Drive Team Drills

We are wondering what other teams our there are using for drive team training. Such as drills to prepare a drive team for a match.

Any advice, suggestions

This is a post I wrote a couple years ago that answers your question.

An extra dimension I wish to add this season is the choreography necessary for our reveal video. Obviously, the idea is to do our intended strategy and show it off, but considering that this will all be on video and edited, I’ll be doing multiple takes from multiple angles so one strategy will be repeated over and over. This takes care of a good amount of driver practice (especially since they’re pressured to do it right and in a timely manner) and it takes care of the reveal video all at once.

If you plan to make a reveal video, I suggest this. If you don’t, take video of your practice anyway, so you can review it, measure your times, and learn from any mistakes.

Drive drills can differ depending upon your drive base choose wisely! If you have any questions PM I don’t want to blow up a thread.

This thread made so much more sense once I realized we weren’t talking about physical drills.

We used drills last year to take our robot out of transport configuration so I guess we could have done drills with the drills! :yikes:

If you have a new driver, there is nothing that will present the full experience of a match. However, the one thing I think is super important is creating field constraints.

The first competition I drove at made me realize how small a field really is. If you want your driver to have the “competition experience,” the best thing you can do is throw them into as close to a real field as you can make. Give them some sort of solid wall that they cannot cross, and then put an old robot into the arena with them. It may sound silly, but even getting something like a shopping cart and moving it a little can be enough to represent a robot. Have this old robot run a strategy that may get in the way of yours, and then have it run one that could complement yours. For example, if you are a ball shooter, have this robot “steal” balls you were planning on picking up. Miscommunications during competition happen all the time, even in eliminations. All you can do is adapt your strategy, and rather than focus on the mistake, focus on what you can do to fix it before assessing what you should have done.

If you have any other teams in your area, try to schedule some drive practices together. Having another team brings their ideas of how a game will be played and what the match should look like

Also, the practice matches before a competition are invaluable. Get your drivers to run through as many as they are allowed to.

For us just having drive team candidates execute a strategy in a certain time frame is our standard drill. This year it will probably be something along the lines of how many cycles in a minute or something like that. Usually change it up or sick a defense bot on them as well. We don’t normally do precision testing such as figure 8’s except to test how they perform under pressure. There are so many variables that going to a destination in a very unforgiving finite path isn’t representative of the game or a good driver. Adaptability and moving past mistakes has been key to our team.

a few tricks I have are to always where safety googles while driving as this is needed on the actual field. Also play loud music to simulate the stress and communication obstacles that happen at competition. As far as creating drills goes I like to isolate specific motions and build up to a whole match simulation. So make a list of every single thing you will need to do in a match do them over and over and then start to link them together. I also believe that it is important to give drivers an opportunity to do both roles. This puts their job in a different context and often reveals inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. I also like to practice what a drive team meeting will look like as this is an important skill to develop as well.

If you or your drivers have not seen the film “RoboLeague” - I highly recommend it. It was shot at Worlds this past year and chronicles a couple of teams as they experience, well, everything - from close calls to crushing defeats to victories. Some of the scenes in the film highlight how stressful driving and coaching can be. It’s not all happy fun times. There will be frustration, stress, miscommunication, and at the end there could be tears.

Best thing to do is be aware and be prepared.

  1. Start off slow. You have to learn how to crawl before you can walk then run.
  2. Take each defense seperately and learn best technique for crossing each.
  3. If you are shooting high goal, learn your sweet spot or range of success.
  4. Learn best spot for low goal shooting.
  5. Practice picking up balls and securing in bot.
  6. There are lots of blind spots this year, practice gathering balls in these areas.
  7. Pick up balls from midline.
  8. Start combining above activities.
  9. Start using a stop watch or timer keeping track of points.
  10. Practice climbing in 20 seconds.
  11. Get human player and spy involved as often as practical.

Repeat as often as possible. Increase practice frequency as you approach your first competition.

Always remember that it’s a game of seconds. You goal is to shave off as many seconds as possible while increasing cycles (a cycle involves securing Boulder, crossing defense then shooting). As a coach, it’s your job to watch all the little things looking for ways to shave off a second here and a second there.

If possible, find another local team and practice together a week prior to your first competition.

This could not be any truer. I’ve always told any student who wants to join the drive team that they need to be prepared to stand for nearly the whole day, scream instructions to each other and alliance members, and also not be surprised if they get a short lunch break, if one at all. I did four years as a drive team member: Human player rookie year, Driver my junior and senior veteran years, and Coach my college freshman year. Each position has its stresses, but I can definitely say that being on the drive team can be just as fun as it is stressful. It would be awesome to coach again, but we prefer to leave that position to students at this point in our team history and philosophy.

Make sure to include distance between the robot and drivers. Also throw some obstacles for sight issues.

It may be a little dated, but the Drive like a Falcon handbook from 2168 was what I used when I was a driver for my team as a basis for drills. Additionally, you’ll want to create game-specific drills; like for this year a drill where you start in the opposing courtyard, cross a defense and collect a ball, score the ball as fast as possible.