[FTC]: Speak to me of FTC Leagues

If you are in a league, what do you like? Don’t like? How many competitions are there? How many volunteers do you need?

Michigan FTC Teams are exploding and it looks like it will be a huge challenge just to get into 2 Qualifiers. Also, this means the slots available to State’s is going to be very limited (like 3 per competition). As a 2nd year team, we aren’t as competitive as we’d like to be - and my kids just want to compete with their robots. We definitely have the team/sq mi density - but the knowhow? maybe?

Leagues in PNW provide 2 league matches that lead into a league final combining multiple leagues. Performance is cumulative including league finals to qualify for state championships. Judging only occurs at league finals and beyond. You have to do well early and improve with each match.

I’ve moved to the PNW over the summer, but for Velocity Vortex I lived in IL (specifically Chicago), which went (mostly) full-blown leagues for that season, so I can share a Head Ref/Ref/Game Announcer/Emcee perspective. The general format, at least in Chicago, was a total of 9 league meets (3 for each of 3 divisions, North/Central/South), which then led to the League Championship (all 3 divisions come together for something resembling the QTs of days past), which would qualify teams for States.

Volunteer load is pretty light at the meets - you need a minimum of maybe 10-12ish to make them happen - at the least, a Head Ref and 2 Referees, a Lead Robot Inspector, an FTA, probably a CSA, a Scorekeeper, and the folks managing the logistics behind the scenes (Volunteer + Event Coordinators). Realistically you’ll want several other roles filled - a few Inspectors, a DJ, queuing folks, etc. but you’ll (technically) survive if you can’t fill them - you’ll just have some volunteers doubling up. Two roles you pretty specifically don’t need filled include MC+GA. The EC can handle the 10 minute opening ceremony, and GAs are just… not necessary at this level (there’s often not much of a show here). In Chicago’s league structure we were running 15 match meets (only qualifying matches - elims don’t show up until league champs).

For league championships, expect the same volunteer roster as a QT and you’ll be fine.

From a volunteer perspective, it’s great - I technically work more Saturdays, but those Saturdays aren’t total washes - I’m on my feet for ~6 hours rather than the ~10-12 of a QT. As an FRC alum and former FTC mentor, I think leagues are a great system overall, but the lack of judging at the meet level seems a little odd - you get just one shot at the Inspire/Think/etc. now, and it’s at League Champs. Aside from the lack of judging iteration, there’s a lot more opportunity for robot iteration, which I think is great.

This was a fairly rushed reply and I’ve probably left out some interesting stuff - feel free to ask further questions!

In Minnesota this year (2017) High Tech Kids (governing body) has 3 Leagues this year. The three leagues are stand-alone and then meet together for a standings in our League Qualifier (think a different rendition of FRC Districts).

There are 189 FTC teams in MN and HTK saw the need to start League Play. Luckily we were able to get in on the ground level and we found it to be a smashing success!

In MN the three Leagues play at three events (within each League). So each team gets 5 plays in each event (15 total) - plus our league had a ‘Week Zero scrimmage’ this season. So our teams have had a total of 20 plays versus the normal 5 plays for the teams attending a normal regional. The scores speak for themselves as the average high score at the Regionals was around 100 while final events of league play was north of 150.

I will state for disclosure that the League that we are in (Pepin) brought down the average high scores for League Play. I really believe that this was due to the age of our teams (the oldest is less than 3 years) as well as most of the teams are made up of 7th and 8th grade students.

We just wrapped up our end-of-season league meeting and we have some exciting news to come out (not yet though) - please stay tuned!

~Coach Jurek

Average for the last meets across the state was actually around 116. You can take a look at my unofficially compiled league rankings here.

If anything, the league that brought down the average was Vermillion-- you can see by sorting by average points that Pepin was squarely in the middle as far as average scores go. Congrats to Atlantis for ranking so highly going into the league qualifier!

Thanks for the information! My quick run through (rudimentary math) led me to my rough numbers.

As for Pepin, Atlantis and Thunder Knights had great final event. I saw both teams today and each are working hard at reiterating their auton and robot. The Slobberbots had major issues with connectivity and a servo - chalk it up to experience on both ends.

This is incredible breakdown. I want to pick your brain on some things (both FRC and FTC). Any chance you will be up in Duluth for the FRC Regionals? We are planning on a FTC showcase there.

~Coach Jurek

Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be making it up-- making it to North Super Regional and Detroit will likely be taking up the majority of my vacation for the spring. Still, I’ll drop you a PM and we can chat!

So far the average OPR improvement in MN FTC from event to event has been fairly stable whether it is from first qualifier to second qualifier (average 19 points), first league to second league (16 points), or second league to third league (15 points).

At this pace the league qualifier tournament will see an average score around 152. The high so far for the qualifiers is 88.4 (Sunday Eden Prairie).

If you project that out and assume the 9 highest OPRs from league play will advance to state, the average OPR for a league play team at state will be roughly 140. The average OPR for a qualifier team will be roughly 90.

Top 10 OPRs so far:
8808 - 150 (Saturday Eden Prairie)
10617 - 141 (3rd Vermillion)
11190 - 120 (3rd Mille Lacs)
11301 - 119 (3rd Mille Lacs)
9890 - 115 (3rd Mille Lacs)
7288 - 108 (Sunday Lakeville)
11488 - 106 (Saturday Eden Prairie)
12586 - 104 (3rd Mille Lacs)
10432 - 103 (Sunday Columbia Heights - has another event)
9078 - 95 - (Sunday Eden Prairie - not qualified for state)

Note - the OPR calculations for Sunday Lakeville omit the 364 point match. I am assuming that score was the result of about 200 penalty points and including it makes the OPR calculations from the whole tournament wonky.

It came in a little below my estimate at 137.3.
Still nearly 50 points more per match than any qualifier so far.

Now that the State Results are out:
I projected the average OPR for qualifier team was going to be roughly 90.
It was 90.

My league play OPR estimate of roughly 140 was based on the top 9 at the time having an average of 102. The 9 teams that actually qualified had an average of 88 going into the league qualifier. If I knew that at the time I would have said roughly 125 at state. They put up an average of 113 at the league qualifier and an average of 112 at state. So the improvement chart seemed to plateau.

So to go back to the original question - I would say from MN team performance this year that 3 league events and a qualifier looks pretty optimal for allowing teams to reach their best performance.

When I was in FTC we had just a qualifier. My team went undefeated all day and in the last match of finals we lost and didnt go to state. We had next to no clue what we were doing or what we were going into. Leagues have provided the students I mentor 3 competitions before the qualifier. The students are learning a lot and are having an incredible time. I really think they are beneficial and will result in sustaining FTC involvement, they also provide more experience for students who choose to move over to FRC. Overall LOVE leagues