How Are You All Conducting Team Training/Evaluation for Next Year

So obviously with the advent of COVID 19, the usual rhythm for FRC teams has been disturbed.
With my team in particular, we like to train newcomers over the summer and then have tryouts in like October.
We can still do this quite well for the coding team (Zoom etc) but for the mechanical team (excluding CAD), I have no idea how to go about it.
So I’m asking the CD community to share what there teams might do (if you want to) so that I have a few ideas on how to go about fixing my issues.

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We don’t have team tryouts. The people who want to participate will put in the time, and that has been our belief since our founding. Unless your team has more members than you can reasonably support, I don’t see a benefit to doing them, especially in this COVID time period.


For us, it’s definitely going to be a problem. During the fall months of the 2019, we already planned on folding after we finished the 2020 season. The underclassmen students didn’t want to continue after the seniors graduated. The commitment slowly reduced throughout so we didn’t bother to pass more knowledge that they dont want to know. The drive team is 100% seniors. The student that knows how to operate the essentials of the robot is graduating. Afaik, no one has a personal windows laptop to practice with a driver station. We are basically screwed :grimacing:.

Just realized that OP wanted something i didnt cover- We never do tryouts. You want it, you learn it. You learn it, and you basically get it (we are quite a small team so anyone that steps up to something, has a high rate of success given that they commit to it).


Yah I wish we didn’t do tryouts but there’s way too many kids who want to join our team so tryouts are necessary so that we can have a manageable team size.

Could just make it a lottery or a short essay. Interviews make sense to me, tryouts much less so. I don’t know who I would trust to create a useable tryout for something like FRC.


This year was the only year where we had to turn down interested students (who would also be their first year) due to faculty limitation (1).

Maybe if the team mentors could design a test, provide the resources for the interested? Kinda like a game manual test except it’s a pre-FRC team (which would be customized to your team). This was an idea that was brought up but was shot down as the argument was somewheres along the lines of “Is that student a senior? If yes, they had all the years before that they could sign up but they didn’t. We’re not sacrificing our last build season to have to pick up after them just so they can have a stacked resume (there’s history behind this).” It definitely wasnt fair to the senior but it also wasn’t the team’s goals to outreach anymore.

There was also the scenario where we let it slide when a sophomore was medically excused from athletics after an injury. He actively built with us when he wasn’t at his practices, and worked 3 times as hard as anybody else. It was around week 3 that he officially became part of the team.

Very much agreed. A lottery seems to me to be much more consonant with the ideals of FIRST than tryouts.

We don’t do tryouts. We’ll be far more concerned about recruitment and offering meaningful programming for the fall and into the spring in the potential absence of physical meetings and a competition season.

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What skills do you formally tryout? Even if I did tryouts, I can’t even think of the types of skills that I could only do in-person.

Teams will probably have much more trouble with recruitment and retention than identifying their most technically skilled candidates.

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How do you train new students over the summer? How do you pre-identify students prior to them actually being freshman at your school?

It sounds like you have a great program. Having too many students signing up is a good problem to have (despite it still being a problem).

I don’t know what your limiting factors are, but if you do have so many students, consider if all of the fee’s from the students you end up denying, and see if they might be able to support a second team. I’ve always believed that as an FRC team, we have the responsibility to educate every student we possibly can.

Sorry allow me to clarify what I mean by tryout.
Essentially what we do over the summer is train the kids on using different tools, we educate them about the mechanical parts of the robot and then we have them work in groups to design and create mechanisms for a potential robot.

This takes all of summer and most of September and then after we have a google form which asks questions such as what did you learn and why do you want to be on the team etc.

The mentors then sit down with the team leads and go through these and in then we take sort of a holistic approach into picking who we think would fit the team best. We include things like attendance, work ethic, ability to work with others etc.

I agree it’s not the best method and I would love to accept everyone but with the limited space and funds we have, it’s not feasible for us.

A second team would be far too much unfortunately. The reason we have issues with too many people trying out is that we don’t quite have the support from our school district that’s required for a district of our size. We’re also unable to move to a community team because we don’t have a place to meet outside of the school.

I’d describe that as more of a training/evaluation period. We do something similar but in the fall.

We’re still figuring that out ourselves (though we don’t do any weeding out). There’s a lot that will depend on the school district, I think.

Like other smaller/newer teams we don’t have tryouts either. Last summer we did have a “camp” of sorts for middle school kids with interest and picked a few who were ready to come on as 8th graders. That was a mix of interest, enthusiasm and parental buy in. Don’t forget that last one. And a couple who were not ready a year ago should turn up this season.

If we were in the situation of having more recruits than possible “job openings” it would be an interesting situation. I guess a test could be cooked up.

  • A basic section for all that reviewed team/school rules, athletic code stuff etc.

  • several “modules”. Each prospect picks one. A few random thoughts

    • a quick game analysis. Here’s some rules, where should we emphasize design?
    • write, or opt to do verbally, a pitch to a potential sponsor, the school board etc.
    • multiple choice test…do they know amps from aardvaarks?
  • Or perhaps make it really simple. A single blank page with one long empty line and
    one short one. “Why do you want to do FIRST?” and if we told you it would be X
    amount of hours per week in build season, what would you say?"

It’s a problem we’d love and hate to have, too many eager recruits.


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Our minimum requirements for all potential members (new AND returning) is to complete at least 1 weeklong summer “camp” (CAD, graphics, programming, etc) and to participate in at least 1 summer outreach event (county fair, sponsor visit, etc) and then write a paragraph on why you want to be on the team. We’re about as big as we can be given our space/resources/mentors so we’re starting an FTC team so that everyone can have an opportunity.

In the interest of keeping this thread on a more relevant topic, perhaps the title would be better phrased as “If your team normally does tryouts/interviews, how are you planning on adjusting during covid?”

There have been many many topics previously that discuss the pros and cons of tryouts/interviews, that doesn’t need to be hashed out again here. I would wager that teams that did not previously have something along these lines are not going to add it this year.

Good idea. Updated it

What kind of ratio of accepted students to applied students do you guys have?

Given you guys have the technology ability, I think your best bet might be to set up interviews of each potential candidate. This has the advantage of giveing a fair chance to each student and will likely help to get a good idea of what kinda of person they are. Downsides would be that it might discourage applicants, but if numbers aren’t an issue than I suppose its not a concern.

I’d be careful to keep these pretty informal and low key, as interviews can be very intimating (especially for younger members). Keep it short, and get the information that’s potentate. This also has the added benefit of helping ready your members for the real world.


Last year we accepted about 20/30 kids and cut 6 but that pushed the team to its limit in team size. We only have 6 seniors leaving this year so a very small space is open.

Hers what 1745 has so far.

  1. Wait for the school board to announce the operating model(s) for the 2020-21 school year and the start of class date(s).

Any discussion of recruitment plans, team selection choice, part ordering, shop updates, competition registration, etc can’t really start until we know what/how/when/where our students will be available next year.