Human Player Skills 2019

We are in the process of determining competition roles and that role of human player came up.

In this year’s game (2019), the human player tasks seem relatively simple: put hatches in the slot, drop balls.

Are there any secret skills a human player should possess, or can it be anyone?

We were thinking of having different people do it for different matches so that everybody can get a go at being a part of the game.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks from a rookie team,

There’s a technique to getting the Cargo through the human player station quickly. Granted I haven’t seen an official field yet so I don’t know how it differs from the team version.

We also use our human player to help direct our drivers when they’re lining up. Keeping a consistent drive team has been important for us when it comes to drive team cohesion, communication, and general effectiveness.


Very basically, yes thats really all a human player needs to do. Timing on when to drop stuff out may br the only skill needed. You will realize that there is an extra human player. You can use that human player wherever you want behind the station. They are keep track of score, cycling time, or run pieces in between stations or to the other human players.

Tldr, at a basic level anyone can be a human player.

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^^ This. The drive team must be a team, and that means they need to trust each other. You’ll only have a few real matches for the drive team to really learn the ropes; you can’t afford to have to re-learn lessons. If you want to spread it out, do this at off season events.


I would suggest you keep the same drive team throughout the event, including the human player.


Teams that switch members of their drive team during comps rarely end up high on our pick list. Off-season is the time to let everyone have a shot at being on the field, regional/district time is not.

I feel like technician is a pretty good place to give additional students a chance to get on the field. For us anyway.

Our drive team members are more than capable of troubleshooting any issues that come up with the robot, so we are allowing a few students to take turns as technician to get them closer to the action, without putting us at a disadvantage.

Generally it’s a good idea to keep your entire drive team the same for the entire event. While there might not be anything particularly difficult about the physical tasks, there are a lot of smaller details that go into what makes a human player good, like some of the following:

  • Hustle to get game pieces where they need to go
  • Paying attention to the field at all times, not just your own robot, to make sure that you are ready to load robots
  • Talking to other human players to figure out who is going where, and how to correctly load your robot.
  • Communicating with other human players during the match to make sure you have the game pieces where they need to be.
  • Checking over the robot before matches, making sure that everything is functional before going onto the field (similar role to technician)

@alex26 If you have any questions about competitions, roles, robots, or literally anything, we are literally just down the road from you (4476 in Kingston) and your head mentor has our contact information. We are always eager to help out new teams figure out the ropes on things :slight_smile:

I can echo this. Last year we had 1 too many. Rotations cause delay. Human player A may learn something B doesnt and B may learn something A doesnt. We want both qualities so we just stayed with one in the end. It’s difficult to pass news to others and expect them to know exactly what you mean. One solid group and thats it.

You would be surprised how many times I’ve seen human players that are flat our not paying attention to their job, and don’t realize that they’re supposed to be loading a game piece until a robot smacks into the wall in front of them a few times to get their attention.

So, focus is the skill I’m looking for.



Human players in 2017 know what I’m talking about.


We spent an entire 30 second endgame that year bashing our robot into the airship hoping that one of the the oblivious pilots would notice and drop our rope. They were both standing over their own robots and cheering for them. Every driver on all 3 stations was banging on the wall, every person in the stands was yelling, and we never got our climb. It was the only time we didn’t insist on having our own pilot up there.

Another thing I would say being an experienced Human player. Is to be involved in strategy meetings because you might have valuable insight to certain things.

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Ours was “PRE POPULATED GEAR!” for our last match of the season…

We always pushed for our pilot since he was 11/10 at putting down ropes in time.

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As a former human player in 2017, I can say from experience that good communication with your alliance partners as well as your own drive team is key. The student that is the human player needs to have good communication skills in order to be successful. Also, I would discourage rotating people in and out of the human player position, as consistency is key to achieve good match performance. In our experience, the human player gets better at their job over the course of the event; I therefore would not recommend switching them out.

I think that any student who knows the robot well and is willing to practice with the rest of the drive team and communicate can be human player. In 2017, we had more than 2 people interested in being human players, so we held an “unofficial” tryout but generally speaking anyone can do it, as long as you stick with that human player throughout the season.

We also use the human player position as a “stepping stone” position for students who are interested on being on drive team but cannot necessarily be the driver or operator that given year. We try to recruit students who are either freshmen or sophomores for this position so that they become really good at their jobs or potentially become drivers/operators by the time that they are juniors/seniors. Competition experience really helps.

Hope that helped, good luck this season! :smile:

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They need to be good listeners and quick learners because they will have to work effectively with two other robots in each match, without practice ahead of time.

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