Driver Help

Hey guys,

This year I got picked to be one of our drivers during competition.
I know this is a relatively stupid question (because I don’t really know what I’m asking… :confused: ) but can anyone give me some advice on driving?

What to do when strategizing with teams, how to keep cool under pressure, etc?

Thanks! :smiley:

Well i would just suggest know your robot, try and stay calm,(i know its hard) think positive, do your best, and make sure the robot is on. :wink:

As a mentor/driving coach last year I was stunned at the silly mistakes my drivers made. Like turning left instead of right. I’d say, “You need to go right, get around him,” and he’d go left…
Practice meditation, and tuning out background noise.

Some Random Tips in no particular order:

-Stay Calm under pressure. This will help you keep your focus during tough situations.

-Trust the advice of your coach. They should be watching the rest of the field while you’re focused on your robot. Don’t worry about other machines unless the coach tells you that you should.

-Be Honest with your alliance partners. If you know that you need a little help doing something, letting your partners know ahead of time might be the difference between winning and losing.

-Try to be as aware as reasonable of the status of your robot. The instant that you think a system has failed, relay this information to those who need to know. This will allow the alliance and your team to make strategy changes on the fly if need be.

-Don’t be a pushy ‘I have something to prove’ driver. If your alliance agrees to a strategy before a match, stick to it as best you can (excluding robot failures etc). No one likes a team that keeps getting in the way.

-Know the rules inside and out. You should KNOW when you’ve broken a rule without a ref telling you.

-Practice Communication with your co-driver and coach. Learn the most efficient way to relay information between one another. The Driver’s station is not the place for big worlds and long sentences.

-Have Fun.

Being able to communicate this information to the pit crew after each match is also a vital skill.

This is very true. Nothing’s better than walking back to a pit full of kids who already know what the issue is and are ready to fix it.

I’ll try to think about all these things during matches.

FRC2168 wrote up a “Drivers Manual” between seasons and posted it up on our website under Resources: Organizational Documents.

Here is the direct link to the .pdf: Driver Manual

Remember that this was written by our team, for our team so your opinions may vary.

I would say try not to think too much. You need to know your robots capabilities and the strategy your alliance well enough that driving is instinctive.

When I was a driver, along time ago, I thought I would be nervous but I found at our first competition that I knew the robot and what I had to do on the field so well that once the match started the only thing I herd while driving was my coach and my operator, all the outside noise was gone and I was focused and clear headed.

Reread my man Dustins post…He basically sums it up…

I would add one more thing…
HAVE SOME SWAG. What I mean by that is be confident, be confident in your abilities. I have been a coach for a few years I always tell my driver be on the cusp of reckless and control. Aggression can pay off.

Wow! That is a really helpful manual. I have been on the drive team of my team for 4 years and I learned new things from that. It also helped me put my finger on some of the things I kind of knew, but was never really conscious of or able to communicate.

I’m certainly going to use this in training our drive team this year. Great job with that.

First, will you be driving the wheels, or operating the mechanisms of your robot?

If you’re driving the wheels:

My best advice to you is stay focused on the robot and the goal at that moment. You have a coach an operator to tell you what to do, you just need to think and focus on the robot. Where it is, where you need to be, how you’re going to get there, and of anything, robots or obstacles, in your path. Basically, if you’re driving the wheels and you’re looking around for balls or other robots not in your vicinity, you’re doing it wrong. Like I said, 100% focus on the robot. Mechanisms don’t always go all the time. The robot itself needs to move every second of the match, and that’s your job. Practice with loud music, people yelling at you, stress, and most of all, distractions. Whether it be other robots on the field or team members running around sometimes getting in your way, you need to focus on the robot. Since I wear glasses, my safety glasses have a huge side panel on them that I block out with black marker. The same way you limit the field of vision on a racing horse, doing this helps me focus on the robot, and only where the robot is. No side distractions, no reason for your eyes to look away.

If you’re operating the mechanisms:

Mechanisms, while always very important, are never run 100% of the time. You won’t always be shooting balls, or picking up tubes, or lining up to hang on the bar. On 256, we treat the operator as a pseudo-coach. The operator’s job is to help the driver know where they need to be. If you’re playing a game this year and you’re operator, you need to A) Find balls on the field (Driver is focused on driving), B) tell the driver where to go in a way they can understand (No saying “over on that side”, or “near xxx’s robot”), C) Control the mechanism(s) to pick up the ball, and eventually shoot. Notice how controlling the mechanism is last, since you’re the only one with time to think, you can comprehend the field and what to do. When shooting, etc., you need to be able to know what the driver is doing. Great drive teams will be able to work with little words spoken to each other, since they already know what the other person is doing.

All in all, drivers and operators have two distinct, very important jobs, which must be practiced and rehearsed in order to get right.

Good luck this year!