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View Poll Results: What best describes your situation and opinion?
My team builds a practice robot(s) and I am against no-bag 114 20.07%
My team builds a practice robot(s) and I am for no-bag 342 60.21%
My team does not build a practice robot and I am against no-bag 33 5.81%
My team does not build a practice robot and I am for no-bag 79 13.91%
Voters: 568. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 11-19-2018, 03:55 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by EveryLittleBit View Post
Small teams are going to lose time to burnout, while big teams escape relatively unscathed.
I'm curious what your definition of a small team is compared to a big team.

I recently posted a poll to the CHS Facebook group, here are the results:

How many hours does your team schedule each week during build season?
48% - 21-30
42% - 11-20
10% - 31-40
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Unread 11-19-2018, 04:11 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
I'm curious what your definition of a small team is compared to a big team.
It's not just size, but the involvement too. 2702 doesn't have mandatory attendance, and less so now, but in 2016/17, we had ~8 regular students. That's a small team. We now have ~15, so I'd call us a mid-size team. More than 25 regulars, I'd say that's a large team.

Quote:
Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
How many hours does your team schedule each week during build season?
48% - 21-30
42% - 11-20
10% - 31-40
I think schedule and the actual amount of time spent in the shop are pretty different. We probably schedule around 25 hours a week, but that rarely happens
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Unread 11-19-2018, 04:36 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by EveryLittleBit View Post
It's not just size, but the involvement too. 2702 doesn't have mandatory attendance, and less so now, but in 2016/17, we had ~8 regular students. That's a small team. We now have ~15, so I'd call us a mid-size team. More than 25 regulars, I'd say that's a large team.



I think schedule and the actual amount of time spent in the shop are pretty different. We probably schedule around 25 hours a week, but that rarely happens
Are you saying you spend more or less time in the shop than is scheduled? What is your weekly meeting schedule?
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Unread 11-19-2018, 04:53 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by EveryLittleBit View Post
....
I'm a bit surprised to hear someone from 2702 say that. While I don't know that much about how you guys work, your definitely a team that trends upwards throughout competition season, making improvements and tuning things here and there.

In my mind your one of the ONT teams that could benefit most, your small so not needing a practice robot could save a lot of resources during build season that could be put towards getting the robot dialed in sooner (like your sweet buddy climb this year) and then you could spend more time during competition season practicing and doing autos and stuff.

IMO, the difference between a good team and a great one comes down to things like tuning, reliability and drive practice. Look at 2056, they play their first match of the season just like their last match of the season. Sure teams will want to do rebuilds and stuff but that doesn't make a team good. Without a bag it will be so much easier to be bomb right out of the gate.
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Unread 11-19-2018, 05:00 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
Are you saying you spend more or less time in the shop than is scheduled? What is your weekly meeting schedule?
We usually end up going over by quite a bit.

Our build season schedule looks like:

3-4 days a week: 3:30PM to 6:30 PM (start of the season) or 8+PM (End of the season)

1 Weekend-day: 9-9:30AM to 4:30 (start of season) or 7+PM (end of season)

We also occasionally call a special meeting if we need to get something done, and occasionally, a couple people will get together at somebody's house if we need to do some work with the machines they have there.
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Unread 11-19-2018, 05:09 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Q View Post
I'm a bit surprised to hear someone from 2702 say that. While I don't know that much about how you guys work, your definitely a team that trends upwards throughout competition season, making improvements and tuning things here and there.
While nobag should theoretically help our robot (especially the tuning bit ), I'm more worried about student/mentor burnout and the effect on the lives/grades of students. Part of the reason we improve throughout the season is because we have that weeklong break, and everyone comes back with fresh minds. I fear that having that weeklong break would become quite uncompetitive when nobag is introduced. Putting school first is deeply ingrained in our team culture, 2702 mentors have helped me through many tough problems. I'll be level with you though, it's really hard for me to say no to robots. Grade 11 me could handle it, but grade 9 and 10 me didn't, and I'm guessing the same is true for other students. Robots are cooler than grade 9 geography, and that's a fact. I was able to spend more time on robots during build season, because it's only like, 8 weeks (if you take in to account the week off and reduced workload of our post-bag pre-districts) and pick up the geography slack afterwards. This would not be possible with nobag.

