Defensive Free For All


I truly apologize for making this post. We have never had aggressive defense played on us before and I reacted poorly. The teams that played defense on us did nothing wrong and because I did not understand all of the rules of the game, that is my fault. In hind-sight I should have taken the aggressive defense as a compliment that the opposing alliance saw us as a threat. Even an “old” guy like me has lessons to learn in life.

Last week we competed in the Wilsonville, Oregon District event and we were totally caught off guard. This is my third year as a mentor, and I was shocked at what this year’s game entailed. During our first quarter’s final match one of the opposing alliance team members came at us. They pounded on us and eventually disabled our team’s robot. To my surprise the refs did nothing. The response we received from Oregon FIRST (ORTop) says FIRST has decided to let anything go this year regarding defense, as long as you make bumper to bumper contact.

For some of you this may sound like fun. For those of us who are trying to teach kids about STEM this is not fun. We designed a robot to complete the games tasks, not to inflict damage to other robots. So basically we have created a $5,500 pinata that is being used by FIRST as entertainment. I am hopeful FIRST will see the error of their ways and will decide to return to the games that promote learning and gracious professionalism.

For those of you that have built a defensive only robot, show a little class. Play defense, but don’t try to damage the robot that another team has worked so hard to build.

Advice for drive team

It was clear day 1 that defense was going to exist, and that it was going to be harsh. Building your robot to live through a few hits is an important thing to be able to do well, especially at at DCMP and worlds.

Nobody is looking to break your bot, to be clear. We are just seeing real hard defense for the first time in 4-6 years (though there was some good hits in 2017…)


Not to discount your experience, but defense in the past few years has been VERY tame by historic FRC standards (2014 comes to mind as a recent example). This year is a bit more rough than the past few years, but teams have always been encouraged to build their robots to be “robust”, as this is a full-contact sport.


Oh boy, another one of these threads…

Imagine designing a car just for the task of driving down the street. Not considering any externalities at all. That would be safe and work right?


We have a durable robot. It just isn’t designed to take repeated shots from a bot traveling a max speed over a large distance again and again.


Out of curiosity, did you discover what specifically caused your robot to become “disabled”? If so, we might be able to make some suggestions.


I think that defense is always a consideration and that you need to design a robot to take repeated hits. Also what came undone? Ethernet, power connection?


Obviously you don’t have much experience of what a major auto accident looks like. You can build in all the safety features you want, but at some point something has to give.


Looking at QF3, i saw little cross court action from the defender (6443 iirc.) Maybe its in QF7? The bump that put you out looked pretty light, im betting a wire came out.


Like I said, I am a third year mentor and I have not been exposed to this kind of defense. It is hard to design for something when the rules are so vague.


i think the rules are pretty clear, that unless they are reaching into your robot, they can slam into you as hard as they want


Fatal car accident 1.2% occurrence
Chance you encounter a Defensive robot in any given year of an FRC game other than 2015 is most likely 90%+ Much less if your team isn’t threatening. Highly likely if you are a top8 team.


We played similar defense on you in 2017.

I get your point, and I understand it. I can also tell you that its not going to get lighter. Its an integral part of the game this year, moreso than 2017.


You’re getting a generally civil discussion that points out the historical norms and the current rules of the game. “Bumper-to-Bumper” contact has never been penalized.

Just because you don’t like the answers, that doesn’t mean others are being uncivil.


You are merely proving my point.


If you don’t like defense, go play in the Indiana District.




It’s crazy. This year IN had defense in quals and then almost no defense in elims.


If you didn’t want other people’s opinions then you shouldn’t have posted. No where in this post was there uncivil conduct. I will point out, however, that your original post was confrontational, impolite, indirectly called out other teams, and essentially called them class - less.


7502, a rookie team, had some really nice defense in Finals Match 2.