This year is my first year as a driver, and I know there are others in the same boat. If anybody has advice for new drive team members, put it here!
Drink water throughout the day and eat. It’s easy to get caught up in the competition and forget but a dehydrated drive team is an unhappy drive team.
Get lots of rest before the event and every night during the event.
Ask for advice from the more experienced drivers on the alliances you play on. Not all will help you but many will. Those are the ones with the advice you want anyways.
Had a driver-down due to this at worlds one year. Would not recommend. Camelbaks are beautiful things, if you can swing for one.
There’s lots of strategy and mental prep to be had, which can vary team to team, but if you want my honest advice? Just have fun out there.
Having this sort of spotlight is a rare occurrence, and it’s easy to let the pressure get to you. Try not to - this is a time to enjoy!
Keep in mind, your role isn’t about winning. It can’t be - otherwise all but six out of the thousands of teams in FRC are doing “bad”. And that’s clearly not the case. Enjoy your time down there. Seek to improve and go beyond what you thought your “best” could be, but never at the expense of having a blast while doing it!
You can fix anything on your robot. You cannot replay a match.
Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your team by focusing and driving well.
LISTEN TO YOUR DRIVE COACH.
LISTEN TO YOUR DRIVE COACH.
LISTEN TO YOUR DRIVE COACH.
also don’t go too far from a plan
Make new friends and celebrate your accomplishments.
Also, accept your mistakes. If you mess up, don’t shove blame, just own up to it.
DON’T drink a lot of water before a back to back match if the bathrooms are far away…
I like doing something the night before to take my mind completely off if it so I’m not overly stressed in the morning
Finally, If there is a robot climbing to level three (that is not you) do. not. I repeat. DO. NOT go up to the HAB unless their drive team explicitly says you can because the worst thing that can happen is you knock them over which benefits nobody.
Treat yourself like a professional athlete, in terms of prep for and care during events.
This means - take care of yourself. don’t stay up late before or during events. Eat balanced meals with complex carbs. Don’t drink caffeine or excessive sugar. Events are won and lost by seconds of reaction time and decision making, and you can’t afford to shortchange yourself if you want to be an elite driver. And stay hydrated!
This also means - study the tape. Watch old events carefully. Focus on the movements and decisions of individual robots while scoring or under defense. If you have already competed, watch your own tapes too. Nitpick. Figure out things you can improve.
Finally - practice. Get into a rhythm. Your goal is to get the robot’s control so natural that it is practically an extension of your body - that conscious thought isn’t being spent on how you manipulate the controller, only what you want your robot to be doing at the moment.
last year was my first year as a driver. i went into our first qual with no practice at all. honestly just focus. and watch your surroundings. ive been in quite a few senarios where a robot slams into the loading station and my other two alliance partners jump back while i dont move and continue to drive. watch your robot, but also watch the surrounding ones. if you see a robot coming fast at the wall, prepare for it so you dont lose focus if/when it hits.
stay positive. drink water. dont fall asleep in the stands if you dont get picked for an alliance because you might wind up being a backup team last minute (i speak from experience). just have fun
This almost deserves a thread unto itself. 254’s coach had some thoughts on this topic.
At the end of the day, every problem will have lots of causes. You can always play the blame game. But that doesn’t let progress happen. Someone has to have the “The buck stops here” sign on their desk, and own failure. And then go fix it.
Empowering through humility. That’s what good leaders can do - empower you with their own humility.
While it is important that you look out for this, your drive coach should let you know when someone is trying to pick you/going to smash into the wall.
The best advice I received as a driver was, “Play your game.” This eventually evolved into my philosophy of “Play to improve your game.”
If you go out onto the field expecting to win every single match, you’ve got a very slim chance of leaving an event a happy camper. If you go into every match trying to play your best game, then you can leave a losing match just as proud.
At Waterbury my team lost their first quarter final game, but it was the game I was the most proud of. They stuck to general strategy, reacted to situations on the fly, and managed to score 9 cycles in the match (A best for us at that competition). The loss doesn’t sting, because they’re still getting better.
From my experience, main thing is to own up to your mistakes and fix yourself, understand that you are your hardest critic and find all the problems in your driving and address them, and dont be afraid to get rough while driving. When I first drove in 2017, I was afraid about smashing bots and driving hard into defense, which slowed us down. I learned to overcome that, which helped make me the driver I am.
Good luck, and enjoy the ride.
Don’t let a bad match, a yellow card, or stacked opposition hassle you. Learn from your mistakes but don’t let them get under your skin.
Some more of a technical talk, when controlling the robot, dont go at full speed. Act conservative when driving, and be aware of the robots around you. Don’t go through robots, go around. If a robot is in the way, go around. If a robot is doing defense stuff, bait them to the other side, and go around. Mobility is key, and you always want to go around. Oh, and always remember which way is front on your robot. That way you don’t do random movements to see which is front.
Always try do your best. If you make a mistake, competition is not the place to fret about it. If something breaks, competition is not the place to blame pit crew. You can always revisit issues after competition.
Rewatch match videos to determine where you can improve.
Don’t worry about ranking, it never helps.
Know your limits. It is very frustrating when you’re with someone who says they can do something they can’t.
Be VERY good at communicating with both drive coach and manipulator. You guys should act as one.
Invest in a camelback. Holds roughly 2 liters of water.
Listen to the drive coach
You WILL have at least one bad match and that’s okay. Mistakes will happen and you have to own up to them. If you let them consume you, you won’t be able to recover which will then lead to bad matches.
Get plenty of sleep. Your robot does so you should too.
Communication is key
Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Have a well balanced breakfast.
Review match video. Try to find ways to reduce your cycle time.
I live by Michael Corsettos motto here on CD “Breathe in… Breathe out…”
Dominic Toretto lives his life a 1/4 mile at a time. Live yours 2 and a half minutes at a time.
Have fun! If you’re not having fun then there’s a serious problem.