Our team's been growing though, so this may not be a problem when 2020 rolls around.

Last edited by EveryLittleBit : 11-19-2018 at 05:33 PM.
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Unread 11-19-2018, 05:58 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Q View Post
I'm a bit surprised to hear someone from 2702 say that. While I don't know that much about how you guys work, your definitely a team that trends upwards throughout competition season, making improvements and tuning things here and there.
Yep. That's us. We build neat things that are often a touch too complicated and need a lot of love an attention to get just right.(Until they fall apart at off-season events.) I know most robots are like that, but I've got to be sort of critical of ours otherwise we won't improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Q View Post
In my mind your one of the ONT teams that could benefit most, your small so not needing a practice robot could save a lot of resources during build season that could be put towards getting the robot dialed in sooner (like your sweet buddy climb this year) and then you could spend more time during competition season practicing and doing autos and stuff.
Yup, saving resources will be nice, for many reasons...

There have been other factors the past few years that have maybe had an impact on our slow start to the competition season, but I would say that the biggest hiccup of ours is solved by the dissolution of bag day. Shifting mechanisms and making tuning changes from practice robot to competition robot during unbag period or at competition is always a mess. Being able to do all that work directly on the competition robot will be a dream!
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Unread 11-19-2018, 06:21 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by EveryLittleBit View Post
I'm more worried about student/mentor burnout and the effect on the lives/grades of students.
I'm of the opinion that no bag day will have a positive impact on the well being of team, its students and mentors.

I'm also of the opinion that the changes to bag day will have very little impact on reducing burnout. I think the bigger impacting factor to reducing burnout will be the number of dedicated students and mentors that are now involved. We've got the numbers and experience to properly delegate tasks instead of needing the same key individuals involved at every step of the way.

2019 should be a much smoother season for us. I expect 2020 will only build on that.
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Unread 11-20-2018, 04:12 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Coming from a team that frequently makes very complex bots that all to often are not entirely finished by bag day I am in favor of stop build because it imposes a reasonable limit on us.

We do build an entire second practice bot and in the weeks leading up to our first competition we use that robot to either develop features that were not finished by bag day or develop fixes/replacements for mechanisms that testing demonstrates flaws in.

Because of this most of the testing period of our first regional is spent dismantalling and reassembling major systems on our comp bot just to get it to match the practice one.

It may seem then that I would be in favor of the NoBag system however it is the nature of Engineering that anything we design could be improved upon indefinitely. The stop build day and withholding allowance force us after 6 weeks to say that the vast majority of the robot is finished and that what we have built we are for the most part happy with.

Whilst I understand that as a team we represent one of the extreme ends of the FRC community and I will ultimately support any decision FIRST makes to make this sport more accessible and benefit smaller teams as the correct course of action, I believe that specifically for my team a removable of stop build day would ultimately hurt us as it would lead to even further over engineering or possible burnouts from students as the build season is effectively extended to 9 weeks.

Of course this is all just hypothetical and I should mention that my perspective like always fails to properly understand the magic the programmers work to turn our 120lb pile of hardware into a functioning robot. So until we experience a season without a stop build day I cannot know how it would truly effect us.

TLR Bagging the robot prevents overengineering teams form excessive over engineering.
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Unread 11-20-2018, 07:57 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

So the reason I asked for a loose definition of 2nd bot is because for a team like mine, the no bag and no stop is definitely a huge net benefit, even if we don't build a true 2nd robot. If anything, this helps teams like mine who have had to perform robot transplants more than it helps teams who have the ability to make 2 or 3 bots.

We are limited in team size and in ability to work long hours on the team due to other school obligations and the school being ~240 kids. We also have spring vacation after the current bag day that extends to about week 5. For us, no bag doesn't necessarily add much more meeting time.

However, with our limited funds and resources, this past season we had to design our robot to be very modular, remove our entire upper arm/intake assembly, and also our electronics, and transplant them onto another kitbot chassis in order to practice. Unbag makes this incredibly stressful on students and mentors, and during stressful times, the ability to teach students is hindered by the tunnel vision we can sometimes have when we need to get something done. If we absolutely have to take apart or put together a robot during unbag time (or at an event), it can hinder the teaching experience.

