How to be a better Drive Coach

This past offseason I was promoted to Drive Coach on the team. I have since then been to 2 offseason events. I love the position. I was just wondering if I could get some advice as to how to be a better drive coach? The drivers on the team already think I’m great, but me being me, I want to be better. I don’t really have any specific questions here, rather, I’m just seeking “tips and tricks” from either current/past drive coaches, or drivers.

Thank you!
Kaitlyn

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The one thing that I would make sure you practice a lot is communicating with the other drive coaches on your alliance members’ teams both before the match for strategy,and then actually during the match, make sure you communicate with the other drive coaches to know on the fly if strategy is changing within the match. Also, make sure that you can speak in an assertive but calming tone, to get your point across to the drivers but not stress them out too much, as I know from experience that drivers do not always perform as well under stress.

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A common mistake I see is coaches watching THEIR drivers too much. (I fell into that too early on)

When your watching your own robot you’re not watching the time/ other alliance attacks/ or if a teammate is in a bind. Trust your drivers to watch your robot. The two of them can figure that part out while you’re watching the rest of the match.

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Try to be as concise in your instructions as possible while still getting your point across. I’ve had coaches during off-seasons not be very mindful of how long they’re taking to get a single instruction out.

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There are three things every drive coach needs to be successful: effective communication, ability to look at the bigger picture, and preparation. Other people have already gone over the others, so I will focus on the third one.

Preparation is important when going into your strategy meetings. This means going to the meeting knowing the drive station positions for all the teams, having info on the opposing alliance’s abilities as well as your own alliance’s abilities just to name a few things. I find a fair amount of drive coaches don’t know the value of going into strategy meetings prepared since your alliance members should be doing the same. However, for teams who don’t expect to be a captain, showing that you are prepared and know your stuff can make the difference in selections. Sure you can lead your team and the robot works well, but it also shows that you can think for yourself and make solid decisions in the matches.

Go in to strategy meetings with a strategy in mind, but be open to other ideas.

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There are quite a few threads similar to this one on CD. Here’s a few from a very fast search. (Some are mildly aged)





There are definitely many more out there with a few quick searches

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Ask your drivers. Try to get as much feedback as you can about what people thought should be done or mistakes that might have been made or alternative strategies they thought of. Ask other team mates, especially those watching matches.

Set match goals beyond just win-loss. Try to find measurable that you can work to achieve or improve in matches. Strive for your own records and for streaks. These can be little wins when you don’t always win. And when you switch match strategies, switch to different goals. For example, maybe your goal is to score 4 cargo in one match but in another it is to defend your opponent for 20 seconds without them scoring. Celebrate these small victories.

Depending on how your team operates, try to take more control over a drive practice (or maybe a few). Figure out what needs practiced and the best way to work on it.

Work to improve people around you and to help better define your role. I am thinking here about maybe there are places you can improve protocols, for example to involve more people (like scout lead) in giving a pre-match assessment for all your matches, if not done already. Getting that info concisely and systematically will help in developing better strategy.

Watch more matches online, obviously. But it helps to watch in a purposeful manner, because you’ll recall the lessons learned a little better. Like if you decided you wanted to seek instances where robots wasted lots of time to figure out what they may have been trying to do, then we you see that instance you’ll know the scenario better, where looking casually you might notice they haven’t scored for a bit but not really go deeper to figure out why.

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First off, congratulations! I did a lot of drive coaching my Sophomore year, and I know it can be a super rewarding experience. I’ll give you a few tips that have really helped me out.
Talk to other drive coaches. I know that this has helped me exponentially, and I’ve been able to learn so much from those who I’ve worked with and inspired me. As a student drive coach, people didn’t always take me as seriously as I would have hoped, but by talking to other drive coaches and learning from the best, people not only realized that I was serious about this and willing to learn, it also mean that they were more willing to work with me instead of talking at me. Those relationships are super important.

Also, balancing obedience with assertiveness is key for pre-match strategy talks. You don’t want people to think you can’t work well with others, but if you disagree with a strategy, or think that doing something else would allow you to play to your strengths, speak up! No one will know if you don’t say anything, and even if it seems like a silly suggestion in your head, it could get people thinking,

As for behind the glass, being a calming presence is super important. I remember in 2018 when our robot tipped over, I was the only think keeping our operator from throwing his controller across the room. Instead, I told him to pick it up and calmly walked him through the process of utilizing the anti-tip mechanism I had added. It worked, and we got back on our feet to finish the match.

