There are key roles for the competition that should be reviewed and agreed before you attend the event. Once you arrive, there will be a lot of activity and work to be done, so the more preparation that can be done in advance the better you can perform.
Working to be sure each team member has a role will help spread the workload and make sure each team member has an important job to perform at the event.
Pit Crew – The Pit Crew is responsible keeping the robot ready for matches.
- Keep the robot repaired and operating
- Change bumpers
- Keep batteries charged
- “Keep the Robot Match Ready”
Judge Talkers / Visitor Talkers – This group is responsible for talking with judges and others that visit your team in the pits.
- Knowledgeable about the robot and functions
- Knowledgeable about the team and team activities
- Outgoing and Friendly
- Able to stay in the pit most of the time
- “Make the team look good”
Drive Team – Drives and operates the robot in practice and competition matches
- Driver, Operator, Human Player, Coach (May be a Mentor or Student)
- Move the robot to and from the field
- Agree strategy with the alliance partners
- Know and understand all robot rules
- Communicate to the Pit Crew on any robot issues or changes needed
- “Make the robot look good”
Scouting Team – Watches matches to learn how other robots are performing and help define strategy
- Watch matches to evaluate other teams performance
- Record and track performance and create “pick list” of teams for alliance selection
- Consider scouting data for scoring, strategy, penalties, reliability, autonomous, speed, special skills
- Consider ‘pit scouting’ for drive system, special features, robustness
- “Prepare the team for matches and alliance selection”
Chairman’s Team – Prepares and presents the Chairman’s presentation
- Write and practice the “Chairman’s” presentation materials
- Be available to speak with judges after the presentation times
- “Make the team and team activities look good”
In the Pits
Advanced planning and preparation can make your pit an important asset for your team.
Pit Displays – A good pit layout and displays will help highlight your team.
Pit displays could include:
- Team name and team number
- FIRST Logo
- Display of pictures and activities
- Slide show
- Previous awards
- Past accomplishments
- Sponsor Info
- Team Flag
Give Aways – Items to share with other teams
- Promote your team with team theme items
- Buttons, pens, pencils, toys, flyers, info sheets
- Materials to give to judges – team info, flyers
Your school is very important to your robotics team. Make sure your school knows your competition dates and other activities by
- A pep rally
- Teacher sponsors
- Locker decorations
- Team shirts
- Determine in advance what are the key performance parameters for you to know about
- Keep data collection simple. It is more important to have a small sample of really good data than a lot of confusing information.
- For 2016 “Stronghold” some key performance data might include
- High goal shooting
- Low goal shooting
- Scaling the tower
- Overcoming defenses
- Assign a few students to watch matches to gather this data. Be sure to have a good transition plan when other students take over.
- Remember to check the pits to learn about drive systems, design, and special features.
- Be ready to be an Alliance Captain and make your selections!
Spare parts and replacement parts are important for keeping your robot working throughout the competition.
General Parts – Batteries, nuts and bolts, pneumatic tubing, chain and other parts are important and should be a part of your tool chest.
Specialty Purchased Parts – If possible, but spare special and unique parts you have purchased and are using on your robot. These parts could include specific motors, pneumatic cylinders, sensors, electrical components, wheels or special sizes of nuts, bolts and screws. This could also include specific sizes of drive belts and other unique components you are using.
Specialty Manufactured Parts – If you have made specialized components or parts for your robot, it could be difficult to make a replacement at the competition, and unlikely that any other team would have a part you could borrow. Focus on parts that are critical to your robot’s operation and prioritize parts to be made based on your budget and schedule.
Borrowed Parts – FIRST – FIRST has a small supply of common spare parts at most competitions. Some are only available as a trade and a team mentor must borrow the part. Most of these parts need to be returned at the end of the competition.
Borrow Parts – Teams – Many FIRST teams take along a supply of general spare parts that they will share with other teams. These parts can include nuts and bolts, gears, motors, pneumatic parts, wire, chain and other items. Some of these parts are available to take and use and keep, but others can be expensive and should be returned to the teams. Be sure to check with a team mentor when borrowing parts, and return them if that is what is agreed.
Tools to Bring
At some events, there will be a machine shop for major work, but basic tools are needed to repair your robot and keep it ready for a match. These tools include:
- Circuit tester
- Drill with drill bits
- Duct Tape
- Electrical tools
- Hand saw
- Spare Parts
- Tape measure
- Wrenches/socket set
Prior to travel, it is important to meet with students and parents about rules and restrictions. Some topics to cover in this meeting are:
- Grade requirements
- Where you are going
- Departure and report times
- Permission slip
- Fees-transportation, hotel, etc.
- What to bring
- Cash requirements-Food, concessions, etc.
- Event/hotel location and phone number