What I'm most excited about is removing this hurdle so that I can make each meeting as positive of a learning experience and teaching moment for my students. We won't have to rush (as much) to get things done during a small window of time before/after an event. We also won't have to make sure that each meeting includes every relevant/necessary student or mentor to accomplish a task during the unbag period, which with our school can be difficult due to how many other activities students are part of.

Overall, I am very happy with this change. We do not plan to really alter our meeting pattern, nor do I think we will change the type of robot we choose to design each year (1 thing done really well). I think the teams who will drastically alter their goals or meeting schedules because they believe this means biting off more than usual will not perform as well. Keep the same goals and build timelines/milestones as normal, I think that is the best way to go.
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Unread 11-21-2018, 02:50 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by EveryLittleBit View Post
I'm going to have to disagree on this one. For many teams, the 30lb/6hr allowance is more of an issue than time in between comps, as bigger teams can (and increasingly will) cycle team members in and out, or just have less duties on each student, reducing stress on individual students. This probably won't affect most teams but the small teams are really going to struggle. Burnout is real, especially for teenagers. It's simply not possible for the same set of people to maintain the full build season workload for up to 12 weeks. Small teams are going to lose time to burnout, while big teams escape relatively unscathed.
I think we can speak with the strong qualifications on this issue. We do take a couple of days off after Bag Day (because it's Mon/Tue, and we usually meet Wed/Thu, so we skip the latter days and we aren't really reducing our work week.) The same students and mentors are working the same amount during build and competition season. So we will not be working any more than we were before. The other teams that we see pursuing the same competitive goals are working at the same level pre and post Bag Day. The point is that those teams are not going to gain any extra from ending Bag Day.

For mid level and lower resourced teams, the story won't be the same, as each team will respond differently and they have wider degrees of freedom if they haven't already been working continuously past Bag Day before. But that's a different issue. Yes, the smaller teams may find it more difficult to keep up with those teams that have been their competitive peers, but that's a different population than the one that the original comment referred to.

BTW, we meet less than 30 hours per week during build season, and actually increase "meeting" hours during comp season as we try to go to 3 regionals.

Also, smaller teams are highly competitive. Both 973 and 1323 have about two dozen members.
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Unread 11-22-2018, 10:48 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Once President's Day passes, I'm more likely to be staying home to get back to life again. 6 weeks was difficult enough; longer just isn't going to happen for me.
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Unread 11-22-2018, 12:02 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by DonRotolo View Post
Once President's Day passes, I'm more likely to be staying home to get back to life again. 6 weeks was difficult enough; longer just isn't going to happen for me.
Could you help me and others understand the nature of your schedule during the 6 weeks after kickoff that canít be sustained through April?

I think we all make sacrifices to do FRC, but what you and many others have implied is the pace youíve set is unsustainable beyond 6 weeks, and Iím wondering what that pace looks like.

Thanks,

-Mike
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Unread 11-22-2018, 01:18 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Michael Corsetto View Post
Could you help me and others understand the nature of your schedule during the 6 weeks after kickoff that can’t be sustained through April?

I think we all make sacrifices to do FRC, but what you and many others have implied is the pace you’ve set is unsustainable beyond 6 weeks, and I’m wondering what that pace looks like.

Thanks,

-Mike
I don't think we need to be getting into and questioning specific mentor's/volunteer's schedules and commitment. For some mentors with other priorities in life, meeting just one night a week may be tough to do for a longer stretch of time.
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Unread 11-22-2018, 01:26 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Struggling to achieve a good FRC-life balance strongly parallels the struggle to achieve a good work-life balance that most of us have to face. Both require clear understanding of one's goals in one's own life and the goals in FRC/work and how much time and effort one is willing to commit. In both FRC and work, it is always possible to "put in more time to get more done". If one does not develop the discipline to enforce limits on oneself, it is very easy to burn out. I have come very close and have seen coworkers do it. Ironically, one of the reasons I started working with the FIRST programs was to give myself a good reason to not spend more time at work.



In the end, if one is considering if putting more time into FRC is going to have harmful effects on ones own life, doesn't that mean one is breaking Karthik's Golden Rule about "working within a teams capabilities"?
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