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  #46   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2012, 04:44 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

My opinion is that the coach should be a student.

Having said that, I do wish that FIRST would allow mentors to train student coaches on practice day at a regional. It's very hard for a coach to get training (unlike the drivers). I don't understand why we can't have the two drivers, the student coach and a mentor coaching the coach on the field on practice day.

It's one of those questions that don't seem to get answered, kind of like, "Why are we shutting the playing field down at 4:30 p.m. on practice day when the pits are open until 8:00 p.m.? Meanwhile teams are waiting an hour or more to get 10 minutes on the practice field when we have the most beautiful playing field sitting idle.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 04:53 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by topgun View Post
My opinion is that the coach should be a student.

Having said that, I do wish that FIRST would allow mentors to train student coaches on practice day at a regional. It's very hard for a coach to get training (unlike the drivers). I don't understand why we can't have the two drivers, the student coach and a mentor coaching the coach on the field on practice day.

It's one of those questions that don't seem to get answered, kind of like, "Why are we shutting the playing field down at 4:30 p.m. on practice day when the pits are open until 8:00 p.m.? Meanwhile teams are waiting an hour or more to get 10 minutes on the practice field when we have the most beautiful playing field sitting idle.
I think off-season events are also a great time to do this. We have the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus, and us folks on 1126 usually have 2 drive teams of people who are interested (all students). This is a great opportunity for them to learn. I somehow got to be a coach for this event in 2010, really enjoyed it and ended uo as the competition coach for the 2011 and now 2012 season. It's been an incredible experience for me, and defintiely one a student should be able to have. But that is how our team does it. Other teams do it differently, and it is important to respect that.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 04:56 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

I can speak from the student's perspective.

Here's my background: I've been driving since the Cal Games offseason of 2010. I've studied great drivers (Nick Lawrence, to name one), and great coaches (Karthik, Paul Copioli, JVN, Adam Freeman, etc.). I thought I knew how to coach, and to this day, I still do.

HOWEVER, knowing something is one thing, executing it is another. At the Cal Games 2011 competition, I was both a driver, and the coach (never at the same time). Looking back, I was a HORRIBLE coach. I'm not saying this as a generalization to all student coaches, but I was bad. I gave bad directions, didn't comprehend what was happening at times, and didn't have the maturity or driver respect to pull off a strategy.

When I drive, I'm fine. I can drive with or without a coach, but as I learned at the Silicon Valley Regional last weekend, I do so much better with a coach. An adult coach. I ensured this season that we have an adult behind the glass, and IMO it's one of the best driving decisions the team has ever made.

There are so many reasons why I now prefer adult coaches, I can't list them all. Does it take away from the student's experience? No! If anything, as a driver I felt as if I performed the best I ever had. Sure, a student could have been down there coaching, but we wouldn't have been nearly as successful as we had with our adult coach.


I'm not saying one is right or one is wrong. Like everyone else is saying, "it's what's best for your team". And while I can't speak for everybody, a good majority of teams prefer an adult coach, and for a reason.

If you would like more information on my experiences with an adult coach, and why I chose to have one over a student, feel free to PM me.

And please, someone post a link to all the other threads like this, and then close this one. It's going nowhere, like the others.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 05:00 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Can someone please sticky the sentence, "Worry about what you do, not what other people do?"
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Unread 04-03-2012, 05:20 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankJ View Post
Count me in the mentor does not belong on the drive team camp. I can see exceptions but not many. If you don't like it, I am not on your team
I have to be honest, I feel that many times, teams who have heavily involved mentors are overly criticized. And it really irritates me. Saying things like "If you have an adult drive coach, I do not want to be part of your team" is actually incredibly insulting to me. You are passing judgement on our team without actually knowing how we operate outside of "Ooooh look they have an adult on their drive team!" So what? It works for us. Are you present at our weekly meetings, build sessions, strategy/scouting meetings, or in our pits? If not, please do not judge my team for choosing to have an adult coach. Don't come in here and tell us that we are wrong for what we do because, again, it works for us. Our success on and off the field should be enough of an indication of that.

I had an amazing FIRST experience when I was in high school. We had mentors help us out a lot, but I can say that I got a whole lot out of FIRST. I have talked to many students from other teams who did not have anything close to my experience (and, yes, some of those students were from both student-driven and student-and-mentor-driven teams). Who are you to tell anyone how to run their team?
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Unread 04-03-2012, 05:24 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Copioli View Post
Just for clarification, 148 and 1114 have mentor coaches not student coaches, although Ricky Q and Commander probably will thank you for thinking they are still high school students.
Oh man... well, don't I look stupid? I need to double-check my facts. My memory clearly doesn't serve me as well as I like to believe it does

Thank you for the clarification Paul!
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Unread 04-03-2012, 05:27 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperNerd256 View Post



HOWEVER, knowing something is one thing, executing it is another. At the Cal Games 2011 competition, I was both a driver, and the coach (never at the same time). Looking back, I was a HORRIBLE coach. I'm not saying this as a generalization to all student coaches, but I was bad. I gave bad directions, didn't comprehend what was happening at times, and didn't have the maturity or driver respect to pull off a strategy.
Much of this depends on training and learning. I wasn't stellar, and I'm still not great. Some of it depends on your Drive Team. If none of you respect each other, it won't work out. Luckily, I get along really well with our Drive Team both this year and last. I made bad calls, heck, I sent a mini-bot up the wrong tower because I didn't realize the other team had already done so and made a qucik decision to deploy on the tower we were closest to. Thhe result: a nice blob of smoking metal. The point is, we learn. What 1126 does is not the only way to do it, nor is the way you do it on 256. There is more than just "mentor or student." If anyone cares to correct me on this, please do so but I don't think anyone would be a great coach their first time doing it.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 05:38 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

I've been following this thread, and other similar threads from the past. I have finally decided to step in.

