Downtime at Competition?

Ok, so we had our last competition of the year last week with Brunswick Eruption, and with a growing trend of teams there are a lot of Pre-Rookies on new teams as well as students new to the competition on veteran teams. The feedback I got from asking people around was as usual phenomenal. Everyone loves it (come on its robots) but there is one complaint that I heard over and over.

What does your team during the downtime at a competition? There is a lot of it, particularly if you are on a larger team where there is only so much work to go around.

You play my team in Ultimate Frisbee…
So far undefeated for my 3 years on the team so far.

Heh… even though I’ve only seen the UCF regional, I’ve seen people do everything from watching flash movies to browsing ChiefDelphi to playing hackeysack to a limbo game started by 79 and 233.

Conor, I am not sure about the whole team, but at competitions whenever I get a chance I go up to mentors/engineers (that I know) and start talking to them or hang out with my friends there. I only see them few times a year. That’s how I met great mentors and friends. Competitions just never get boring for me. :]

I’m gonna go with Arefin on this one. There is way too much to do at competitions to be playing ultimate frisbee or hackey sack.

There’s a whole lot that can be learned.

Downtime, what downtime? There’s always something to do. Scouting is always a good way to keep people busy (if you are on strategy and want to deprive yourself off a good nights sleep simply have round scouting and team scouting on every team. Not only does it keep 6+ people busy for a reasonable amount of time, it also keeps you awake all night and you still find yourself rushing to formulate a list of alliance partners when you end up in eigth place.)

This may seem like an obvious one, but go and sit in the stands and watch matches. Some of the most exciting things take place on accident during qualification matches.

Go talk to people. Introduce yourself to various people who you know who they are. I know I’d be pretty happy if someone walked up to me when I was wandering around and said “Hi, I’m Bob from CD.”

Downtime Conor… what downtime? ACtually we were fortunate to have a very well built robot this year along with a lot of luck so we did have some downtime. Usually just enough for pit crew and drive team to go and get our own lunches instead of having my parents grab them :slight_smile: (ex: FLR last year). We even had time to play some hackeysack between matches in Cleveland. But most of our time is spent in the pit or on the field. so when we do come across the usual 10 - 15 minutes i search out a laptop with internet access and log onto CD to catch up on any new regional news, or to post any myself. (ex: FLR last year) My advice though, when you are lucky enough to come across some free time… cherish it, hold it tight, and SLEEP. :wink:



I am also going to have to agree with Arefin here, at the end of the day at the Champs when we were just sitting around or getting scouting information in order. (or when I was told i spent to much time in the pits :stuck_out_tongue: ) I was lucky enough to go talk to all my friends and idols. (ex: Copioli, Baker, Patton, Morrison, Beatty’s, Karthik, John Neun… etc.) this is a great time to learn more about the competition and their bots, or just talk to some really great people. Use it wisely. Mob JVN for autographs :smiley:

I come from a small team, but we try to keep the whole team involved, there is a lot of scouting. There could even be more scouting if I could get them to do it. Many people are also cheering (this often involves bad dancing), hanging out with friends on other teams, or collecting buttons. Sometimes, if we can get an adult to go with us, we go somewhere for food or shopping. :slight_smile:

I do agree with both Collin and Arefin, I’m usually overwhelmed with the amount of stuff to do at a competition. Now what I’m trying to figure out how to do is get the rest of the team to find something to do at competition when its not their turn to scout or check out the robot in the pit. More of how to get them out of the stands and to interact and really get out of the competition what Arefin, Collin, and I do out of an event.

Sign up to be a volunteer. You will have no downtime there. Many of our students who are not on the drive team or pit crew do this. I have done it for the past two years and find it very rewarding.

… I follow Arefin around.

Just kidding, I’m usually staying well out of the way of our pit crew and either trying to dig up a bit of scouting information, meeting some other students and engineers, taking pictures pictures pictures, or following Arefin around.

Cursed Freudian slips…

usually we have driver meetins, team peptalks, but when I’m not doing those, o try to get outa the hotes in search of FIRST teams that just want to chill.

Free… Time…? do these words even work grammatically in a sentence?

Seriously, We were pretty busy all the time… the little bit of time we did have was spent talking to other teams, mentors, and simply watching the games gasp! yeah, we watch the games…

I can’t say I’ve ever had downtime, in my five years of FIRST.

For the first four, I was a student, and was always busy either in the pits, talking strategy, or watching matches/scouting.

Last year I volunteered at four events, and probably had even less downtime than the first four :slight_smile:

White paper from NEMO on “Jobs at Competition.” And yes, you have to search but look on current page 7.

I agree with the many who feel that there is way to much to do to have downtime, however, I think there is also an important fact that is overlooked:

Some members on FIRST teams don’t “get” it yet.

This isn’t their fault (or a fault at all), however, if a person is new to FIRST, competitions can just go by in a boring blur. What should be noticed? What can be learned?
Perhaps a solution would be having a mentor or active parent who is more aware of all the opportunities of a competition lead a “guided tour” on the first day and point out all the unique, extraordinary, or just plain cool ideas that other teams have pursued. Enthusiasm must occasionally be instilled by someone who is already excited.

If you want to fill up your free time just take up programming, everytime there is a problem or something that needs to be tweaked it is your fault and your job (even when the drve team is using the wrong joysticks)

There is always something to do, if all else fails just go watch matches and write down what you see, who is good , who is bad, it will help alot when the scouting team is trying to figure out “who has the bot with the balls on the arm”.

downtime what downtime…i really never had downtime my entire time in FRC yet…but if I had the time i would meeting up with friends i’ve met from other states and going around and trying to learn like everyone else has said.
and championships going to some those workshops…a lot of them i’ve heard are really great and all.
also not only walking around to learn but to see if any team needs help.

Cheer for everyone else that IS competing that match. Go to other teams and challenge them to some spirited cheering. If your team is one of those who doesn’t do much cheering, go find one that is cheering and sit with them (I’ve done it) - they are having fun and you will, too! Visit the pits and observe the other robots, make notes on the pit displays. Read their “judges information” - you will get lots of ideas of how your team can improve by reading about what other teams are doing. If they are a veteran team you admire, ask if they are competing in the Chairman’s Award process and ask to look at a copy of their submission. If you are a mentor, organize a lunchtime meeting of other mentors. or whatever role you play on the team. Check out the mascot costumes to figure out how to make one for your team.

Your experience is whatever you choose to make it. Choose to be bored and sleep? Your choice. Just don’t let me see you do it, or I’ll give you the lecture that my former team members have heard from me before… I didn’t spend all that time, all that money, and all my vacation days to come to this event to watch you sleep through it. This is what you’ve worked so hard for. Don’t miss a second of it!

last year, #340 had around 50 students. during the day we cheered and watched and fixed the robot when it broke down. at night we would always find something to do. we normally would go out to a restaurant that we reserved for 60+ people (including mentors). after eating, i recall going bowling some nights, and other nights just chilling at the hotel. we would go swimming watch the day’s matches on video. that is what we would do. it kept us busy most of the time.