FRC: Long days, short weekends, and fitful sleep

Entering my second year as a coach/mentor/teacher and I have all the apprehensions of a second date… not a rookie anymore but definitely NOT feeling like a veteran!

What I’ve done in the “off” season:

  • bought a bunch of the tools we didn’t have enough of last year
  • moved to a larger space with nice big flat tables
  • recruited some new, motivated students and let the flakes slip away
  • developed an immunity to fatigue and iocane powder :smiley:

Any tips from other mentors/nerd-wranglers out there to make things smoother the second time around?

Don’t Panic

Relax, take a deep breath, get lots of rest. Working hard is great but I’d rather work smart. Never make a decision angry or tired. Talk things through, make decisions based on defined criteria.

Keep it Simple Silly - Don’t try to build a machine that does everything. Build one that does its job well.

Have a game plan, and stick to it. It’s best to spend the extra day deciding what your team will do rather than redesigning a robot weeks later.

On the same subject, try to get as much done as you can, as fast as you can. If you watch the game video, and decide you’re gonna use the Kitbot (ALWAYS a good choice, LOVE the kitbot), and you’re final about it, then as soon as you get back to your shop or when you have available time, get some students working on the kitbot. There are some things you’ll need to take longer on, and some things you can decide early on. Make sure you know what those things are before kickoff, if possible.

Have multiple options. Even if it’s something as simple as deciding whether or not to use metric nuts or not, always make sure you have more than one option for things. You may change your mind early on.

ALWAYS be prepared to sit down, log onto your computer, and ask for help. If you honestly can’t do something, or even want the slightest reassurance, I can guarantee you people will help, either from Chief Delphi, or real teams, in real like. If you ever need help, PLEASE feel more than welcome to contact 256, since we’re both in California, and both compete at SVR. We’ll help you quicker than 254’s minibot. :slight_smile:

If you can, attend 115’s post kickoff workshop. They will go over the game video again, and look over possible strategies.

If you need any more help, don’t hesitate to ask!

Good luck this season! :smiley:

I like to reread this before the new kickoff. It really helps to be thinking in the right mindset while the new game is unveiled… which is harder then it sounds (Your brain tries to design robots before your design objectives are even set… Crazy right?)

Good Luck in your second season!

Edit: Seriously, Everyone should read this paper (JVN’s Design Process One) :slight_smile:

I would suggest making sure that you emphasize with the students that they need to drink plenty of water/re hydrating liquids and to get sleep no matter what. I know the common thing is “lets have six weeks of no sleep” but that could be a greater disservice then some think. I know I think clearer when I have a good nights rest. Try to hold down late nights to only a few; during those late nights, if not much forward progress is being made, send everyone home to come back fresh. Also, have a good general plan and project matrix set out to know if those late nights are actually needed when they occur. FRC is a great tool to show/use project management. It would be a good idea to have an excel sheet set up to be a project matrix to have due dates set out and to keep track of it while you build. This way you can avoid unneeded late nights.

Good advice all around.

Unfortunately we’re not in norcal! We’re attending the Los Angeles Regional, but I do see there is an open spot at SVR… maybe I can whip up an extra $5K?

I could have sworn you were going to SVR. Maybe it’s a premonition $5000 is in your future! :smiley: Nonetheless, we’re happy to help any team, norcal or socal!

Plenty of teams in SoCal are more than willing to help. 330 is one, but I think RAWC or 696 are closer and have people on this forum.