Drive Team Attention at Comps

How does your team get your drive team’s attention during competitions? For example, if your drive coach isn’t in the pits when another team wants to talk strategy, how do you tell them to return to the pits?

We have found that phone reception can be spotty and people don’t check their phones or pick up calls during comps.

We have a strategy team that does strategy talks with the other alliance members. Generally that team is proactive in seeking out the other teams so we don’t generally need to worry about immediately finding the drive team at events.

Generally our drive team is either in the pits or the stands so if we can’t contact them, we know where they are.

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Our driver and coach (who carries lead strategist duties, we’re a small team) are tasked with finding our alliance and discussing upcoming strategy as soon as we’re done debriefing the last match.

They don’t carry technical responsibilities during the competition weekend, so they’re either driving, strategizing, or resting. Rests are scheduled in the time coming up to matches, after they’ve had first contact with alliance partners.

We go find our partners, so I haven’t experienced the issue you’re describing at a systematic level.

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Like @Peyton_Yeung we have a separate group on the team to run strategy. They do the going out to find our partners to discuss match strategy. Works better for us because they have seen more of the event & match data be more in tune with what everyone’s strengths are. This also helps keep the team collaborating more when there’s a direct relationship of the drive team trusting the scouts and the data they are collecting.

Also helps in smaller district events because the drive team needs breaks too. When you have a 3-4 match turnaround all day there isn’t much time left to do post-match discussions, get some food, or sit down if you have to go straight from a match to find partners.

The ideal-world solution is “know where your drivers are at all times”. If the drive team isn’t queued, at the field, or at the pit, have some person in the pit who knows where the drive team went and can send someone to fetch them. For us that often falls on the mentor in the pit or the most responsible pit crew. It’s not a totally robust system, but it works well enough.

We haven’t really run into any “omfg where’s the drive team” situations that I know of, but that may also be influenced by the size of district events compared to regionals.

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No cell service situations are pretty much “be predictably where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there.”

As long as we have cell reception we heavily utilize slack and everybody is expected to keep themselves in the loop and be responsive. Somebody from strat declares the beginning and end of every match, so that everybody is aware of the field status. Robot handoffs between drive and pit are declared relative to field status. Typically the message is formatted as “Our next match is X, stop work at X-4, function check start of X-3, roll at end of X-3.”

Driveteam is almost never in the pit, aside from when they are supposed to be for function check or when pit summons them for judge interactions. I (drive coach) am rarely in the pit at all, I usually just meet the rest of driveteam in queue after they get the robot. Pit generally directs people that are looking for us to meet us in queue. We have a strong preference for doing match strat in queue, so this works out well enough. If it’s not upcoming match related, pit will let us know who is looking for us and we’ll go find them.

When we don’t have cell service it’s roughly the same system, except that everybody needs to keep track of what match is playing without the benefit of the updates from strat. MSC is the only event where this is a major problem. It’s definitely a little disconcerting not having the regular cadence of updates.

We have a six minute response time rule, wherein at any given time if a checkin is called everybody is expected to be able to affirm their location within six minutes. Work crews will often have one person relaying messages to/from their work crew to the rest of the team (i.e. one person from pit will be reading the field status messages to the others, so they don’t all need to be looking at their devices). Within each work crew they are expected to know where the others are and when they are supposed to return, i.e. if driveteam isn’t together then they know where the others are.


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