Here's my $.02.
Right up front, let me be honest. I am insanely competitive and I HATE to loose. Sometimes I get "overly involved", even though I am an adult (50+) and should have a bit more self control.

When I first started Mentoring, I LOVED to be on the field behind the drivers, involved and in tune. Coaching was not much more than keeping the drivers following the match strategy we had planned out.

I realized after a few years that I really didn't need to be back behind the glass and our students were more than capable enough to handle it.
So, now we utilize a game strategist who works with alliance partners in organizing every match's strategy. He makes sure the drivers and drive coach understand the strategy and alternatives that my need to be utilized.
During the match, the coach just directs the drive team what to do and leaves it to them to get it done. It is a simple chain of command that relies on the trust our team has in each other. We each play a role and trust and allow our team mates to perform theirs.

This is how our team likes to operate. We agree it works best for us. Is it for your team? I don't know, discuss it with your team. If you are reading into my comments that I am saying you should do likewise, then you are reading too much into my comments.

I now have just two jobs during a match: 1) Keep my mouth shut (no coaching from the side lines). 2) Take pictures.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 05:51 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

I love that this thread comes up every year so I can say the following:

1. Our team has a philosophy that students and mentors work together on every aspect of our team. Every aspect, including strategy and drive team.

2. I don't really care what your opinion is on the subject unless you are a student on my team. The students on my team disagree with me all the time and have yet to come to me wanting to drive coach. If they did, then I would entertain the idea. I promise that I won't tell your team that you should not have student drive coaches if you stop telling me to have student drive coaches.


Maybe you should go to your high school football team and tell them that a student should be the coach. I am sure they will entertain the idea.

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Unread 04-03-2012, 06:01 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

after 9 years of staying out of this topic...im jumping in.


A mentor is there because it is assumed that he/she is more knowledgeable in an area than the students. So....why allow the students to make the same mistakes repeatedly? By having active mentors on the drive team and build team, it allows the mentors to correct students before a habit is formed.


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Unread 04-03-2012, 06:20 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Copioli View Post
I don't really care what your opinion is on the subject unless you are a student on my team.
Paul, everyone who isn't the Thunder Chickens wishes they were the Thunder Chickens. You've done more to motivate 1551 to be more than they are than perhaps anything/anyone other than 340.

I know you don't care if the haters hate, but even so you should know that for every hating hater there's a dozen or more who look up to what you do and say, "one day, I will be them."
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Unread 04-03-2012, 06:41 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

This topic comes up every year but it is also something that changes from year to year as FIRST and teams grow and evolve.

I am asked about this a lot by teams new and old and there really is never a good direct answer to give a team other than you'll figure it out for yourself. The majority of the community posters here know that it is something that works differently from team to team. In answering the question, I usually provide positive examples of all types of instances where students and mentors serve as coaches. The great thing about our programs is that each team can develop its own unique positives within their systems. I can't think of a team where anyone on that team would list students or mentors serving as drive coaches as negatives, at least without mentioning room for growth or improvement. So whether or not a student or mentor on a team is a drive team coach is totally up to that team.

Will, it's certainly not wrong to ask teams how they run and make different decisions. You know I'll talk to you about anything; 1218 is one of the friendliest groups in MAR. Feel free to ask anytime about 2729. In short, the drive coach is a continuation of the mentoring experience on our team. Through this experience, I hope to demonstrate to my students team work and communication with people outside of our team. The role is also one that bring consistency to part of the team that changes for us from year to year with 4 different drive teams in our 4 year existence. Lastly, the relationship between our drivers and the coach is exhibited when we go onto the field with the robot carrying equal loads. As all members of our team are, mentors are there to work with our students just as they are ready to work with us.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 07:08 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Will,
It seems that you are taking unnecessary heat for asking a good question. yes this comes up every year the same as posts about the game, the rules, the bumpers. In reality there is only one reason. It works for that team. We believe very strongly in working side by side at everything. An adult mentor coaches our drive team. It seems to be working. Our students are engaged, inspired, doing very well in school, graduating, getting scholarships and degrees. If your team handles things differently and achieves the same results then both of our teams are working. If it works for you I wouldn't want it any other way. If you like our team and like the way it functions then come and ask me how we do things. If you don't, keep trying until you find a formula that works for your team. It doesn't matter how we get there, as long as we both arrive at the same destination.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 07:08 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

I'm following the "what works for your team" opinion.

I'll say that I'm the current drive coach for 1477, and am a mentor (although I get mistaken for a student a lot.)

I've worked with a lot of drive coaches, students and mentors alike, as long as they know the rules, and have a clean execution then they're doing a great job.

Best of luck to everyone!
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Unread 04-03-2012, 07:13 PM
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Re: Mentors as Drive Coaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Andrews View Post
... why is it that mentors are allowed to act as coaches on the drive team? ...
I totally agree, students should be coaches, and the mentors should be driving the robots. All too often the mentors boss the students around. A student really should get the opportunity to boss the mentors around. Start the chant with me:
Mentor Drivers!
Mentor Drivers!


In all seriousness, I think it is very wise of FIRST to allow this role to be either a student or a mentor.
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