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Unread 09-11-2017, 12:05 AM
JarJarTheJedi JarJarTheJedi is offline
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Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Hello everyone,

I had asked this question on the 2018 FRC Events thread, but I wanted to make it its own post to reach out to the broader community.

How has your experience been in attending back-to-back regionals (i.e. one that finishes on a Sunday and the next begins on a Wednesday)?

The responses I've seen have said "Exhausting," which makes sense to me. However, we have two regionals that we really want to go to (Sacramento and SVR), and they happen to be back to back this year. Has the experience been manageable?
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Unread 09-11-2017, 12:25 AM
cad321 cad321 is offline
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

We did this last year going into district champs. All I can say is I would not want to do it again (given the choice that is). To answer your question, is it doable, absolutely. But plan on being exhausted by the end of the second regional. One thing that didn't help in our case was our district event was a 2 day and not a 3 day. This made for even longer days, and virtually no sleep.

If you guys are really gung ho on doing the 2 events, go for it. Just know what you're getting yourself into.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 12:32 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Quote:
Originally Posted by JarJarTheJedi View Post
Hello everyone,

I had asked this question on the 2018 FRC Events thread, but I wanted to make it its own post to reach out to the broader community.

How has your experience been in attending back-to-back regionals (i.e. one that finishes on a Sunday and the next begins on a Wednesday)?

The responses I've seen have said "Exhausting," which makes sense to me. However, we have two regionals that we really want to go to (Sacramento and SVR), and they happen to be back to back this year. Has the experience been manageable?
Point of order: Back-to-back generally refers to events that are on consecutive weekends, regardless of whether they're T-F-S or F-S-S. (Or, if you're in Israel or Australia, the same week.)

Bear in mind that I'm speaking as a (questionably-sane?) volunteer, not on behalf of my team. As far as I'm aware, none of my teams has done back-to-back regionals while I've been involved.

I have done back-to-backs multiple times. It's tough. It's manageable. But the key thing is to do a little advance planning. For instance: Your non-key members don't need to be at both, do they? As another example: Where does your spring break fall with relation to those events? (Weeks 4-5 in this case) For some reason it would generally be a lot easier to do both if they were opposite weekends of said break, or even if only one was on it.

My back-to-back-(to-back) experience: Make sure you have time to do things like catch up at work/school, do laundry, stuff like that, and it's a lot easier on you. I did it the last couple years by taking vacation on the shorter legs (in my case, it was only two extra days because I would have taken the Monday off anyways), but that may not be possible. Work ahead on the (school)work, sleep if you're tired. Your health is worth more than this pesky robotics competition...


(You want to talk back-to-back... anybody else ever attend two different events on opposite sides of the country on consecutive days? Or did I just get certified as "definitely not quite sane"? )
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Unread 09-11-2017, 01:02 AM
mikhalev mikhalev is offline
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Team Tators did back to back this year (week 5 and week 6), although we got pretty lucky in that spring break coincided with our week 5 regional, and that regional was in our home town. Otherwise it would have been really rough to do back-to-back, and I wouldn't recommend it
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Unread 09-11-2017, 01:40 AM
Howard C Howard C is offline
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Not to highjack the thread but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricH View Post
(You want to talk back-to-back... anybody else ever attend two different events on opposite sides of the country on consecutive days? Or did I just get certified as "definitely not quite sane"? )
I along with 4613 did Shenzhen Regional March 9-11 followed by traveling Sunday to go to Australia for the Southern Cross Regional March 13-15 followed by South Pacific Regional March 16-18.

4613 had a rotating group of kids, so no one student was consistently away from class.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricH View Post
Your health is worth more than this pesky robotics competition...
I have never been so sound asleep on a plane in my life.

Back on topic, it is possible with the proper planning. One of the main things would be for the kids to know what school work needs to be done and how to catch back up.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 01:48 AM
mman1506 mman1506 is offline
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

The nice part was we didn't have to unpack and setup the practice robot. It was actually more relaxing than our normal schedule.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 02:39 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

When I was in high school, my team went to three regionals. I liked it because I love competitions, and I loved improving. I thought I would miss this when I joined another team that only went to two.

Wow was I wrong. I didn't realize how taxing the travel was, and how much a team could improve between two regionals. This made me realize that for me, it was more important to improve greatly between two competitions rather than compete in three at a smaller magnitude.

