My son (aged 9) played really well in pick-up football games and community recreation, then we joined a competitive league. Around competitive players he holds himself back, he gets rid of the ball too quickly and makes bad decisions.
Coaches are perplexed, he has all the ingredients to be a dominant player, but on the field he does not play freely.
How can we transfer good mental performance to the competitive games?
UPDATE: As an experiment I had my son be a sub for another competitive team in another league, and he played back at his normal high level. I noticed the following characteristics in the team and the coach
COACH Spends a lot of time in groups and in one-on-one sessions with players. He spends time during practice and during games pulling my son aside and giving him feedback. Ends feedback with encouragement always.
Players New teammates are more inclusive and warmer towards my son. The pass the ball more, provide helpful directions at times. Some of this is mandated by the coach. Kids are respectful and more disciplined.