I was thinking it would be a good idea to develop some drills to help train drivers (maybe coaches or human players too). Does anyone already do this and have some advice they would be willing to share? What do you guys think would be some good drills for this years game?
First, think about your core strategies.
What would you do if no one else was on the field (i.e. dead partners and the other team stays out of your way)?
What would you do with 1 good partner?
What would you do with 2 good parners?
How would you handle a lot of defense?
These are your core strategies that you should have discussed early on in the build season. Once you have those, break them down into specific tasks/skills.
If you are a hanger, practice making a logo on your own. How long does it take? How can you make it faster? What sub task can be improved by driver practice? What sub tasks could be improved with better design?
If you have a slow hanger bot, doing full field stints may take a long time. How can you improve this? Will practice help? Should you change design or tactics? Many times you can change your tactics and practice those.
If you really want to understand the art of drilling, talk with a coach at your school that gets results. Ask them how they decide what drills to do. this will give you insight into how to dissect your game play and what drills you could benefit from. Better yet, after listening to the coach, tell them a bit about “your game” and ask them for some advice. You just might find a new fan or “Strategic Mentor”.
This might be a no-brainer but if you are planning on being an offensive team then aqcuiring a tube should be one of the things you practice the most (if not the most). Scoring will be mostly dependent on your robots capabilities and generally (once you are in position to score) will only take a short period of time. Aqcuiring a tube, on the other hand, will take quite a bit more time especially when you consider the following:
You have to avoid whatever robots may be playing defense on you
You will probably want to smoothly manuever into the feeder lane (i.e. not bumping into walls or the base of the tower)
Depending on how you aqcuire tubes there may be some finesse driving involved
The more practice you can get dealing with these conditions, the more successful your team will be this year. On a side note, its always a good idea to practice with your drivers standing and, if possible, with the drive coach behind them giving them advice. As you probably already know driving standing up and sitting down give a different feel, so you want your drivers to get comfortable in the position they will be in come game time.
“Practice like you play, because you will play like you practice.”
Have a mentor modify a version of the code to go berserk at random. Don’t tell the drivers, just say that they need to do a speed run of something and it will be timed. Eventually, the robot will stop working correctly, and they’ll be distressed when their time is compromised. This will help to see how they react under pressure and when things go wrong.
My team is using mecanum drive, we’re modifying the code to drop the tube whenever the robot strafes to the right. We put a number of strafing obstacles on the course so it will eventually happen, and they will have to adjust to it.
If you do this and you find out that your driver can’t handle it and has a fit, it’s better now than in front of thousands of people in a match.
Alan is right on the money.
Simulate a match to the best of your ability, and make it as difficult as possible for the drivers. Put them and your machine through all sorts of extremely difficult situations and scenarios so that they’re ready for anything.
But if you’re looking for a drill to try, how about this one:
Robot starts at final autonomous position
Robot gets tube.
Robot Scores Tube
Add obstacles as necessary.
Repeat as many times as needed, x2.
So the driver that looks on chief delphi only strafes left…
with out the robot train by:
practicing how to develop pre match strategies
practice flash cards of tube formations on the grid and how well students figure out the score
Read the rules
watch old match videos and web casts of a regional on the weekends you are not attending one
with the robot train by:
working alone to complete as high a score as possible, then ad teammates, then add opponents
lining up on the tower
driving with a scored logo on the middle peg in front of drivers
picking up tubes
take time to learn the nuances of your machine
ask your drivers what they feel they need to work on
Wouldn’t the time better be spent to minimize/eliminate failures, rather than preparing for the expectation that it will fail?
There’s always a chance something wierd will happen, and who knows how (or if) you’ll be able to react to it. To me, it seems more beneficial to practice the actual intended functions.
We would love to take our 2007 robot (because it’s running) and chase around our prototype so we can give the drives team a little resistance to deal with while practicing scoring because if they get good at it (and it’s looking very much like that will be the case) then they need to learn how to deal with the inevitable defensive attention that comes with success.