ACA Sports Counselling in Hyderabad integrates sports and academics, providing personalised guidance to

Equipped with information on US universities and the admission process, Padmavathi Devarakonda provides counselling services to student-athletes

Equipped with information on US universities and the admission process, Padmavathi Devarakonda provides counselling services to student-athletes
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A globally certified career counsellor from the University of California (UCLA) and Univariety, Hyderabad, Padmavathi Devarakonda is the only professional from Telangana to be recognised by the International Career Counsellor’s Club. She has carved a niche for herself in the field, bridging the gap between sporting excellence and educational opportunities on a global scale.

Padmavathi’s journey into career counselling might seem unconventional at first glance. Armed with a background in Masters and Research in English, one might expect her to pursue a more traditional path. However, her story took a turn when her daughter embarked on her academic journey in the USA. At 52, Padmavathi found herself reigniting her career, driven by a long-held desire to delve into career counselling. Now, with six years of experience, Padmavathi’s focus remains steadfastly on sports, particularly tennis.

Her extensive travels over the past two decades have enriched her personal experiences and influenced her approach to counselling. “I have had the opportunity to experience different cultures and parenting styles,” says Padmavathi. Specialising in sports counselling was a natural progression when she accompanied her daughter on the tennis circuit. “I noticed a glaring lack of awareness regarding sports scholarships available in US universities, particularly for tennis players.” Determined to fill this gap, she established Aca Sports Counselling in 2017, a venture to guide student-athletes towards academic and sporting success abroad.

Catch them young

Padmavathi emphasises the importance of early intervention, recommending career counselling as early as the eighth grade. She believes in nurturing a continuous dialogue with students, whether they are pursuing academics or balancing sports alongside their studies.

Despite growing awareness in urban areas, Padmavathi notes a persistent lack of knowledge regarding international sports scholarships in rural regions. Her mission extends beyond simply facilitating admissions; she strives to empower students with comprehensive guidance, ensuring they meet the academic and athletic criteria demanded by prestigious universities.

Aca Sports agenda

Padmavathi prioritises institutions that value academic excellence and athletic prowess when selecting colleges and universities. Her meticulous approach involves assessing students’ academic records, standardised test scores, extracurricular achievements, and personalised guidance through psychometric tests and profile-building activities.

Padmavathi discusses psychometric tests’ benefits: “The test helps guide the students as it measures their interests, personality, and abilities (numerical, communication, abstract). It also shows their strengths and weaknesses so that we can work in the right direction.”

Navigating the admissions process can be daunting, with specific deadlines and timelines. Padmavathi advises students to start early, particularly for athletes whose recruitment process often begins a year in advance.

Once admitted, Padmavathi emphasises the need to balance sports and academics. She underscores the importance of discipline, punctuality, and ethical conduct, reminding students of their responsibilities on and off the field. Her advice: “Maintain the required GPA, be punctual, avoid distractions during practice sessions, and stay away from drugs and plagiarism.”

Focus on fitness

On the interconnectedness of fitness, performance, and nutrition in an athlete’s regimen, Padmavathi stresses the importance of maintaining discipline not only in training but also in food habits and sleep patterns to optimise performance. While she acknowledges that training in gym may not be obligatory, she highlights the significance of a certified coach in ensuring effective training methods and techniques.

Padmavathi acknowledges that injuries or performance setbacks pose substantial hurdles for athletes. These setbacks not only bring physical pain but also induce emotional distress and feelings of helplessness. However, she emphasises the importance of confronting these challenges head-on, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable barriers.

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