Lack of passion in scouting


I just got home from the first day of GLR, and after meeting quite a few scouts, I have noticed a general correlation.

Most of the scouts I talk to seem to have no passion whatsoever towards the game, their team, scouting, or FIRST in general. Why?

Today, I had a scout ask me if we had a ringer. I guessed that he meant to ask if our robot could hang ringers, but when I asked to make sure, he replied with a hesitant “I guess…”. This person did not even know what every entry on the scouting sheet meant!

So here’s the reason for my post: teams, please make sure your scouts are educated about the game, and that they care. Don’t assign scouting just because the freshmen have nothing to do. Don’t assign scouting just as a punishment.
Scouts, please, put a little passion into your work! I love to talk to people who are excited and truly interested in the robots and the teams, but it is IMHO a waste of both your time and my time if you are just filling out a list of 1-5s on a scouting sheet. Those 1-5s don’t reflect truly on anyone’s robot or performance. Don’t mumble; don’t give me "I…guess…"s. Be confident! You have a very important job–make friends and get to know people! Don’t muck it up because you have to fill out “all those stupid scouting forms”–that’s not what it’s about.

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here; scouts on CD are probably very dedicated and this post probably doesn’t apply, but I just thought I’d post this here.

Just my 2 cents that I figured I should share

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I don’t really have much say in this yet since I haven’t attended my regional yet, but I know we’ve been trying to better the scouting process. I started a collective spreadsheet online that all teams can modify and check out. This’ll give people a good view of all the bots before even going. This’ll help out rookie teams especially too, teams who are too small to spare a scouting team or too inexperienced. It’s only set up for philly so far, but I think it’s a good idea for the future.


i know exactly what you mean!
at BAE i had a pair of scouts questioning me about our robot. they relied soley on a sheet for questions, and when the robot did not fit the limited descriptions on the sheet they drew complete blanks… they walk up to the pit [with the robot in plain view] and ask “do you have bumpers?”

PLEASE teach your scouts whats going on, otherwise theyre next to useless…
and if your just trying to assign busywork, have them do something that wont disturb the serious participants more than nessicary


I have yet to go to a regional as well, but am trying my best to get everyone pumped up about it, so hopefully my scouts will have an idea on whats going on and will be interested in learning about everyones robots

“The beatings will continue until moral improves.”

A motto I live by. It seems kids don’t mind sharing the work as long as the scouter shares the load (there are lots of teams and not many opportunities). The faster you get through the initial scouting, the smoother things tend to run.

Lol our team has like 40 people and nobody scouts like at all

Inspired by uninspired scouting, a few of my comrades are going to be scouting in Atlanta. We’ve already got the pre-2007 robot battery plus 12V inverter mobile outlet set up in a backpack, ready to power a laptop for hours. This should be interesting, because the last time we set it up, someone plugged in speakers and blasted Hammer Time at full volume and ran around the shop.

well… i sign up for scouting every year. i watch robots, every year. i watch so many robots that i need not even ask questions. scouting is wat i do for fun. so if u ever see team 343, u have me. and ill probably scout, unless one day im on the drive team, but ill still scout anyway.

so yeah, after 8 years of scouting (since ive done it since i was 7), i sort of no the ropes of scouting. our next competition is in three weeks, and ive already started to devise our gameplan.

i hope that this is passion enough, b/c this is how i roll :D.

and hey, 845, i want to no wat ur robot looks like. post some pixs on the palmetto robot threads.

im making a spreadsheet of scouting data aas we speak, and i look on here, these kids just leave stuff off, plus listen to this

What should be put there

Robot speed: 12ft/sec.

What the kid put down

Robot Speed: Very Fast

Im going to explain to these kids how important scouting is in a regional, and how it can be sued. then im going to give them their papers back adn tell them to bring tese back filled out CORRECTLY

I have heard alot of stories about a lack of passion this season.
Must be an epidemic.

Not me. I scout and handle strategy on our team by choice. It’s a combination if being excited and seeing how other teams did and what they did, and a “know thy enemy” factor - you can’t coach on the field if you don’t know what you’re going against.

This thread is the reason I made sure everyone on 1155 watch matches, even if they had other things to do, in order to get basic fundementals about the game.

haha, i was hoping that it wasnt that bad. if u ever see me, i wont do that to u. i promise.

