Do you include your own team on your picklist?


The question is the title. Some teams find it to be helpful for getting a sense for where they stand in relation to the competition. I personally think it’s a time sink during a busy evening. I’d love to hear more opinions on the matter.

edit: to clarify, this is not asking if you scout yourself. I really hope you do. I am asking if, when composing your ranking of teams by desirability to pick, do you also rank yourself?


I would say that my team SCOUTS ourselves. Do we include ourselves on our own picklist? Nope. But it is nice to be able to see if we’re just getting a tough schedule vs playing badly vs missing RP.


I tend to favor including our team’s number in a list we generate, but more as a place holder than a source of discussion. The last thing we all need at a meeting that’s running late after a long day of robots is to feel frustrated that a list is only 23 teams long, only to realize that the 24th team in any of the scenarios that impact our future was obvious all along.

We also use that list and the rankings to talk about possible scenarios that could play out, so I find it easiest to have lists, rankings, and potential alliances that include the same sets of team nunbers. IMO, it makes it easier to consider all possible angles when all of the numbers are in front of us.

The only thing worth discussing in terms of a self-evaluation of performance in this sense would be a rational semblance of where we may expect to fall on other teams’ picklists, based on the information available to us. That decision is beyond our team’s control, but it can help to be prepared if any discussions with other teams may need to occur the next day to attempt to influence their choices in alliance selection.


We generally do have that discussion early on in the evening for three reasons.
The first is to help with the discussion of what robot attributes would best complement us on an alliance. I.e. if we can pick a clone of ourselves, should we?

The other is to calibrate where we stand relative to the field and to try to understand what the top robots might do with their picks. I.e. if we put ourselves in X position, what slot will we be picking from and who, realistically, will be left to pick?

I think it leads to valuable discussion and also gives us an opportunity to bring our, let’s say, “more confident” team members back to reality a little bit. “Oh you think we’re better than XYZ? The data might suggest otherwise…”

On the topic of the data, I think comparing our numbers to the field helps me to calibrate what those numbers really say about a given robot. As drive coach I don’t get to see a ton of matches but I know what we’ve been able to do so seeing how we compare to other teams helps to give better answers to the first two questions.


I wouldn’t say my high school team put ourselves on our own pick list. We always scouted ourselves, and we always looked at where we stood in our own objective data, but as far as we were concerned (when I was on strategy at the very least) we were having a pick-list meeting to discuss other robots and not ourselves.


I said yes, but only because our team is naturally included in our first sort rankings from our quantitative data. From there, we go through a process of evaluating teams, with a focus on things our system isn’t sophisticated enough to detect on its own - for example, a team that has seen improvement over the course of the event, where their early matches may weigh down their performance relative to where they are now, or the reverse, where a team had something break that has severely degraded their performance in more recent matches, and early matches are propping them up on our rankings. We also look at intangibles from the drive team experience - teams that were difficult to work with, for example.

On our final picklist, our team does not make an appearance. But it’s definitely good to know where we fall on that initial, quantitative sort before any qualitative measures come into play.


Depends on if we’re preparing a picklist for another team or not.


My daughter’s team generally did last year but part of that was because they didn’t use a linear list. The second pick ranking had dependencies on the abilities of the first pick, what other teams would be looking for, and what is in the pool. For example this year the climbing ability of a first pick effected the considerations of the climber of a second pick.


My team really only started scouting this last year, and we scouted ourselves, but didn’t include ourselves in our pick list. It would seem almost detrimental to the process, i did look to see how we placed beside the other teams, but not on our picklist.


319 includes ourselves in our pick list meetings, but not really on the official list. We mostly do it for comedic relief when pick list meetings start to drag.

Sometimes we roast ourselves, sometimes we make up silly qualities, sometimes we investigate where we actually stand among the competition, but we don’t take it too seriously.


We tend to include ourselves in picklists we create for two major reasons (one of which I’ve seen mentioned).

First, its useful to include yourself as a placeholder to act as reminder that although 24 teams will play in eliminations, only 23 additional teams will be selected (in addition to your team).

