[FTC]: Two-Teams, One Qualified for Regionals, One Did Not...

Hi Everyone

I have two FTC Teams (8811 and 9256) in my Robotics Program here at school. Each team has a roster of 10 students registered in TIMS. Last weekend 8811 qualified for our Regionals but 9256 did not The Regionals are local so both teams are able to travel to the event. My questions concern managing my team’s rosters as we move forward and I am looking for advice from coaches who have experience with managing this issue.

  1. Can I legally change rosters at this point?
  2. Should I change rosters and take a few kids off 8811 who aren’t contributing/attending as much as some kids on 9256? If so, what is the best way to handle that?
  3. How much and what type of assistance/help here at school can the 9256 kids contribute to the 8811 effort?
  4. How much and what type of assistance/help at Regionals can the 9256 kids contribute to 8811’s participation at Regionals?

Friedrich Elliott
Head Coach, Robo Bison
Sunset High School
Dallas, TX

  1. Legally I don’t think there’s anything preventing you from changing rosters at any point. Morally…is another question.
  2. Depends on the teams and the students. Will the kids on 9256 actually contribute? Can they contribute? Do all the 8811 kids get along really well? Would the 8811 kids that get removed be completely demotivated? Often going to the next level of competition can trigger motivation.
  3. Any amount. In fact, I highly encourage them to help their fellow team. Of course, the limit is to not do it themselves but to rather work with the 8811 students. Perhaps you can have a grand double team brainstorming session where the 9256 kids can present some ideas and suggestions to 8811.
  4. Same as #3, as long as they aren’t doing it themselves and are kind of in a more “mentor”-like role that would be the best. I think this is a great opportunity to train some of the 9256 students to develop some mentor skills (which can help to mentor other rookie teams).

It depends on what you envision the program as. Do you see the two teams as separate entities, where they work together occasionally but are primarily individualistic? OR do you see the two teams as one team, just that you get to build 2 robots, and students can interchange constantly between the two teams?

I’ve never coached two teams so I can’t say what I would choose, but some trial and error would be my way of determining things.

I will say, that for judging purposes it’s more favorable to see two separate entities. For example, having one engineering notebook for two teams is probably not a good thing.

I am currently running two teams at my school. Unlike you though, I’m thankfully not in the dilemma your in, but I would like to at least explain how we run ours.

Both of my teams have qualified, one hosting an event, and the other qualifying this past weekend. We run our teams as pretty much one team. 2 Numbers, 2 Robots, 2 engineering books. That being said, we do not change our TIMS at all, (other than a kid leaving the team completely). Reason for this has already brought up by popnbrown. I have seen in the past, kids get motivated after having an event, and advancing. I have had kids some, to very little work on the robot, until after they experience their first event. I would not take any kids off of the TIMS system.

Im going to go a little off track, but I think hearing this may help you out.

With running our teams like one team from the beginning, it allows us to keep the “separation effect”, or “sophomore curse” as we call it, away. After the first year of students, we have seen some of them become obliged to develop an attitude to another team. With the new way of running this year, we have nipped this in the butt right as it begins. It also helps that our teams are run as a class as well, with a dedicated teacher, meaning that detentions can be involved. The reason I do into this, is you do not want to create any tension between the kids, or the parents for that fact, between the two teams. It can sneak up on you in the long run if you were to kick kids off the team today.

With that being said, we encourage the other team, even if they aren’t competing in that qualifier/regional/meet/etc. to come to the event and help out in any way they can. Whether it be scouting, programming, helping other teams, or helping run an event. It helps spread your teams name, and helps you out in the long run… having 20 kids running around in your teams shirts really helps… haha, compared to having 3-5 kids like some teams I have seen in the past.

The nice thing about running two teams really comes into play when it comes to scouting. The more people you have, the easier it is to walk around the pits asking questions, as well as having enough students in the stands, scouting each match out. We have created a system for the past three years that works out really well.

Another thing to look at now, it “off-season” builds. Work with the team, and if you have money that you can spend, look into making different drive bases, or experiment with different ways of building. It can help you out in the next season. The building doesn’t have to be over, you can continue.

So to answer your questions, in short, the way I see it:

  1. Don’t think so.
  2. I wouldn’t remove anyone, see above.
  3. A lot, whether it be programming, scouting, or outreach.
  4. Quite a bit, see above.

Hope this helps you.