Karthik & 1114: Effective FIRST Strategies 2016 - Championship Conference

With the Championships in St. Louis rapidly approaching, I’d like to remind teams of the FIRST Championships Conference which will be taking place. Myself and Team 1114 will once again be delivering our seminar on Effective FIRST Strategies, taking place from 7:00 to 8:30pm on Wednesday evening in the Ferrara Theatre. This year, FIRST has graciously given us 1.5 hours to present on this topic, which will allow us to cover some topics at a much more in depth level than the past, as well as covering some topics specifc to the 2016 season and FIRST Stronghold. Also, since this is the last presentation of the evening, I plan on talking on until security throws us out of the building. :wink: (Seriously though, this year when security asks us to leave, we have to leave. It’s not fair to them!)

In the past, this presentation has always been given in a conference room that got a little bit crowded. However, thanks to the awesome people at FIRST this year’s presentation will once again be taking place in the Ferrera Theatre, located outside of the pits, which seats up to 1500 people. I don’t think we’ll even be close to filling the theatre up, but it’d be awesome if you tried. :slight_smile:

Here are the threads discussing previous editions of this seminar:


Here’s video from the 2013 version of this presentation:

Here’s video of the TEDx talk that was inspired by many of the elements of this presentation:

And the abstract:

This presentation focuses on three major areas, Strategic Design, Match Planning/Execution, and Scouting. Rather than spending time on equations and detailed calculations, the Strategic Design gives a more high-level overview of how to design an FRC robot. This portion of the presentation includes sections on such often neglected strategic design areas such as Game Analysis, Chokehold Strategies, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Task Prioritization, and Tradeoffs using a case studies from past games. The Match Planning/Execution section of the presentation discusses effective habits and strategies that will help lead a team to victory. This is a must for those who enjoy the strategic aspects of FIRST. The Scouting section deals with effective techniques to collect information on your partners/opponents, and how to make the most of this data. Advanced statistical metrics analgous to “Sabremetrics” in baseball will also be discussed. The presentation is filled with entertaining and insightful historical FIRST anecdotes from the past 18 years. With the information in this presentation, you can turn your team from a mere competitor to a perennial powerhouse!

If there are any topics you’d like to discussed in detail, or questions you’d like answered, post them here and we’ll be happy to address them during the presentation. One of my favourite parts of this presentation is the interactive nature of the whole thing. If you’re looking for a straight lecture on all the topics, I suggest you watch the webinars we did this fall as part of the Simbot Seminar Series. The Championship edition varies in that the presentation contains more anecdotes and stories from the past, as well lots of live feedback from the audience.

Oh yeah, I guess we’ll talk about what terrified me back during build season and how that played out throughout this season…

If you’re really into FIRST strategy, looking for personal inspiration, or just want some good FIRST related laughs, this is a presentation you won’t want to miss.

For information please visit the following link:

I hope to see all of you there!

Oh yeah, I guess we’ll talk about what terrified me back during build season and how that played out throughout this season…

Would love to see a webcast of this on gameday… just saying…

I believe it is recorded every year not sure about streamed. If it isnt streamed I am willing to do it all I need is internet however I have no clue whether I am allowed or whether FIRST already does it.

Regardless I will be in attendance.

Can’t wait!

Unfortunately I won’t be flying in until late Wednesday night due to finals, so I’ll be missing it again. A recording would be much appreciated!


One element of your strategic presentation discusses using a single manipulator with an additional element to complete two game tasks versus the use of dual manipulators. (Multi-functionality, consolidation).

For the 3548 robot, and others, we modified our front ball. intake to add wheels that are used to raise the portculllis. The simple addition of 4 inch AM white wheels allows us to raise the portcullis in both teleOp and Auton. Other robots may have needed to add more complicated end effectors to raise the portcullis during teleOP and struggled to perform well during Autonomous period.

I think Karthik’s presentation uses a much older example for this function and can be updated for this years game, Stronghold

^ We built a single ball manipulator too and were very pleased that it could pull triple-duty as the cheval de frise and portcullis manipulators. Whether or not this was intended from day 1 will remain undisclosed.

In any case, I had the pleasure of attending this seminar last year and it was EXCELLENT. If your team is going to Championship, bring your whole team to this presentation.

If someone gets me a stream, I will make that happen

I really hope that someone records the presentation, especially this year with all the unique strategies of Stronghold.

I haven’t been able to make it in the past due to volunteer commitments and it’ll be the same this year, but I still really want to see it.

This is one of the best sessions in the conference system at CMP every year. Highly recommend! 1923 brought the whole team last year, and every single one of us came out of it learning something new. Absolutely fantastic.

Throwing my vote in for recording/streaming as well. It’d be wonderful to have in the archives.

I’m half tempted to fly to St. Louis with a 4K camcorder and record it myself :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi marccenter,

Although I’ve never watched one of Karthik’s presentations I have heard about them!

I think that putting in the example that you generously provided about your own team’s experience would help the audience lock onto the topic at hand. Do you have any video of this mechanism in action? I tried searching thebluealliance for it but had a bit of a tough time finding this device opening the Portcullis.

Again, always love to see how engaged people are! I’ll be riveted to my screen later tonight when I get around to watching one of Karthik’s old videos (These are posted on Youtube, right?).

Best Regards,


It’d be a great boost to the first community for you to host a workshop on fastening methods.

What do you think?

I can’t wait to miss this when we decide to attempt a rebuild at champs again!!! :frowning:

We’ll get people there.

Hi AdamHeard,

While I would like to share my knowledge of fastening methods with the community there are two issues with me doing one of these workshops.

  1. I have never actually been on a FIRST team! I’m sure there are a number of intricacies that I haven’t considered.
  2. Although I’m trying to make my way out to World Championships I don’t know if I can take the time off to make the drive!

Another issue (Issue “C” - as it’s not part of my main list I like to change from numbers to letters, helps me remember that I sorta changed pace!) is that a talk on fasteners can’t really just be on fasteners! Fasteners are just the glue (or rivets!) that hold everything together! I wouldn’t know where to begin there’s so much material to tie together (No pun intended).

Thank you for the request though AdamHeard! I had no idea that the community would be so interested in what I know, consider me flattered!

Best Regards,

With the possibility of my school bringing back the team, I’m definitely looking forward to this!

If one of the fields goes into sheer chaos and massive riots due to a missing field queuer, you’ll know why. :smiley:

Topic of interest:
How did Tower Capture influence strategy decisions related to the choice of high cycles vs high points?
My interest is related to a medium resource team. We chose to go with high cycles into the low goal (>6) rather than low cycles into the high goal (<=3) to increase chances at tower capture. I’m not sure this was a good strategy for our team.

In 2013, I had no real idea as to what division I wanted to focus my efforts on, but basically due to this conference and seeing how it affected a team’s performance, I was inspired to dedicate my time to my team’s Strategy division, and I’ve never regretted it.

I highly recommend going to this conference, as it will definitely improve the performance of your team at competition, no matter what kind of robot you’re competing with.

I agree with Jacob. I will be inspecting robots during the presentation, but would otherwise love to attend. We need a recording posted soon after the event!

Can I add a requirement to this? Can we please get decent audio? The last recorded one was using the mic on the camera, which was decipherable but also awful -and does Karthik’s presentation no justice. It would be awesome if someone recorded the audio off Karthik’s mike and synced it up to the video in post. I’ll even sync the audio/video if someone gets them to me.