Funding Source: CCPA’s Smart Family Fund
This summer, I have been lucky to work alongside founder Ahad Raza at the high-performance squash coaching business AR Proformance. Working primarily on media, communications, and advertising projects, I have learned about social media content creation and strategy, YouTube growth and analytics, digital marketing platforms and campaign methods, and more. It has been a valuable and interesting experience and one I am excited to continue this summer and potentially into the fall and winter.
Raza began a YouTube channel to recruit new students and provide value to the squash community during the COVID lockdown. On this channel, he brings the nuance and complexity of the professional game to the average player, highlighting technical, tactical, physical, and mental features of the game with clarity and detail. He then provides insights and strategies into how players of every level can add these elements to their game, albeit in more straightforward ways. Viewers learn how to bring greater intention, focus, and strategy to their game through conscious shot selection, pattern and combination creation, mental stamina, physical presence and spacing, and more. They also gain expert insight into the dramas and controversies on the PSA World Tour, the professional squash circuit, which he covers and comments on with wisdom and equanimity. Overall, the channel functions both as a value-add to the squash community and a funnel for Raza’s personal squash coaching business. Raza coaches in person in Canada, where he lives, and online via Zoom.
I began watching AR Proformance videos this spring to complement my training with the Haverford Squash team. I enjoyed them so much that I emailed Raza, asking if I could assist him in any way in creating and distributing content. Luckily enough, we were able to connect and create an internship opportunity for the summer. I have been working for Raza for just over 2 months now, and I have learned a lot. I first learned video editing, and I have enjoyed helping to clean up video drafts, timestamp them, and prepare them for YouTube publication in the YouTube studio. Being involved with producing the videos that initially drew me to his work has been very exciting and fulfilling.
From there, many of my projects have been centered around the larger goal of expanding Raza’s reach and influence. We are in the final stages of turning his video interviews into a podcast which will be available on multiple platforms. I also run multiple ad campaigns through Google and Meta to grow his email list and begin email marketing campaigns. Additionally, I am in the late stages of a complete social media refresh and rollout which will build AR Proformance’s internet presence up from scratch. This will include scheduled content from now through the winter, hopefully bringing awareness and interest to his brand. Finally, I have been assisting with the updating of Raza’s website, adding new pages, and helping with the overall themes and design.
There have been significant learning curves with many of these skills, but the work has been engaging, exciting, and fulfilling. I enjoy improving at things that were once difficult and being able to complete tasks more easily and with higher proficiency. This internship has provided me with lots of opportunities to do just that, and then to take on new difficult tasks. I am excited to finish the summer strong and bring some of the projects I have been working on in the background to the public!
I know that while I am learning these skills to help grow a squash business, basic media, web design, and marketing skills will be helpful no matter where I go after Haverford. I have been lucky to be able to learn more about these key areas this summer and do so in the context of the sport I love. I could not have done any of this without the support of Mr. Drew Adair and the CCPA, Mr. Raza’s guidance, trust, and mentorship, and the generous support of the Smart Family Foundation. I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved in providing me with this wonderful summer learning experience. Thank you.