If your team has the funds (ie not sacrificing robot capabilities) this may be something you want to consider. It is more important to be sustainable in the long run.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 06:21 AM
Seth Mallory Seth Mallory is offline
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

192 has done back to back twice. The first time it wore out both mentors and it was hard for school work. Last year we had 3 mentors so I did both of the back to backs and the other mentors did one each I could do it because my wife is understanding and we made a vacation out of the travel time. We also brought the robot and pit in our Prius. It was still hard on school work. The first trip is a small group and the second is our travel trip for the whole team. Back to back are hard to do. The week before Sacramento is San Francisco and that would give you a week off.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 07:35 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Last year we did weeks 6 and 7 Regionals. We had serious schedule conflicts with a Music Program trip so we could only muster half the team for the first one. I think this spared wear and tear on the kids a bit...we basically had different Drive Teams at each event. The robot took a beating, but as we were not in the finals at our first event we had Sat afternoon to tune it up and bag it up. Mentors of course got worn down the most. Lots, and I mean LOTS, of experience gained doing this. Would not do it again.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 07:37 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

From our experience....

Dont do it. hahahaha

People need a break for about a week to recharge, and if you want to make any design changes to your robot after a regional, 3 days is an almost impossible time frame to get everything designed and built.

We went to the Miami Valley and Pittsburgh back to back in 2017. We had to redesign our climber, and it was almost impossible to get our new climber parts manufactured within the time frame. We ended up getting it late Wednesday night and put it on Thursday morning.

Other than the time frame, people also get burned out and need to rest a bit. I loved every second of it, but some people were just exhausted by the first Friday of the second regional.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 08:12 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

I would avoid it if it's not a significant hardship to do so. It certainly can be done, but you will not have much if any time to iterate, and you will find your second event performance tends to suffer as drivers, etc. are fatigued.

If you are going to do it, I would highly recommend doing it Week 1&2, or Week 2&3, so at least you have 1 more event than the rest of your competitors at the second event. This advantage helps offset going back to back.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 08:53 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
I would avoid it if it's not a significant hardship to do so. It certainly can be done, but you will not have much if any time to iterate, and you will find your second event performance tends to suffer as drivers, etc. are fatigued.

If you are going to do it, I would highly recommend doing it Week 1&2, or Week 2&3, so at least you have 1 more event than the rest of your competitors at the second event. This advantage helps offset going back to back.
I've done back-to-back in 2009 and 2011. It's survivable (and even winnable, in the latter case), but I don't recommend it when alternatives exist. It is a significant load on the team and mentors.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 09:01 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

I find it exhausting yet fun. I think attending as many regionals as you can exemplifies FIRST's "Hardest fun you'll ever have". But I would still say make sure you plan. Getting your trailer/gear ready to go to the next regional is crucial, and make sure you have all of the things that went wrong in the first competition worked out so you are ready to to better. Whats the point in going to multiple regionals if you aren't planning on improving, right?
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Unread 09-11-2017, 09:10 AM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

My team did weeks 4, 6, and 9 last year, and found it difficult to keep up with homework. As a result, the earliest we're going to do going forward is 3 week separation (like 2 and 5).

Of course, that only affects the team. It looks like I'll be doing week 1 without them, then hopefully joining them for weeks 2 and 5 this year, and then a nice long break before Detroit.
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Unread 09-11-2017, 12:23 PM
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Re: Attending Back-to-Back Regionals

Last year I did Field Reset Wed-Thur-Fri with my team at WPI, but skipped out Friday morn to drive to Field Super SE-Mass Fri-Sat-Sun. Stayed at hotels the entire time. Doing hotels instead of going home helped (SE-Mass is about 30 minutes away.) It is tiring but doable, and of course the next couple of weekends were more events. The 3-4 days at work at a desk job recharges the batteries enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard C
I along with 4613 did Shenzhen Regional March 9-11 followed by traveling Sunday to go to Australia for the Southern Cross Regional March 13-15 followed by South Pacific Regional March 16-18.
My (armchair) world tour last year was China-Australia-Australia-Hawaii-Los Vegas, then in time for St Louis. I'm happy that someone did it, but I'm not sure I could have seriously pulled it off.

For my team, having a weekend in between, and trying to coordinate with the half-day holidays is much better.

Last edited by Roger : 09-11-2017 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Swing it back to the subject at hand
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