Over the past four years - and often being the one of the only students on our team that understands every single subsystem on our robot inside-and-out - I’ve talked to a lot of scouts. And the issue with many of them is not always that they do not know what they are doing, but many times it’s that they are shy and introverted. To them, being a “people person” can be quite hard! :yikes:

So don’t bash someone just because they are shy and don’t show spirit while scouting. Instead work with them, be friendly, and make them feel better about what they are doing. Be helpful and anticipate their questions. If they are asking about your drivetrain, elaborate on it - but without going too far into petty details, and you may answer some of their additional questions.

When you are helping scouts, you are the voice of your team, so be truthful, succinct, sociable. If the scouts feel more at ease, then everyone wins. :wink:

You may think that scouting is a commonplace term within a robotics team. But years ago, scouting wasn’t all that big of a deal. With only a few hundred teams across the country, you knew exactly who did what, how they did it, and when they were going to do it. Now, maybe my memory is going as I get older, but I think it has to do more with the fact that there are MANY more teams now, and the regionals keep getting bigger and bigger. Teams SHOULD have a scouting group, and a knowledgable one at that. But, it still hasn’t found its way into every program.

Please, it’s better to educate than to ridicule. If you know more about their scouting sheet then they do, take a minute to explain what 6wd or 2x12" means. In the end, it’ll help both of you out…

I am MORE than happy when other students come to look at and learn about our robot. I bring them over and have them stand right in front of the robot. Now, saying that, I do have to laugh at scouts who ask the most basic questions about our robot, when all they have to do is look at it. Particularly ones like:
“Does your robot have an arm?”
“How many wheels does your robot have?”
“How high do your ramps lift?” [we have no ramps…]


no, im referring to the kid writing that down WITHOUT asking the team. btw:
thanks, and nice job at VCU, i was rooting for you guys (we teamed up at palmetto in 04 and at Florida in 05)

im still doing that spreadsheet, here is another funny one

Number of wheels: ? or left blank,

thats how it is on at least half of them.

The real advice here would be to either get rid of the sheets, make the sheets much more open-ended, or put a lot more detail into the sheets. Then you may need to educate your scouters.

“How many wheels”. Well, our robot has a total of 8 wheels. 6 of them touch the ground. 4 of them drive. Which statistic do you want? Also, those 4 that drive are in pairs, right next to each other, rather than front to back. Most of the time, that’s called 2-wheel. See the problem?

There are 2 ways to fix this question on a scouting sheet:

Ask an open ended question, such as “Describe the drivetrain.”
Ours would be “Tank drive, 2 CIMs per side with AM Gen 2 shifters, each driving a pair of IFI traction wheels in the back. Casters in the front.”

Ask specific questions.
What kind of drivetrain is it? Swerve/Mecanum/Omni/Tank/Other (describe)
How many drive wheels?
What kind of drive wheels?
What kind of transmissions?
What kind, and how many motors per drive wheel?
What kind of casters, if any?

Tank, 2 pairs of 2, IFI traction wheels, AM gen2, 2 CIMs, 2" ball casters.

Now, that sort of information provides a lot more than ‘6 wheels’ or ‘9 wheels’

If you get rid of the sheets entirely and let the (presumably knowledgeable) scouts write what they think is important, they’ll provide information that doesn’t fit on those sheets. How many of your sheets provide a question that would handle our (imho) innovative kicker wheel?

my sittuation is not too much different than yours

sure some kids did the intial interviews with all the teams

but afterwards nothing, not match by match progress.

however that is where our similar situations end

in my point of view scouting in this game is not even of any importance.
i say this because of the messed up algorithm for matches that they used this year. we saw the same teams over and over again, so much that i decided that one person(me) could do all of the scouting.

i mean just by talking to the teams 30 min before the match was enough info to see where and when the robot does what and how often they do it.

and it all worked out very well i predicted what each team was going to do every match we were in, i even predicted the scores for all of the matches with an margin of error close to 5%

Our team is beginning a program for scouting this year where we only go to the pits of teams that we have seen perform well during matches. We then get a lot of detail on the top 12 or so, which are all the teams that our field crew looks at. This method saves time, effort, and ear pain of hearing teams talk about things their robot “can” do, and yet has never done on the field.

Most of the data that we use to pick teams comes straight from watching matches, where opinions mean nothing.

well thats all good but will that strategy work for teams that may just need a
defensive alliance partner in order to score alot of points.

i know that was the case for a couple of teams we played with and against

a team that scored only 2-3 ringers in a match would not be considered a great team(but they were blocked the whole match), with a decent defensive alliance partner they can score 7-8 in a row.

not criticising your strategy or anything im just saying watch out for those teams, there will be quite a few of them out there. I saw 3 here in NJ already