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Unread 03-31-2007, 08:31 PM
geowasp geowasp is offline
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Picking alliances

Ok, so team 1552 did not get selected into eliminations, either
a) they were not a good robot
b) they are ranked 40 out of 45
c) they are a good robot, but failed to exemplify their abilities in the round robin rounds, for whatever reason (new non-random alliance partner selections, etc. )

should they have attempted to "sell" themselves to the higher seeds, if they think the rankings do not reflect their actual ability, or should they simply wait and see, hoping that scouting by other teams would've noticed them? Does it seem desperate if a lowly ranked team attempts to make a final effort to convince potential alliance captains to pick them? In ideal conditions, rankings should reflect a team's ability, but we all know in around 10 matches, some unexpected teams can happen, and a good robot worthy of going into eliminations can easily end up with a losing record, and in the bottom of the rankings. So, my question to the FIRST community out there is: what would you do to get your team into eliminations if you know your team has a great robot, but your rankings are absolutely abyssmal come alliance selections?
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Unread 03-31-2007, 08:55 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

If other teams have good scouts, qualifying rank means nothing. Good scouts will find good teams, regardless of rank. There are plenty of stories around here of teams who finished dead last and still got picked for elims (most recently, team 4 won LA after seeding last). On the other hand, my team finished in the top 20 at both events we entered this year, and still didn't get picked. There's nothing wrong with selling yourself to other teams, particularly teams that you played well with during qualifying. Scouts do sometimes miss good teams, and it never hurts to give them a little reminder. In any case, don't beat yourself up over it. Only 24 teams get to play in elims. Sometimes you're in the 24, and sometimes you aren't.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 09:20 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

1015 was in a simular situation at GLR:

We were seeded 45th out of 59. We did try to "sell" our selfs to the top teams. We felt that we were a lot better then our seeding rank. Based on 1504's scouting data we were the 8th best tube scorer (total of 18 in 8 matchs). We had some bad luck with partners and so on. It seemed like nobody really noticed us though, and we got picked 15th (by the 2nd alliance on the 2nd time arround!). Our scouters had talked with the 2nd alliance before, which may or may not have helped them pick us. Our alliance managed to win the competition! I think this was partialy because nobody noticed we were such a good tube scorer, and the 2nd alliance got to pick a reliable bot for a 3rd partner to make a good alliance.

Anyways, I think that you should sell yourself if you have a great robot. Not all teams have great scouting data like 1504. I know last year we made it to the eliminations for the first time ever after 4 years. We were not prepared to pick partners and ended up not knowing who to pick really. So yes, teams dont know who to pick, and just letting them know who you are doesnt hurt anything. Just as long as you dont do it in the wrong way I dont think it is "desperate".
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Unread 03-31-2007, 09:22 PM
theycallhimtom theycallhimtom is offline
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Re: Picking alliances

From being seeded 2nd at two regionals this year I got to experience what it was like when a lower team tried to sell themselves to us. We have a very strong group of scouts so we have are own rankings which we use. Whenever a team tried to sell themselves to us it really did not impact what we were doing at all. But our rookie year we were ranked 10th or so and got to captain the 7th or 8th alliance and since we were not expecting it we had no scouting data. In that case teams lobbying us made a huge impact.

In essence if the team has a good scouting team you are already being considered so there is not much you can do. If the team is not scouting a lot then making a pitch to them can help you a ton. At the very least pitching to a higher team with scouts will not make them rank you lower.

If you are going to make the pitch there are a few things you should make sure to do.
1) Sometimes their are reasons why robots are ranked low, explain them. For example if you had to play a good team every match (1st week regionals) or if your robot broke for two matches. If your ranked 40th because something broken on Thursday morning and you did well in your last 5 matches then teams will be more likely to pick you.
2) Wait until the qualification matches are done or at least the team you are pitching to is done with their matches. If you talk to them before they finish they will be focusing on their matches.
3) Focus on your strengths. Simple things such as showing up to every qualification match with a working robot can help you a lot.
4) Keep it short and to the point.


