go into every conversation with an open mind. Some people’s strengths are obvious and others are not, but many people can help you in some way. I try to find one piece of value in every person. Everyone has some unique strengths that I do not have and I try to find that. I do not want to be the smartest person in the room because I am a learner. Get to know everybody! You might find a good friend and help each other out!
6. How did you come up with your blueprint to success?
My initial strengths as a player were toughness and competitiveness. I was blinded in other areas, and those two strengths where all that mattered to me as a kid. I went to Indiana and those strengths translated well, but I got educated and intelligence and competence were two more strengths I developed. When I went to Oklahoma, I realized how mature I needed to be and how important character was. So through these experiences, I built the blueprint of Mission Elite. You want to know why and where you had success and why and where you failed. I drafted the blueprint one time, and every day I obsessed over these values and it just made sense.
7. What is your ultimate goal behind mission elite?
I want to scale the company so that it is massive at one point. The first priority is to bring on the right people and if I can only get 22 of the right people then that is what we will settle for. I would rather have one high-quality person than a couple of average/good people. I want to be way more than an elite center. The bigger we can get, the more people we can impact.
8. If you could say one last phrase to your player before they went out to play. What would you say?
Be an overachiever, know when you’re underachieving. I do not mean results, I mean overachieve in terms of attitude, effort, focus, and intangibles.
9. Lastly, Describe how tennis has influenced you in 3 words.
Overachiever, Analyzer, Bold
Feel free to check out Mission Elite Performance to see what it takes to be an elite tennis player.