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Unread 05-02-2009, 01:55 PM
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People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

Here's a question I'd like to pose to the people of CD, At the Championship How many Support Personnel is too many? At what point should someone put their foot down and say there are too many people out? Is it when team members are wearing the badges and media passes of other teams? Is it when other teams are helping there sister teams in the finals? You tell me.

I had a discussion with a very close friend of mine about this issue. We noticed During the Eliminations on Curie that there were a few teams that seemed to be growing in size behind the curtain. I thought the purpose of giving three Pit Crew Badges to each team was to control the amount of support personnel allowed on the Dome Floor.

I'm not saying that we all don't do this in some form or another, My Friend Shan From 612 was hanging out with our alliance during our strategy sessions, I believe he was using his team's media credentials. I know I've seen other teams do the same, but how many people from any one team be allowed on the floor?

Some people may find that there's nothing at fault with this but, one could make the arguement that a team with more support personnel could maintain their robot better between matches or fix something that would normally not be fixable during the time constraints of the Elimination Matches.

I'm not trying to attack any single team because then half of the teams in the Eliminations would be at fault here, I'm just trying to suggest that FIRST begin enforcing the number of people as support personnel. Usually, this isn't a problem at regionals, where teams can get behind the curtain and their pit is all of 10-50 feet away but I guess it could be an issue on that level as well. Also, can we please keep the discussion as unbiased as possible, and not attack any teams or people.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 02:08 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

You have 4 drive team members and 3 pit crew members. That's clear. The problem is, team media passes.

Certainly, if somebody's wearing another team's badge and working on their own robot, then that's too far.

My thought is that, assuming that this is an issue, an area should be established for each alliance/field. Team members of any team with media badges should stay beyond a 5' limit. They can't actually work on the robot, but they can act as runners. Anybody with a pit crew or driver badge can be anywhere in the area. (It is assumed that once your drive team has no further reason to be there, they return their robot to the pit and pack it up.)

In cases of major catastrophic damage, of course, all bets are off--changing a wheel or replacing a drive chain isn't exactly catastrophic. Even FLL, which says "Thou shalt not have more than 2 members at the table at any time", makes an exception for repair emergencies.

Or you could leave it the way it is now.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 02:23 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

Well, after looking at a picture, I counted 9 members of one team and 6 non-drive team members of another team. So, its clear to me that teams had more than the 7 plus the one media pass. Were all the people working on the robot or significantly changing the results on the field (ie strategy)? Can't tell, but it certainly is possible.

I think it would be pretty easy to follow the rules as everyone has the same colored shirt. I know I noticed around 10 people from one team while watching from the upper level. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a special media pass zone for picture taking and filming? If so, then there is no reason that the person with the media pass is outside of that spot.

For the 'sister team' issue, I don't think there is anything around this other than making sure only necessary people are on the field. So, say team 46 (somehow) lost in their division semifinals, then none of their team should be on the floor of the georgia dome. This way, there is no way they could help their sister team with strategy in the finals.

This would create some hassels and the volunteers would need to keep tabs of who should be on the field or not, but it is possible to do. I'm not sure if its worthwhile or not.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 02:45 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

I don't think having alot of people on the floor is that big of a help when it comes to fixing the robot if it breaks. After all the robot is only so big and only so many hands can fit in it to fix the problem.

As for more people helping in on strategy I have no problem with it, who cares how many people are coming up with the strategy? It is up to the drive teams to execute said strategy during the match and that is the only place where anybody should really care how many people said team has on the floor.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 05:52 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricLeifermann View Post
I don't think having alot of people on the floor is that big of a help when it comes to fixing the robot if it breaks. After all the robot is only so big and only so many hands can fit in it to fix the problem.

As for more people helping in on strategy I have no problem with it, who cares how many people are coming up with the strategy? It is up to the drive teams to execute said strategy during the match and that is the only place where anybody should really care how many people said team has on the floor.
My thoughts exactly. You can have all the strategy help in the world, but that doesn't guarantee a win unless your drivers and alliance partners can execute it.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 07:21 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

Well, if extra people cannot help the team out by fixing the robot or in strategy, then why are they down there? Either they are giving their team a competitive advantage or just breaking the rules for front row seats of the finals, correct?
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Unread 05-02-2009, 07:49 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

One of the problems with our hawaiian shirts is that everybody wants them. During eliminations, a lot of people wear our shirts and hang around our robot (including volunteers) and are mistaken to be on our team. We have a strict policy on our team where team members with media pass do not touch the robot or tools. Occasionally, if there is an emergency, they may help. An emergency may be something like the toolbox fell over and tools are all over the place. At that point, I think anyone around would help put the tools back in the toolbox regardless of who they are over there. If teams use the media pass/other teams driver badges/volunteer badges to try to be a part of a teams pit crew, then that is not right. I don't care if they want to hang around or be a part of the strategy meetings. That is perfectly fine. I also don't like the idea of having "rules" for everything. When something becomes an issue, it should be handled appropriately. We have enough rules for everything in FIRST.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 08:47 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

Usually those who help design and build the robot should be the only ones in the support group HOWEVER this poses the usual problems, either everyone had a hand in it or one or 2 had a hand in it so more often then not you either find yourself with too many people or not enough. My ex-team always kept things simple... Only those who have a "DEEP" knowledge of whats going on can stay. In past years either the drive team was that group of people OR the drive team handed off the robot with that group of people.

In short and closing, I say between 3 - 5 students and no more then 3 mentors that all know whats going on should be there. Mentors for guidance, supervision and some extremely hard hands on work and students to do all the work they should be doing either which way. Students should be picked based on how much they've worked on the robot and the knowledge they possess about it so they can answer questions properly to other teams AND judges of all categories.

EDIT-Just realized this was about being on the comp. floor during elims. Usually the fields set the limits to how many extra hands you can have in which case the above still applies... only those who know the robot in and out should be there. Everything else above applies to Pit Crew obviously
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Last edited by mtaman02 : 05-02-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 09:06 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricLeifermann View Post
I don't think having alot of people on the floor is that big of a help when it comes to fixing the robot if it breaks. After all the robot is only so big and only so many hands can fit in it to fix the problem.

As for more people helping in on strategy I have no problem with it, who cares how many people are coming up with the strategy? It is up to the drive teams to execute said strategy during the match and that is the only place where anybody should really care how many people said team has on the floor.
The issue is not whether or not we think it's a big help. The issue is that this is breaking the rules. If teams are breaking the rules then the head ref should be notified and he should require the team to comply with the rules ... 'nuff said.

I'd also like to remind people that all is not always what it seems. Not everyone in a team shirt is on that team, etc. This is why I suggest informing the head ref and letting him take care of it.

Rules are there for a reason, and sometimes the reasons are not always apparent.
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Unread 05-02-2009, 10:09 PM
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Re: People as Support Personnel in the Elims, How many is too many?

First off I can't really complain because I used my teams Media Pass to help out with strategy for 816 in Atlanta during the eliminations. But after hearing about teams having strategy sessions at regional tournaments with coaches of numerous different teams I saw nothing wrong with helping 816 because other model teams in FIRST were doing this.

But being behind the curtain in the playoffs it is very obvious that some teams have more than 8 members on the floor (More than the, 4 Drive team + 3 Pit + 1 media pass). If FIRST believes that this is a problem one easy fix is simply having teams work on their robots on the side of the fields in Atlanta (There is certainly enough space to do this).
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