How do I help my team understand why we weren't picked?


Is it appropriate to contact the alliance captains who didn’t pick your team to ask for the insights as to why you were passed over? We are curious as to learning what other teams are looking for, and what we may be missing from the bigger picture.


I would think so! Pick lists are really touchy subjects before alliance selection, but I expect most teams would happily share the reasons for their ordering and the stats / impressions they collected on your team vs others after the event.


Generally, if i do this, I do it at earlier events in the season. I can’t think of anyone who won’t tell you what you need to do to improve especially if it will help you. Try to phrase it as more of a “What would you have liked to see from us?” instead of a “Why didn’t you pick us?” though.


It can’t hurt to ask, especially if you had one alliance captain that you spoke with specifically. You may get something back like you were on our list but a team we really liked was still available.

It definitely hurts not being picked when your team feels like they should have been. We are in the same position this year and last year so we try to figure it out from other team’s perspectives. Last year I believe we weren’t picked because of mecanum wheels. This year I think we were right on the edge but didn’t get picked because we lacked a consistent scale / multi cube auto.

So go for it, not knowing is definitely worse.


Sometimes you are in deep divisions.

These teams did not make alliance selection on Turing:
4984, 3218 , 2059 , 5584, 4146, 360, 5986, 5417, 568

They would have made an alliance in most of the divisions but Turing was really deep.


I would think it is appropriate to ask. I would definitely share our scouting data on you.

That being said, you’ll need to understand that there may (or may not) be some harsh criticism that you may not like to hear. These will probably be the areas of improvement.

Sometimes, it is as simple as your robot does not align with their strategy, sometimes it’s because of some action/inaction on the field. These are generally easily fixable. Other things like not working well with other teams are a bit more difficult

These are generalities, and not specific to your, or any other, team.


If your team is willing to be brutally honest with itself and is willing to make some (possibly large) changes, ask the alliance captains or mentors or senior team members of any elite teams you happen to meet what they look for when picking teams. The most common non-game specific answer I heard has been “consistent performance”. Then go do what Ryan suggested earlier and make a plan to improve.

It would probably help to go watch (and study) one of the several versions of Kartik’s “Simbotics Strategic Design” seminars posted on YouTube.


It is certainly worth asking the question and the advice already posted is excellent guidance in this regard.

Congratulations on a very successful season. Your team accomplished a great deal for a rookie team, and should be very proud. We had a similar situation our rookie year. We qualified (on points in addition to our Rookie All Star win) for our State Championship and in our eyes performed well enough to be chosen during alliance selection, yet were not. We also qualified for Championship and felt we would be chosen for an alliance, but were not.

You’re doing the right thing by asking questions about what you can do to improve your chances of being selected. Keep up this pursuit of continuous improvement and I’m sure we will see the results in the coming years.


Particularly in the case of 2nd picks and 3rd picks sometimes the gap between different robots can be so small that it can be difficult to differentiate.

Particularly in years like 2017 where everyone is fairly competent at the game you can end up with a whole list of robots who preform nearly the same. This is where smaller things like robot reliability, drive team competency, bumper quality, etc can come into play. Sometimes teams will just choose whoever they know best.

I know my old team was pretty crushed when they weren’t picked at ONDCMP in 2017. At champs that year they were one climb away from getting on Einstein. I don’t really blame anyone for not picking them but they probably would’ve done just about the same as any other 2nd pick. In hindsight they should’ve spent more time gear cycling rather than shooting just to look good in scouting data.

While this may be surprising to some there are also a ton of alliance captains even at champs who don’t scout. It may be that they didn’t expect to be an alliance captain or they may come from an area where they are so far ahead of the rest of the competition that they just pick their friends and don’t really need to scout. I’ve even seen alliance captains at IRI who don’t scout just because it’s an offseason. Great teams can be really weird sometimes.


I could make a list, but we have only been an alliance captain once at worlds. So I will refer you to the legendary Team 148 JVN Blog.


Last year after ONDCMP we asked one of the powerhouse teams if they would share their scouting data on us, and if they had any suggestions for what they would have liked to see. Their data was correct, and their advice was sound. It is never fun to swallow your pride, but it is also important to see what other teams are seeing. Among the feedback we received was that we should work on building robust intakes and, whether through mechanism design or drive practice, avoid dropping game pieces especially when trying to feed them from human stations.