Ball Circulation

Is there a rule or does anyone think that there will come to be a rule about how fast alliances must release or throw the balls from the chutes onto the field?

There isn’t one yet, and my gut tells me FIRST wouldn’t touch such a thing.

First, that’s something that could drastically affect strategy. In my two seasons in FIRST, any obvious strategy-altering rule changes are usually knocked out in Team Update #1. (For example, TU#1 in 2004 changed the rules to allow balls to go directly from the ball dump into the mobile goal.)

That same ruling also seemed to indicate (to me at least) that there are some aspects to the game that the GDC just would rather let go. I’d bet that having a shot clock on 80 balls is one such aspect. Because then you have to have a ref watching all those balls. And throwing all those flags. And hearing all that flak by folks on Delphi. (Yeah, I know we shouldn’t gripe like that, but it does happen.)

So, to answer your question, I think FIRST will let teams hold onto their balls for as long as they feel like.

When the ball(s) are in your alliance’s two ball corrals and/or are in the center goal “catch bin” (garbage can), there are four options:

  1. Keep them there (stored)
  2. Toss them over the wall (by your 3 human players) AND have them fall into your alliance robot’s catch basin(s)
  3. Toss them over the wall AND successfully score them in the opposing alliance side “mouse hole” goals
  4. Or…just toss them onto the field.

You can do those four things at any pace you like. Now, let’s think this through.

  1. Why would you “keep” balls behind the line? They got there in the first place because a) they were your balls at the beginning of the match and you choose to not put them into play (pretty dumb move) or they are in your ball corrals because the other alliance has successfully scored. So, why would you NOT want to QUICKLY put those balls into play by options #2 or #3 above?

  2. Why would you just randomly toss balls onto the field? Not likely since at any point of the match there’s a 50/50 shot that your alliance or the opposition alliance can gather them up. Not great odds in that plan either.

  3. Maximize your strategy by a combination of #2 and #3 above by doing the following: concentrate on re-loading your own alliance robots early in the match (at least that way, the other alliance can’t get them) and then concentrate on going for the one-point goals at the end of the game (the other alliance won’t have time to re-load)…

Lot’s of things to think about…

Because, there are other ways to score points in this game that has nothing to do with the balls.

if your opponets strength is scoring with the balls, and yours is not, you may very well want to keep the balls off the field.