One thing to note. This is just my view of what would convince my team to pick you, and other teams might be very different.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 09:26 PM
Vogel648 Vogel648 is offline
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Re: Picking alliances

Yes, we got picked by the first seeded aliance first in the Midwest Regional, dispite being fairly mid to low in qualifying.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 11:06 PM
efoote868 efoote868 is offline
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Re: Picking alliances

I would recommend it, especially if you think the efforts will pay off.

At BMR, we were one of the better robots. Many different teams came up to us, it really did make us reconsider our alliance.

At St. Louis, however, we didn't do so well, even though near the end, our robot was well tuned, and running as good as ever. We didn't sell ourselves to teams, even though we thought we'd be better than some of their picks.

Besides, whats the worst that could happen?
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Unread 03-31-2007, 11:18 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

Chances are, if you are deserving of being selected for eliminations, one of the eight alliances will pick you. For example, last year 648 was almost last at West Michigan but we ended up being the final pick of the 1st seeded alliance and last overall. It's not really about selling yourself, but making impressions.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 11:24 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

I wholeheartedly agree--a little bit of salesmanship never hurt at all. None of my teams, past or present, had ever made it to eliminations before today at Palmetto, let alone been the alliance captain. If nearly any team had found me and spoke about their robot in a convincing manner, there's a reasonable chance they'd have swayed my attitude towards them, making their way into the consideration set.

(A particularly skilled marketer who figured me out might try partial cue listing, where they'd list only a few parts of a whole list, which then inhibits my memory of the other members of the list. Go ahead, name toothpastes in your head past Crest, Colgate, and Aim without Googling--a group of five college students I was with couldn't get past three more. Consumer Behavior finally pays off!)

Of course, our scouting system was only my gut instinct--next year, we're coming prepared.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 11:31 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

Quote:
Originally Posted by geowasp View Post
Ok, so team 1552 did not get selected into eliminations, either
a) they were not a good robot
b) they are ranked 40 out of 45
c) they are a good robot, but failed to exemplify their abilities in the round robin rounds, for whatever reason (new non-random alliance partner selections, etc. )

should they have attempted to "sell" themselves to the higher seeds, if they think the rankings do not reflect their actual ability, or should they simply wait and see, hoping that scouting by other teams would've noticed them? Does it seem desperate if a lowly ranked team attempts to make a final effort to convince potential alliance captains to pick them? In ideal conditions, rankings should reflect a team's ability, but we all know in around 10 matches, some unexpected teams can happen, and a good robot worthy of going into eliminations can easily end up with a losing record, and in the bottom of the rankings. So, my question to the FIRST community out there is: what would you do to get your team into eliminations if you know your team has a great robot, but your rankings are absolutely abyssmal come alliance selections?
I thought you guys had a nice looking bot but 40? eesh, but I wasn't able to watch any matches because I stayed in the pit keeping it tidy and doing repeat ability tests on our robot. AND NO, it does not seem desperate when a low ranked team makes attempts in smooching up to other teams as a final attempt. As long as the teams got good scouts, than they'll know exactly which teams to pick for alliance and not just base it off of rank or else team 1 would pick team 2, team 3 picks team 4 and so on and so forth and teams like us wold have never gotten chosen. But then again if a team didn't show a good performance in the prelims, it's very hard to say "we want them". We dropped from 1st to 18th in three matches, we were dominating the entire morning up until everyone started pinning us and our alliances wouldn't help us and try to score it themselves but everyone knew we had a mean bot because of how well we performed in the majority of our matches. Plus 1583 was able to get 555 to chose us because we were one of the very few bots who had the clearance to get up. But for the question, I would most defiantly have the entire team be talking to the top 8 teams constantly. didn't work for us at 18th though for most of the other teams but as long as someone wanted 1583 we were good.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 11:44 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

In the Florida Regional, SPAM Team 180 (us) picked Team 233 Pink and they were last seed. They were just unlucky and were paired with the wrong teams. We were 6th seed, and ended up losing in the Semi-finals...all 3 games. Pink exemiplified their great arm potential, and it showed in their scoring, not in their ranking. We wouldn't have been able to scout so well if it hadn't had been for our 30+ kids in the stands =).
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Unread 03-31-2007, 11:48 PM
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Re: Picking alliances

From personal experience, I can see it working either way:

Last year at the UTC New England Regional, our robot was ranked 40 out of 40 in the second to last qualifying match, (though our win in the our last qualifying match brought us up to 34/40). Our ranking didn't really justify the capabilities of our robot though; we lost a lot of matches due to alliance partners not showing up (this led to a 1 on 3 situation because of backbots) or because of alliance partners who didn't function properly. We made sure to let other teams know this... if we hadn't, we probably wouldn't have been picked by 177 and 176... and we wouldn't have won the Regional. So selling yourself to other teams could work out for the better.

