Young players will always copy their heroes on the pitch but sometimes they copy the bad things as well as the good MORE
What’s the best way to improve one’s ability to quickly read the opposing team?
There are a couple of ways you can improve on reading the opposition. The main one being see how they line up at kick off, work out what formation they are playing and that will give you a good idea of the way they are going to play. If you have some notes jotted down in your kitbag you can quickly check out the strengths and weaknesses of the formation they are playing and how you can counter that.
Take an overview of all the current formations used in youth coaching to help you pick out the important points so you can quickly refer to them.
Also take a couple of minutes or get a parent or helper to watch the opposition in their warm ups. Is one player taking charge and doing everything, are they working on anything specific like the goalkeeper may not like coming out and collecting the ball at corners. This will help give you an insight into what the opposition are going to find difficult in the game.
If they have individual players who run the game for them you can have a good guess that if they are playing out from the back they will be looking for those players to pass to and you can weight your defensive line up to counter that.
If all else fails watch the opposition carefully for the first five minutes to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie, then you can change your team set up to exploit or cover the way they play.