FRC Scouting

So our season just ended at FIM States. One of the problems we had specifically at states was scouting. We have a small teams of 7 people. So scouting each team every match was impossible. So I need a few suggestions for next year. First this year we scouted on paper then gathered each of our allies and opponents sheets before each match. This was very hard sometimes when we had back to back matches trying to run up and down stairs between matches.

  1. How does your teams scout?
  2. Good app to scout?
  3. Can it be used offline?
  4. (This one I am more curious about then for our team) Would there be some way for a group of teams to just have a pool of scouting data? That way smaller teams like ours wouldn’t have to scout each team.

Its called Scouting alliances. Bascially a couple teams will work together on one shared platform, a paper form or app or whatever you use, then the data goes to one central database that all teams in the alliance get access to. 4513 has been doing this for 3 years with varying levels of success (sometimes the system isint good or a team your working with flakes out) but this year we worked with 4980 with massive success, and plan on working with a couple other teams at champs to have data for all matches in our division.

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How did you guys pool your data? App to google spreadsheet?

Also do you plan on using same teams each year or just pick teams and ask them?

Prrvious years were paper->MS Access (had a real easy form function and worked great with Tableau, a data visualization software FIRST teams get free) but this year we moved to electronic scouting with Appsheet that was connected to a Google Sheets workbook. The latter was way easier to share with other teams for obvious reasons.

Working with the same teams year to year are preferable, but sometimes theyre not at the same event as you, so we send feelers to teams long before events (or as long as possible with worlds divisions) if theyre interested and make sure theyre okay with the setup and make sure any concerns are addressed.

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  1. We dont have a big team to begin with, an even smaller scouting team (really only 3 people, and even that’s pushing it). We really try to focus our scouting on our pit scouting. We only match scout if theres a team who we have really noticed and may be a threat to us, or has outstanding pit scouting feedback that we want to prove. Match scouting is great, but dont worry about scouting every match. Only focus on matches that include teams who may later be important.

  2. Currently, we use Cognito Forms to take in our data. Once recorded, we can export the data as an Excel file and organize from there. We have used multiple platforms for scouting such as simple paper scouting, google forms, Appsheet, but Cognito Forms seems to be the best way for our team at the moment.

  3. Cognito Forms can not be used offline, as it is a website. But Appsheet can be. When offline, Appsheet will save all the data entered and then upload it when internet is available. The catch to Appsheet is that in order for multiple accounts to input data, you need to pay $5 an account. If you use Appsheet, i recommend created a scouting-specific team email that everyone can log into Appsheet with on their phone, that way you dont have to pay for 7 different accounts.

While this is an option, i dont recommend it. We had a scouting alliance at the Hudson Valley Regional with two other teams. Neither teams did their portion of the scouting and so we had to have someone on our team go back and pretty much re-scout everyone. If you do want a scouting alliance, make sure its with a team you know and trust to do the right thing.

PM me if you want any more in-depth information or your team would like help. We would be more than willing to give some more specific help to your team in terms of scouting and data manipulation.

  1. Historic class analysis + qualitative pre game scouting+ in game scouting “eyes on bots”

  2. Don’t use apps

  3. Offline… we schedule watchlists and verify BA stats for outliers we missed with “our eyes”

  4. Hmm interesting, most teams take the easy app way out. I doubt they would want to put in the necessary time and adhere to certain metrics to observerve every game and pregame, like we do. If they commit to it then a pool may be possible.

I don’t think we would need a pool plus the watchlists would vary by team , as long as we have enough scouts. Its about “quality” of observations not mass of data.

Awesome! Will definitely keep this in mind.

So I am sorta confused… What exactly do you guys do during the actual matches

Day 1 we add to out watchlist all friends and foes…and we observe them in every game until we finish playing with or against them… we ignore all others unless they “stand out” as able to help us. Then we add them to day 2.
This watch list during day 1 is to learn about our alliance partners and ways to defeat our foes, if they played an event prior we already have their capabilities and liabilities noted.

Day 2… We check BA for any we missed in Day 1 (zero,1 or 2 most years) if statistically viable we add them to day 2 watchlist. We also add the top 16 ranked “captains” continue to observe looking for those that we want to partner with, those we don’t or feel wont partner with us then how to beat them.

This lessens “noise” and gives us what we need intel on those on the field with us, We don’t care about rank or where we rank we care about quality of choices and how to beat those we face and find those that work with us well.

Where and what on Blue Alliance do you exactly look at? Sorry I am kinda new to this whole scouting thing

The results order the columns… look at top 10

Im so sorry can’t find that on Blue alliance…

Under “rankings” order each column click on column title to sort…we also check OPR “Offensive power ranking” under “insights”.

Ok… so all of your scouting is basically from past events they were in?

Yes ,in the current event and past events that season… all teams fall into predictable patterns

1/2 of the teams cannot help or harm you…its the other half you need good intel on, those that can help or harm you directly. In game you want to maximize who you are paired with and slow down those you are facing and mitigate their harm potential. That starts and ends with good notes on the stakeholders of that match and tendencies.

The problem with most API stats is they reflect “alliance pairing” and are skewed by schedules and partners. Sample size is way to low to rely on “just data”

OK makes sense

I’m only thinking match stats for group scouting, so I don’t understand the re-scouting unless they mean from uploaded video later. It makes less sense to share scouting in pits. Mostly it is about everyone getting a table of data that is more complete for the matches.

It tends to work out that one team leads the group. Maybe a deeper collaboration can happen, but everything has to be in advance. I guess if part of the group doesn’t show up or dissolves, you shouldn’t be in much worse situation than going it alone. If you are team that is doing an alliance as a service of sorts, you should plan to have enough scouts but give more breaks when the other teams scouts are there.

The sharing of the scouting data is time essential. 1810 had a printer in their pit and handed it out that way along with a digital copy. Another team (I forget) we were waiting for a little Friday night before data was passed along.

Analysis is a team task, for the most part. But it is good to have a plan, even if it is just sorting/filtering in Tableau.

If you are picky about what data you get, you have to work that out in advance, or maybe this is not for you. But remember you want to join an alliance so that you can collect more data that you probably won’t be able to get by yourself. So don’t be too picky.

There are some other parts that I thought were neat. If you’re small and inexperienced, you can learn others systems. Maybe next season you’d be the scouting alliance leader instead of the follower with the new gained experience. You can also form bonds with other teams, to an extent. And it is more social, so it can be fun to be around other teams.

How many appsheet accounts did you pay for? Does it work to have 7 people logged into one account at the same time ( as mentioned by someone in a later post)? Would you be willing to share some screen shots of what your scouting app looked like? I looked into appsheet a few years ago but decided to use FRC Krawler instead. However, we had issues with syncing this year so I’m considering appsheet again. We scout with tablets offline so the online apps won’t work for us.

Agreed love to see how all this works.