This year at the UTC Connecticut Regional, we ranked 8 of 49, so we were alliance captains (for the first time ever!). We had already established a positive relationship with team 195 (from working with and against them inprevious matches), which, combined with our robot's good performance is probably why they (the 6th ranked team) chose us. Together we decided on 558 as our third alliance partner, not because 558 had come up to us and told us how great they were, but because we (and our team's scouters) had noted that they were a great robot with amazing defense and a good ramp. So sometimes you don't need to sell yourself to get noticed.

At least, that's the way I see it.
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Unread 04-01-2007, 12:48 AM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
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Re: Picking alliances

Over the years, I've gotten tired of teams selling themselves to me. It is all exagerated and glorified, every time. But I do think a bit of honest salesmanship is a good thing. A lot of teams really haven't a clue when it comes time to pick.
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Unread 04-01-2007, 01:01 AM
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Re: Picking alliances

"Schmoozing" (selling yourself to anybody in the top 8) can pay off. However, bad times to do this are: a) they are swarming their robot like crazy, b) they are about to play a match, or c) when the judges or a bunch of other teams are there. Start on Friday and step it up as you get closer. Don't be too agressive about it though; that gets the "pushy salesman" reaction. (On the other hand, don't ignore the top 8. That could be suicide.)

By the way, reason d) that this team didn't get picked is: they didn't draw the attention of enough scouts. Reason e) is: alliance strategy may not have had a place for the robot type. (eg. a ringer robot when the next few picks want a ramp bot) I say, let it fly, sell yourself next time around, and hope it works. (Giveaways help too.)
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Unread 04-01-2007, 01:07 AM
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Re: Picking alliances

I don't think informing the top teams of your robot's ability is a bad thing. It might sound "desperate", but if you do it right it might actually be really helpful.
At the Colorado regional there was some team (sorry, forgot the number) that made a really helpful scouting booklet of all the teams at the regional.
During the alliance selections, alliances 1-8 picked pretty quickly, they knew who they wanted to choose. But alliance 8 took a really long time to make their second choice, and I saw almost every single other alliance on the field flipping through that scouting manual like crazy while teams 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, made their decision.
I think some of the selection decisions were rushed simply because the alliances weren't aware of which teams were both A) not already picked, and B) preformed well but were ranked low enough that no one really noticed them (from what I've heard, this seems to be fairly common).
Talking to the high ranked teams could, if nothing else, give them a team to pick if their first few choices are taken by other the alliances.
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Unread 04-01-2007, 01:33 AM
Alex Golec Alex Golec is offline
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Re: Picking alliances

Advertising your team not only helps you when the alliance selection occurs, it also helps to boost your image and make you more recognizable to other people, judges, etc. There's something magical about the conciseness of flyers and buttons that can sell your team name.

While you probably should mention yourselves to the top seeded teams, I strongly recommend that you focus on seeking a complementary robot to play with (for example, being a double ramp marketing to a strong arm robot). Marketing yourself to those teams will not only make a compelling case to get picked, it also creates one of those "hidden gem" situations that ultimately benefits you in the eliminations.

Getting picked is not the key to elimination matches. Working with and advertising to robots that will build a strong alliance with you is.

Also, keep in mind that rankings are not the only representation of status or skill. You should go out to every match you play in seeking to become better, to try something new, to compete fiercely and fairly. Performing well despite any unfortunate situations generates attention and causes teams to notice you.

However, do take all this advice with a grain of salt: the spirit of the competition is not to get picked just for the prestige of it nor to do everything possible to sell yourselves - what you gain from the competition is more than just a medal. You gain experience and the will to go out into the world and constantly make improvements.

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