Climbing is make or break in Infinite Recharge, especially in early events as teams continue to get their shots dialed in. Climbing is also TOUGH. Climbing on the rigid horizontal bar one time in the shop is very different from proving it on the field, and while most teams have a mechanism that is theoretically capable of climbing, few are proving consistent climbing on the field. As a drive coach, one of my favorite things to do was prep my drive teams in the worst case scenario to prep them for messy situations on the field and how to do it. Here are my tips on successful drive practice considerations to prepare you for climbing on the real field. I’d love to see your videos, thoughts, questions, and tips as well!
I’m going to assume you’ve proven your climber works. You probably had to line it up perfectly by hand, and almost certainly took a few tries to do it. First things first, prove that with the real drive base, and drivers’ hands on joysticks, they can climb up the bar. Do it a TON. Then do it again. Then do it a couple more times, Get that familiarity with a simple bar, and if you have access to one that articulates, practice the solo center climb sequence over and over again.
Once you can do it from closeby, simulate what it’s like on the field. If you have a practice field, go to the driver station. If you don’t, go the proper distance away, turn your bar to the correct angle, and simulate the visual impediments. Start from random places on the field. Wherever you usually shoot. The control panel. The HP station. Time it. However long it takes you to get from anywhere on the field to the bar is now a drop-dead time. Regardless of if you have 2 balls left you’re about to shoot, or one more revolution on the control panel, drop what you’re doing and climb. Run your shooting/intaking/control panel drive practices and throw in a couple "screw it, climb"s in there to surprise your drivers, their eyes are on the robot and field, but the coach is watching the clock. Climb from anywhere on the field. Do it a ton. Then do it again. Then do it a couple more times. Get familiar with the process of lining up to the bar at the weird angle with weird sightlines. It’s not that hard, but you’ve got to iron it out.
Add in the rendezvous point bars. It seems like a no-brainer, but lots of teams are getting tripped up. Just cause you can climb that one time in your shop, does not mean you can do it on the real field. Practice (with the above steps in mind) but keep running the drill with the rendezvous point bars on the ground. Do it a ton. Then do it again. Then do it a couple more times. Debrief with your drive teams about best practices. Those bars will be there every time you go in to climb. You all got em in the KOP. Practice like you play.
If you’ve done this, you’re probably capable of climbing sometimes on the real field. Keep practicing that, but things will certainly go wrong. Watch matches and see where teams are getting tripped up. Simulate those in your practices. What if there are twenty balls in the rendezvous point? Maybe you think the bot will just push them, but maybe not if it just popped a wheelie on the floor bars. Practice what you’ll do if a partner has already climbed on the other side. Practice what you’ll do if a partner has already climbed on the middle. Practice telling your partner not to park because the 5 points they get will inevitably ruin your balanced climb points and RP. Seriously, don’t park in the way of climbs. Please. Practice what you’ll do if partners have already climbed on a side and in the middle. Practice what you’ll do if there’s a dead robot in the rendezvous point. Practice what you’ll do if a dopey partner clearly won’t pull off their climb. Practice what you’ll do if you/partner missed the climb and the bar is rapidly shifting from side to side. Practice what you’ll do if an opposing team is legally (or illegally, frankly) defending your climb or drive to the bar. Figure out what could trip up your climb or get in the way of its success. Try everything. Then practice in those conditions over and over again until they’re solved problems. Surprise your drivers in ways that will prepare them for the same obstacles on the field, but get them thinking quickly when other surprises arise.
Climb. So many times. and get as close to the real field as possible. Over and over again, every simulated match, Keep on climbing. Missing a climb will cost matches and events this season. It’s not that hard, but you’ve gotta prep for the worst. Too many missed climbs week 1.
How are you practicing climbing in your shop? What issues have prevented you from climbing in practice or on the field? What are your best practices in terms of drive practice for endgame?