I’ve spent a lot of time refining 1405’s Driver Selection process since joining. It’s become a mix of traditional driver practice, and a job selection process. Students drive their end of the process on their own. I set expectations and provide minimal direction behind that. This ensures students are committed to the role and show some initiative. This includes an application/interview process (application due kickoff day, they schedule their own interview with me within Week 1). After that, we so a test, like most teams. This, combined with standard driver practice and other assessments, helps us pick a drive team.
We do practice almost year-round, including a night dedicated to it during the build season. Its taken a while but team is fully behind and understands the importance of driver practice, and drive team night is “sacred”. A culture like that is important to building a successful drive team. It needs to be something students covet, not just another job. During the off season, practice structure is loose. We practice a variety of things, from basic drills to game-specific tasks and in between. Drivers create their own obstacle course, based on what they feel they need to work on. I provide feedback and insight on their course and during their practice. I track times and results and make a form of a leaderboard. Healthy competition and a competitive environment is also important. When students begin pushing each other to new heights, that’s when you can really start to hit your stride.
We are a smaller team. I establish backups if quantity of applicants support it. Everyone practices their role equally (driver, operator, human player, etc), but once competition hits, we role with one team. I try to keep the set primary drive team in play at all times. Only a serious conduct issue or medical concern would prompt me to adjust that.
I think that pretty much covers the key points. If you have any more questions, let me know.