With over a decade of experience in football analysis in English Football, including nine years at Manchester City, Aaron Briggs lives every single day in a high-performance environment.

In this article, the now Assistant Coach of AS Monaco details practical insights on how live analysis affects all aspects of the analyst role at an elite level.

Live Analysis on the Training Ground

Characteristics of a winning side are built on the training ground, and with live analysis it’s much the same. Specific match scenarios are built out for the players to exercise against, while the analysis team breaks these exercises down into digestible pieces of feedback for the players.

“So if we're working on a phase of play, it might be defending the box, I would have maybe two or three clips of our last game, or two or three clips from our philosophy,” said Briggs.

With the weather in The Principality being much more forgiving than Manchester, Briggs and his team are lucky enough to have a large pitchside screen handy, showing pre-loaded clips for instant feedback between player and coach.

“What we are able to do is put live clips of training on the screen from our fixed cameras,” explained Briggs. “We get the players together very quickly in between parts of the training session, so there might be a warm up and then possession drill, then I’ll quickly get them together.”

The challenge is to get the message across quickly and work with the sports scientist who will want to make sure the players don’t cool down too much while they are shown focused clips of the past two or three games where improvement needs to take place.

The process then moves on to integrate with the Head Coach, with Briggs manipulating the training drills to give the coach challenges.

“So, for example, I’ll say to the striker to stay central or to pull wide,” said Briggs. “I’ll go through these two manipulations with the opposition, and the Head Coach will come in and coach the solution that we've already gone through.

Immediately after, we can jump back over to the screen and watch another one or two clips and the coach can explain his point in more depth.”

After nine years at Manchester City, including a spell as Senior First Team Analyst, Briggs is now working with AS Monaco.

Tailoring Analysis

A key aspect of performance analysis at Monaco is the blending of the philosophy of how they want their players to play the game, and tailoring that to the individual strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. This philosophy helps make training sessions as ‘real’ as possible in preparation for matches that lie ahead.

“We're trying to gain an advantage on a match day, and every game is slightly different,” said Briggs. “ So back five, back four, 4-4-2, 4-3-3, whatever you're coming up against, our job is to try and make the game on the weekend as predictable as possible, so that the players already have the solution.

This is the impact that I think analysis has. So if you can make it as

predictable as possible for the players and give them 2-3 clear solutions you naturally gain an advantage”

Live Analysis on Match Day

Studies show that a really good manager only interprets 60% of the game accurately. It’s the job of the assistant coaches and analysts to make up that additional 40%. Briggs and his team are fully immersed in the process from kickoff, until the final whistle.

“During the game, I have a wide angle, TV broadcast image and all the data coming through,” said Briggs. “So I have four things coming into my own eyes, and it's my job to review every moment and feed directly into our Assistant Coach, or the Head Coach.  

For instance, they've just created a chance that got them in down on our right side. How did they do it? What was their intention? Is it tactical? Or was it just an individual technical mistake?

My job is to try and make our analysis as accurate as possible. So then the coach, the head coach can make accurate informal decisions to affect the outcome of that game on that day.

I need to ensure that I am equipped with as much information as possible as at any time the coach can turn around and ask a question:  “What's going on with the press?" I have to have already reviewed this and give him a short quickfire answer.

This approach to simplifying multiple streams of vision into specific bites of information can be explained effectively as a funnel approach. Technology allows for this funneling process to take place in real time.

“I’ve got all of this data, four streams coming in, and I've got to give real key information in very short snippets because the coach doesn't want to be talking to me all game,” said Briggs. 

“He just wants literally four or five key moments each half. This is the problem. Here are some solutions. He can then make a more informed decision”

Briggs (center) provides live insights to the Monaco coaching team to help influence performance during a match.

Half Time Analysis

As the players head in for the break, a key challenge for the coaching staff is to feed them all of the necessary information for them to stay engaged and improve performance in the second half.

The first four to five minutes are the backroom staff gathering to discuss the key points from the 1st half, we are separate from the players at this point while the players go and do their treatment, hydration and other things,” said Briggs.

“We will then come together with three or four clips that I've already organized with the analysis that comes down.”

A good example can be seen in fixing the press.

“It might be a problem with our press that they've got the overload on us, so in that instance, I will get two clips of the press to show the coach immediately on the wide screen,” said Briggs. “Then I will offer Solution A, or Solution B. He then decides if he wants to go with one of these solutions, or one of his own.

“For the players to actually see it rather than it being recreated on a tactics board is much more powerful, because they can actually see the moment.”

“For the players to actually see it rather than it being recreated on a tactics board is much more powerful, because they can actually see the moment" Aaron Briggs - Assistant Coach, AS Monaco.

What Is High Performance?

Having the right people and the right processes gives you the best

opportunity to try and make better decisions than errors. And in a long and arduous season that contains both League and Cup fixtures, the consistency of a high-performance coaching and analysis workflow is vital. 

“There’s seasons where you play over 60 games a season, and I think you have ask this question - "What is high performance in this type of environment?” said Briggs.

“60 games a season, so it's not just 10. That's opposition analysis, detailed analysis, training proposals and game plan proposals to the coach for each match.

Then you've got everything we've just discussed with a live workflow. Then you've got the post-match review, the individual development review, every game.

So that's 60 times in a season And I think consistency is so key. I've seen so many good people just do good work over small periods, and then you go like, "Oh, where's the opposition report? "Where's the post-match?

High-performance is consistency across all these different metrics, it's hard work to make sure that everyone's aligned and that everyone understands the process, because if they do something they don't believe in, they're not going to do it with as much enthusiasm, I'm not going to get good work from them.

Maintaining this level is a big challenge in modern football with the ever increasing demands of the games.”

"High-performance is consistency across all these different metrics, it's hard work to make sure that everyone's aligned and that everyone understands the process, because if they do something they don't believe in, they're not going to do it with as much enthusiasm".

The Future of Live Analysis

I mean, you've already mentioned the use of more data to bring

together and bring to life, your principles and your game model to find out things about your position quickly, you know.

When asked about the future of live analysis in elite-level football, two thoughts came to mind for AS Monaco Assistant. 

“I think during injury breaks, you will see players being shown four or five second clips on the side,” said Briggs. “We use Hudl Replay, for example, especially for situations in France, where at the start of the season, you get a water break. This will likely be the same in the upcoming World Cup. 

And I think the ever-growing space is the spatial data, the big data, is going to evolve hugely. The bespoke algorithms the clubs are now creating for their own playing styles are going to be more powerful.”

In regards to data within a live workflow, it's always about making sure that you're giving the right information at the right time. 

At Monaco there was a situation where data measured against a well-performing player led to him being substituted, despite good form within the match.

“We had a moment a month ago where the sprint distance of a player was high, he played really well and was probably our best player in the game, both scoring and assisting - but his performance dropped off in the last  minutes, So the coach asked for his data and made a change off the back of that,” said Briggs.

“He wasn’t happy, because he was the best player on the pitch. He had gotten an assist, he's got the goal. But he’s a young player, and we've got to educate him on the level we constantly want. Because of all our physical testing, we know that it’s hard to maintain over 90 minutes.

So next match, sixty minutes, sixty five minutes, we're gonna take you off. Next time we'll replace you with 15 minutes left, because you're gonna be a little bit fitter.

If we leave you on and you get injured, you're out for three months. That's no good for you or your career, or for us as a club.

Learn more about best practices on how video and data insights can impact live analysis both at the training and at the stadium in our High Performance Workflows Webinar