Driver Practice in Charged Up!

What has your team found to be the most efficient driver practice in Charged Up! I have seen various methods ranging from simulation practice (111 style practice) such as purely endgame to full match gameplay.

We try to do full matches every time. This forces us to not only practice everything, but it also makes sure that everything is consistent, including autos.

In some practices we also run a swerve drivebase robot to either help push cubes or to play defense.

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We have not had constant access to our practice field this year (long story) but we have acquired quite a bit of competition carpet and we have a place in our school when we can piece together a full-length, 1/3rd width field. we also build some grids for practice. so we have been just practicing cycling with defense from another robot. for balancing we have found that almost all homemade balancers are really bad so what we did was do our best on a bad one and then fix the tuning for auto balance at our first practice match. in my experience it is not super necessary to do a whole bunch of practice matches but it is better to just work on the things you notice you need to work on (like cycle times)

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We really want to set up something like this, but in the past we have had trouble trying to store /move the heavy carpets. How do you get around that part?

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I don’t see a total point to running autos over and over, but rather my team just practices cycles. We time our cycles in each grid location and get as consistent as possible. We found our charge station is not reliable or even similar to the real one, so we don’t ever climb. Our climb practice comes from practice matches and so far we haven’t missed once. I think the most important way to get driver practice is to look back at old matches from a previous regional and study it like game film in football. Find where you’re losing time and adjust.

we are fortunate to have a relatively large shop space but we are forced to share with community education classes which is really annoying. we have our carpet and field elements sitting on carts out of the way. We are able to keep our stuff out of the way most of the time but it was much preferable when we were able to just go to the practice field every day.

that sounds exactly what we are doing. Even the full size one with official hinges at the practice field at HCPA is not very accurate because it’s wood and the official one is aluminum. what we have been doing at our school and HCPA is just running cycles and having people watching and filming to see where we can improve.

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My team built some dollys that go one each end of the carpet so we roll it up when we’re done and roll it away to storage. Though if there arent ramps that lead to your practice space this could be troublesome.

we have been lucky that our school is very accessible for robots and carpet. granted it’s never going to be easy to move a 15 x 54’ length of carpet down the hall to the practice space

Here’s what we’ve been doing for practice on 6045!

1678 started the season with short cycles (picking up just behind the charge station, delivering to the grid) just to get the hang of game piece alignment and placement as fast as possible, which is the hardest action in the game. (Except maybe forking. Forking be tough.) Once the drivers had a good feel for placement (around the end of February/beginning of March-ish), we moved on to full-match simulations. We run auto, teleop, and endgame every time, and record each match’s results.


We run a practice space over in southern Maine so we normally just have scrims with the other teams who attend it
Aside from that it’s just timed runs set up by the driver’s station and maybe some courses on the field

Our team is fortunate enough to have access to a full field in our facility, so we tend to run our own skewed version of practice matches.

  • We typically don’t practice with Autos, but instead pre-fill the nodes where the Autos would.
  • We change the practice match time frames in the drive station to only include teleop, and we cut it 15 seconds short in endgame. That way we can continue to work on shortening cycle times and then always have that missing time set aside for balance. As a driver, I found that it is much more beneficial to have time set aside, because it allows me to not only push for more pieces but also rest on the safety net of knowing that I will always have a few extra seconds to complete a link or balance.
  • occasionally we devote full matches to only scoring hybrid nodes with certain pieces… as you’ll never know when they can be crucial

At competitions our team has adopted the habit of doing drive team meetings after every match. We have the whole drive team sit off to the side in the pits and address the condition of the robot, what went well, watch match footage (a mentor will record and show it on an iPad), watch match footage of our human player, and THEN talk about what we can improve on. Taking a second to watch the matches from a new perspective and bounce input from HP to Drive coach to drivers is, in my opinion, arguably just as important in staying competitive and continuously improving. (Also a great thing to do as an alliance in playoffs!)

Hope this helped :))

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We set up a single cone node column, a half charging station and 2 stools stacked on top of each other to emulate the substation. The cone and substation are set up with an accurate distance apart, and the “substation” is at a distance close to where the middle of the field is. We don’t have a large space, so this is as accurate as we can get.
First, we get some cycles in. Maneuvering around the charge station to get a cone placed. Trying to maximize efficiency in movement, such as turning prior to entering the community and knowing when to use field oriented. Our goal is to get as many as we can in 1:30, since we’re only working with a quarter of a field without any other robots. Here’s a timelapse of some of this: ✂️ Scoring Practice - YouTube
Once they get that down, we remove the charge station, and bring in another robot. While the main driver and operator keep doing cycles, either another student or an alum with driving experience plays defense on them. Nothing too crazy because on either side of our field is a lathe, mill, and band saw, but enough to make the driver have to make decisions on how to out maneuver them. This test for us is less about actually cycling the game pieces, and more about building situational awareness. Our bot uses a jump/butterfly drive, so knowing when to switch from tank to mecanum, and being able to scroll around other bots is a very important skill to have.
We didn’t practice end game too much, since we had trouble getting our charge station to balance like the real ones do. But we did have the driver drive over it to line up with nodes, since that would help avoid clogging up lanes as other bots cycle.
We also didn’t practice too much on picking up off of the floor, since it was less efficient than going to the substation. With more practice maybe it would’ve been a more viable option, but we decided to just stick with what worked.

We have started doing 30 second drills - place as many pieces as possible and balance in only 30 seconds.

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