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Utah gymnastics: Sport psychologist gets into athletes’ heads
College gymnastics » Salt Lake City’s Detling helps Utes find mental balance.

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"A lot of it is the same; you just have to find out where they are starting from and where they need to be," she said.

Perhaps one of her greatest challenges is Georgia Dabritz. Despite the gymnast’s success this year, she still struggles with confidence on the balance beam. However, Dabritz is getting better, scoring 9.8 or higher during exhibitions at the last two meets. She is hoping to break into the beam lineup, with Detling’s help.

At a glance

About Nicole Detling

» Assistant professor in exercise and sport sciences at the University of Utah.

» Worked with U.S. Speedskating team from 2008 to 2013.

» Consults with the freestyle aerials team.

» Works with the University of Utah gymnastics, baseball and softball teams as well as other individual athletes.

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"She has given me some different verbal cues and breathing techniques, and things like that have helped," Dabritz said. "Every time I start my routine I find a focal point in the gym to help me focus."

So far it has worked, as have many other of Detling’s techniques.

With the gymnastics team in the midst of its season and the Olympics ongoing, a lot of athletes are counting on Detling to help them maximize their talent. She is as cool about her influence as she hopes they are about their competitions.

"It’s all about finding what works for each athlete," she said of sport psychology. "It’s like pieces of clay and you just mold it to fit the different sports."

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