Coach change at last minute

My team (anonymous) has decided the night before regional that the coach for this year will not be the same one from last year who understands the strategy and knows the rules, but a new rookie who has not been involved with strategy at all, has not read the manual all the way through, tends to not be focused on anything related to the robot during meetings, and has not done much for the team. Instead the old member will be “promoted” to scouting lead and focus on thinking through the matches. He will tell the rookie what to do.

I think that this arrangement of not having a knowledgeable person as the coach will lead to there being no strategy and all scouting being wasted as there is nobody who can actually use it. Also there is the issue of the new coach not really being able to convey the plan over to other teams and not being listened too.

Would it be hard for the old coach to leave for the matches that are needed to go to the field?

Would it be a good idea to push in a new inexperienced coach at this time?

What was the reasoning for the switch, and what position did the new coach have previously? Before evaluating if the new coach the day of is smart (gut feeling says no but it seems like info is missing) its hard to say either way, esp without knowing how well the new coach would mesh would mesh with the rest of the DT, and in comparison to the old coach. Who also decided this? The mentors? The drive team itself? The old coach?

In the absence of other information, this seems like a really, really bad idea. Someone who doesn’t know strategy or rules, or have much experience, is NOT who you want for your coach, unless you’re a rookie team. (And the only reason you want it then is because that’s all you have available.)

However. There are undoubtedly what I’ll call “other factors” involved. Team politics, driveteam interactions, somebody in a position of power insisting… Without knowing what those other factors are, I can’t make a call.

At this point… Pray you don’t get penalized all over the place (read as: Pray your drivers have some sense!).

Also: Bear in mind that the previous coach won’t be able to tell the new coach what to do during a match. No way, no how. I mean, unless you like a yellow card. So the new coach better be writing stuff down and bringing it to the alliance strategy discussions…


Historically, how involved has the coach been? I have seen highly successful drive teams with hands off drive coaching. This is often not the case but it is certainly a possibility, making the greenness of a coach irrelevant. The qualifications of the drivers themselves are also relevant here.

As Eric said, the old coach can’t coach the new coach during the match. image They could, though be very involved in pre-match strategy. Pre-match meetings with your alliance are completely optional. There are no specific official guidelines for how this meeting takes place. If you wanted the head scout to run this meeting, they could.

Without breaking your anonymity, if you could provide us with some more background, it would go a long way in us being able to help you.

  1. Do you know why this change was made?
  2. Has this decision been explained to the team?
  3. If you don’t know the reason for the change, you might be worrying about something that’s not in your control.
  4. If you do, but don’t like the choice, would it be wise to go against the team right before an event?

Maybe the best course of action is to choose the lesser of two evils. Is doing nothing and having a unified team better than changing back and causing a rift between the team’s mentors?

This could be a teaching moment for the students. Something they’d not likely see until they start to work at a job and have their first experience with office politics.

I would not presume to comment on another team’s internal personnel decisions. Such decisions could only be made by the team itself, using information about the capabilities and personality traits of the specific candidates up for consideration. Such discussions are appropriately confidential.

I would not ever consider opening up those discussions to comment and criticism by the entire CD community. The appropriate venue to discuss internal team decisions with which you disagree is with your team leadership. Not a single productive thing can result from complaining about internal team matters in public.


I have no idea about the whole replacement thing, but I do know that the drive coach often does not have time to understand all the scouting data and is not able to watch all matches in order to get a perfect strategy. A lot of strategy that drive coach should use is what his/her team has summarized for them. They should be focused on the next match and should not need to get bogged down by numbers and raw data. It sounds like this “data compiler” position would be a great movement for the previous coach, because it would allow them to guide the new drive team while not having to be on the field, but to have a more overarching look at the game and more comprehensive information to determine a plan for every match.


Consider some of the possible valid reasons that a team might need to make a late switch: physical or mental health issues, academic concerns, behavior / disciplinary action… most of the potential reasons I can think of for a change like this would involve confidential information that coaches and mentors shouldn’t be sharing with the world.

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Some years ago, the team I was on switched the #2 driver at the event for about a day. It was a disciplinary issue. The robot’s performance suffered on-field… but I fully understood that there was a disciplinary issue (I also knew what it was due to other factors but I’m not sure the entire team did).

OK, where’s the “love it” button to click? The “like” button just isn’t sufficient for this post.

I added another “like” for you.

As I indicated earlier, it’s a bad idea overall, but absent other info that we don’t have at all, there’s no way of commenting.

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