Second, when sitting in the 9-12 spots it starts to give you an idea on whether you might be selected before you move up into a picking spot. Its hard to disconnect yourself and be objective in this measurement, but its still nice to have a bit of a guess as to how alliance selections might play out.


1296 did as well and it was 100% for a “if other teams prioritize what we do, where do we land”. I think there is benefit in trying to understand what other teams will do - if #1 is likely going to pick TeamWithAnExploitableWeakness then we might as well keep that in mind.

Additionally, its valuable data for improvement to know where we stand to prepare for the next event.

The last potentially useful item that I’ve never had to worry about is a situation where a team is seeded high but ranked (by their own metrics) low. If you’re first seed and there are 5 bots objectively better than you - do you scorch the field? Do you try to prevent potential embarrassment? Do you care?

I don’t mind if scouting meetings run late… I think they are a lot of fun and team members are only allowed to stay as long as they are being productive which keeps things moving.


In my mind (and I’m not sure that this is how my team does it), a pick list should only be a list of possible picks in the order that you are looking to pick them. Adding your own team into the list only serves to confuse whoever is making the final decision come alliance selection time. You will never have to pick your own team, so why put them as an option on your list?

That being said, it is definitely important to know where you rank relative to other teams, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what qualities you need from other teams to be able to form an effective alliance. Being able to consider various ways alliance selection may play out is necessary to develop an educated pick list, as well as an accept/decline list.


To add on to Katie’s point, I think it also helps if you’re in the middle of the draft as far as captains go.

Without pointing out any specific scenario, there were a couple times on 1296 where based on our picking position and based on the fact that captain X just invited us, we knew we could decline because there were enough robots remaining that could work well with us that it was completely safe to decline and still pick one from position Y. Ranking ourselves on our list beforehand allowed us to gain this insight that other teams may not have had.


No. Generally the final picklists include qualitative information after our final deliberations/meetings so its hard to do that clearly for your own team.

We do ask our scouts to rank us to the rest of the field on quantitative aspects like gears scored, cubes placed, frisbees scored, etc. so we know how we compare to the field on specific metrics.


One can never improve if they cannot be brutally honest with themselves about their own flaws and shortcomings.

In the contact of robotics teams, this may or may not include adding yourself to your own pick list. But honest self-reflection can also happen in both premortem and postmortem meetings, so as to involve the entire team.


Yes. For us at least, it helps us have better understanding if we’re the best robot, robot #5, robot #16, etc and how the alliance selection will play out.

That being said, we spend about all of 3 minutes on it. Most of the time we only need to ballpark this metric.

It’s scrubbed off by the time alliance selection rolls around, but we don’t go into these things without knowing where we would rank ourselves among the quality of robots at an event.


So for the initial draft of the picklist, we personally like putting ourselves into the picklist so we understand exactly who would be considered better than us or lower than us based on different aspects of the game.

But once we figure out the order and divide up the robots based on what is needed, we remove ourselves because it really isn’t need and you never know when you say your own team number by mistake. :stuck_out_tongue:


We normally don’t include our team in our physical list, but we like to assess where we are in regards to the competition, as in where are we ranked right now and where we should be. When we do rank teams to pick, we like to compare them to ourselves and see what their advantages and disadvantages are in comparison to us, and how they can work together with us. We also don’t normally scout ourselves because we have a lot of our members watching our robot at once and we should know what our robot capabilities are. But we do sometimes (for example, last year) put down data for our robot, to gauge ourselves against our competitors and to set a benchmark for others.


This thread has lead me to an interesting thought experiment that I wonder if anyone has attempted. A lot of the responses (whether or not you rank yourself) seems to be something to the extent of “we follow the data”.

This got me to thinking about ways to attempt to remove bias. Has anyone attempted to anonymize their quantitative scouting data to remove the inherent bias that is introduced by sorting by team number? I think this could be an interesting tool to help give a more “honest” evaluation of the field.

Obviously, this shouldn’t be the only method used to develop a picklist, as things like team reputation can definitely play a part in those discussions. I’d argue if you were looking to sort by pure performance, doing some type of anonymization would improve the results.

Has anyone attempted this in practice?