Actually the best pit scouting questions

This thread got me thinking about what were the actual best pitscouting questions to ask in aerial assist to get the most useful information. We are competing for the first time in week 4 so we are still finalizing the details of our scouting setup. Here is our current pitscouting sheet

If your team has already competed this year or even if they haven’t and you have some good questions or you’ve heard some good questions please post them here.

you would want to make sure that the team can work as a whole and with other robots well, so robot compatibility and ability to transfer the ball smoothly and quickly is a must!

One of the best questions this year due to teams playing HARD defense is, What kind of drive train do you have? I chose this because while watching elimination matches in the first 2 weeks, teams who had the pushing power to get out from pins and push defenders out of the way to score usually score more points. Yes, you could prove me wrong in some matches, but in my opinion this is one of the best questions to ask.

“Teleported Period”


Drivetrain type is indeed important this year.

I still haven’t figured out how scouting will work this year…and I got to do a little bit of it last weekend

“What does your robot do the best”

I would follow that with

“Are you being honest” or “Are you sure”

I was looking for answers related to what role they would be playing during teleop -passing quickly-inbounding consistently-shooting either goals consistently-able to truss-strong defence etc.

It helps to ask if their being honest. Lots of times team members would rethink their answer and give me a new one. Teams aren’t lying to sabotage your alliance, they just don’t want to admit something isn’t working properly for some reason of their own. Also, depending who you talk to from a single team, you may get a different answer.

When your preparing strategy for qualifying matches its always good to know what teams do best since the defined roles on an alliance can decide if you win or lose the match.

The best pit scouting question you can ask is

“Can I take a picture of your robot?”

All other questions, if not an obvious answer(like drive train), will get embellished(what they designed it to do not what it actually does). So there is no need to waste your scouters and each teams time with questions that probably aren’t 100% accurate. Get your answers by what they do on the field.

I agree with this 100% I don’t really understand how asking questions about one’s robot helps your team, it would be better to just base it off of what you see on the field

Pit scouting is more useful than you think. Asking questions is a great way to get answers to things you don’t see on the field. Example if you have scouters in the stands, perhaps some can not tell the difference in drive trains. Or two speed transmissions. What if a team had a two or three ball autonomous and never had a chance to show it off in game play? What if a team had a complete second or third replacement mechanism? You wouldn’t see that from the field. Granted a lot of teams are going to tell you how great they are but this is the important thing to know. The true answers are not always what someone says, sometimes its what they don’t say that is the answer. Pit scouting is another tool to help your team or alliance partners be the the best they can be when the time comes. If you don’t do it can you honestly say you have done the best you can do?

If they didn’t show it(succesfully) on the field of play then they don’t have it. I’m not going to pick a team for elims on the hope that they can do something they said they could do but never actually showed.

As far as drive train a good picture will show you everything you need to know for pit scouting, match scouting will get the rest. What they have for replacement parts and what not is not my concern when it comes to their robots performance.

Generally, I think the best pit scouting strategy (that is, something that should be done every year regardless of the game) is all the drivetrain details and a picture, as well as overall ratings (assuming your pit scout is a knowledgeable person about your team’s robot and strategy/robots in general). We also generally note what type of shooter/intake a team has.

This year on 125, we used the notetaking app Springpad* in order to supplement our scouting. I can’t imagine how our scouting would have gone without it. We have a ‘note’ for each team we see throughout our district events, each tagged with the events they are attending (not just the ones we see them at-we got a bunch of pictures from Granite State last weekend).

Did it help? Boy, it did. During our Saturday night scouting meeting, it was great to just quickly pull up a picture/info on everyone’s computers/phone. Even better was when discussing our second pick with our alliance partner, we were able to quickly pull up a picture of a robot when they asked, ‘which one is that again?’.

I hate relying on anything more than pen, paper, and an excel spreadsheet for scouting, but this really has me considering changing my mind. **

*We used Springpad over the much more popular Evernote due to the fact that it has an unlimited upload rate. We very quickly ran into Evernote’s 60 mb upload limit after <20 pictures at Granite State

**Of course, for Pine Tree/NE Champs, I very likely will probably end up printing a ‘journal’/book of all the pictures we have; I’m an FRC Scouting luddite :smiley:

1 Like

Wow, can’t believe I missed that typo, but I kinda want to keep it now.

The square at the top left is for a Polaroid photo of the robot to be stapled on.
I feel like there is use to getting some physical information about robots and team’s approaches especially during the first couple of matches at the regional level when match scouting doesn’t give you much.

OK, I just have to ask a question. I see “Number of Wheels” on the vast majority of scouting sheets, and it gets asked constantly in the pits, but does it really matter? I can understand what type drivetrain you have, or what speed you are geared for making a difference in a scouting discussion; but do teams actually base their rankings on how many wheels our robot has?

Sending students around to talk with students from each of the other teams is a good thing. The data they collect should be taken with a grain of salt.

The ability to repair a robot should be a concern. Can you see that from the field? Also think about it like this not knowing as much as you can about an opponent or an alliance partner **is picking them on the hope that they can do something. ** Knowledge is power. If you don’t pit scout you don’t know every thing there is to know about a team.

Best quote of the entire thread.

All pit scouting really helps with is looking at build quality and seeing what types of repairs they are making.

I also think that is a big benefit of pit scouting. Getting a large portion of our members that will spend most of the event scouting instead of in our pit to talk to other teams and learn about their bots is a huge bonus.

We don’t ask for “number of wheels”, but at the request of one of our Mentors we will start to ask “How many batteries do you have?” :slight_smile:

As many know, if your team is fortunate to go deep into Eliminations, with several best 2 of 3 matches, knowing if the Alliance can keep up with fresh batteries is relatively important.

Hand them a picture of the field they can draw on. Ask them to draw their autonomous routine(s). Include any precisely known dimensions if they have them (ex: we line up x feet from this wall).

Objective ones. Asking questions like “how good are you at playing defense?” and “what is your shooting accuracy?” tells you just about nothing.

You also learn about their attitudes and work ethic.

Last year, we were in St. Louis so my son’s team could compete in the FLL World Festival. In the evening, after the FLL activities were over for the day, we would visit the FRC pits, often after the matches were finished for the day. Most of the pits were empty with only a lonely robot. We noticed afterward that the teams that were still working those evenings were well represented in the Division finals and on Einstein. Teams like 1114, 610 and our friends at 1477 (thanks again for the ride) were repairing and improving their robot every time we visited. The 118 team members didn’t have much repair work to do but were not leaving anything to chance, constantly checking for things like tire wear, loose screws and loose electrical connections.

You also get to see how the team members work with each other. If they are arguing amongst themselves in the pits, how likely are you to be able to negotiate an alliance strategy with them?

1 Like