I hope these help, if you ever have any other questions or want to discuss strategy stuff, feel free to shoot me a pm. Good luck!

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In my experience, the most important thing for the drive coach is to focus on the match macro. it’s one less thing for your driver and operator to worry about and leaves them free to execute their tasks in the game.

For example in 2019, the match strategy might be for your team to fill the cargo ship with balls. Your driver and operator need to focus on getting the ball closest to them, getting it in the robot and making it towards the cargo ship.

Your job is to take note of what your partners are doing and what your opponents are doing. If your partners have already filled the left side of the cargo ship and there’s only the far slot open on the right side, you need to tell your drivers that’s the slot they need to score in. If you see that an area on the field is being heavily defended, tell your driver to score in the undefended spot.

If your partner falls during a climb, and you need the points to win, make the call to your drivers to drop the last game piece and come climb instead.

In my opinion, one of the worst things you can do is micromanage your drive team’s actions (e.g which game piece to go get); they know how to work the robot, but they need you to help them do the correct things to win the match.

In short keep track of these things:

Score
Time
Where game pieces have been scored
What’s happening with defense (as needed)
What actions your team can take to help the alliance win

All of these are the big picture (macro) parts of a match that your drivers don’t need to focus on.

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A fun way to practice the art of coaching:
Have two (or more) people play partner mode overcooked and be the the person who orchestrates the operation during the challenges.

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i did this during off season with my drivers. it worked better as a team bonding activity because there was nothing but chaos lol

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I have been a driver for 2 years for my team and one huge thing that marks a great drive coach is the ability to keep you drivers calm. It is extremely easy to tell and fluster your driver’s and that will make them way more likely to make mistakes. Calm them down before and in match to make sure they are thinking the clearest and feel very comfortable as you tell them what to do during the match.

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TL;DR. watch the field not your team, make quick adaptations, keep calm, positive reinforcement.

One of the most important things for a drive coach to do on field is think ahead.
before the match starts you know your general strategy. you know what your alliance partners plan to do. the job your drivers have is execute that strategy and follow your changes.
you commonly have to make changes on field to most efficiently score. so think ahead, what are your alliance partners doing, how complete are scoring elements like the rocket, how much time is left in the match, what is the other alliance doing, things like that. adjust your strategy accordingly.
for example if youre a really good cargo bot but planned to get hatches on one side of the rocket while your partner gets the other side, you can start working on cargo if time is running low and let the other robot get the last two hatches.

you shouldnt be spending a lot of time watching your own team, more watching everything else that is happening and communicating any changes to your drivers. its up to the co driver to point out obstacles on field to the main driver and tell them what game pieces to collect etc.

also encouragement and positive reinforcement. keep yourself calm. its ok to tell your drivers to backup, reset themselves and get focused if theyre struggling with something. once they manage to get it done, give them a “good job, keep it up you got this” and then move on to the next goal.

a lot of crazy things can happen during a match. just keep calm, deal with it one problem at a time, and keep going

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Similarly, if your team is prone to “backseat drivers” it can be helpful to direct all feedback to the drive coach, who can then distill it and share it with the drive team if appropriate. Particularly after a rough match, it really stresses out the drivers to be flooded with people going “BUT WHY DID YOU DO X INSTEAD OF Y???”, and as the drive coach you can take that heat off them a little.

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The thing that improved my drive coaching ability the most was coaching alongside other great drive coaches. I made sure to take some time following coaching with them to take notes on how they handled things both leading up to and during a match. Talking to these coaches after the match and picking their brains about why they made certain decisions was also very helpful.

I would also recommend treating every minute of driver practice you do as coaching practice. Ideally the drive coach is coaching the drive team through driver practice. This helps with improved communication as well as drive team cohesion.

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I could not agree more! It is extremely frustrating.

Have someone record your matches, and review the footage with your drive team afterwards. Doing this every match will help everyone on the drive team improve.

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@Leap THE SCIENCE

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No wonder I like this game so much.

Can do a similar thing with Rocket League / voice chat and a spectator

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Why is it that the games that help drive teams are the ones that arent free? First Rocket League, now Overcooked… :disappointed:

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