EP 72- Mustafa Sarkar – How to create psychological resilience


“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower. ”

On the show today, I chat with sport psychologist and researcher, Dr Mustafa Sarkar. Mustafa works at Nottingham Trent University in the UK where he is a senior lecturer and researcher, focusing on the psychology of sporting excellence and its application to other high performance domains. He also works closely with teams and organisations on creating environments and cultures that enable high performance, including the English Premier League. Mustafa graduated from Loughborough University in 2008 with a first-class honours degree in sport and exercise science, and in 2014, earned a PhD in the assessment of psychological resilience in sport performers.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Mustafa and I discuss growing up playing cricket, the struggles he faced to perform under pressure, how to encourage life-long participation in sport, the importance of psychological safety and how to create it, all about Mustafa’s brilliant research on creating resilience, and much more.

I hope you enjoy it.

We also discuss:

  • Mustafa’s relationship with his dad, for better and worse;
  • The role of the parent in youth sport and new research Mustafa and his colleagues are embarking on soon;
  • Mustafa’s thoughts on parents coaching their kids;
  • The home environment and how to shape it for better sporting outcomes;
  • Empowering parents to have the hard conversations with a coach and why it’s so important;
  • Helping the youth athlete cope with pressure;
  • Perfectionism, and the fine line between striving to be your best and obsession;
  • The importance of introversion;
  • Surprising new research on confidence;
  • Why the environment is at the heart of developing resilience;
  • The importance of talking with coaches in the research process;
  • Self-identity

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Thanks so much for listening!