[NEW TEAM] What to do during pre-season for rookies

Hello! I’m the leader of a new team from Japan, Team 5701. We’re finally registered for Hawaii Regionals (getting excited!). We haven’t got enough sponsors though, still working on it.

As for students’ skills, most of team members are not that skilled in robotics but they’re eager to learn new things. So I thought we need to study a lot during pre-season. Yesterday and today, we had meetings where we had our mentors teach us some basics about electricals and mechanicals. We’re planning to build a small robot during December too (a robot that can pick up balls and shoot). Is this enough? I don’t know what to expect for 2015 season, so I’m a little worried.


Hey, I’m hoping you can provide some more information, so I can try and get you some help, if needed, in certain fields. I’ll also provide some links if you want to check them out, I’ve found all of them very helpful. Please don’t hesitate to pm me with questions.

  1. Do you have a set of STABLE mentors?

  2. Are you’re parents (you’re as in the parents of kids in general) working with your team? This is a HUGE resource most miss.

  3. Are you currently planning out your first choice picks?

  4. How many kids are on your team?

  5. Do you have a suitable business team set up? This team can be hard to get set up, but tend to retain members (at least, in my experience) pretty well.

  6. Have you done any practice for the 2015 control system? Most items should be the same, but it’ll be good to look over wiring diagrams and the like.

  7. Have you practiced at all with CAD?

Here’s some useful (IMO) links:
Design http://www.team610.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Design-TutorialsRev10.pdf

Tips for team organization: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALASWt2uDqw

Efficiently Designing during build season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ysSvxR-tAs

Finally, DON’T forget to have fun! (plus: don’t forget to scout)

I’d recommend having the team members watch some of the past game animations and then watching a few matches from regional competitions those seasons. Then maybe watch some of the Robot in 3 days videos in order to see simple but effective design and build processes.

Game Animations

Match Archive

Robot in 3 Days

Congratulations! I wish you a lot of luck in your first season.

There are four main tasks your team must be good at during build season:

  1. Robot design
  2. Robot building
  3. Teamwork
  4. Reading

The **design **process is simple enough, and well-documented, but please be sure the students understand it. See below…

**Robot building **has many elements, from metal-working (drilling, cutting, smoothing sharp edges) to electrical (wiring, mounting components) and, very important, programming. Learn about these and practice them with your ball-shooting robot. (There are many other tasks, but I think you can find most of them to practice. Building a small robot is a good idea). Also see reading, below.

**Teamwork **means working together, just like a baseball team. Each position has a part to play, some (like the pitcher) seem more important but they are all equally important to success. Beware, some teams struggle with this.

Reading might see like a dumb task - every school student can read! - but you would be surprised how many do not read what they should. Be certain each student takes time to read each of these: The RULES (which are delivered at kickoff). This is absolutely the most important thing!!. Then, read the many resources available on www.usfirst.org, with diagrams showing how to wire a robot, and many other things. Then read the LabView web site which explains how to use labview to program your robot (there are other sites too), and of course ChiefDelphi, which has the answer to every question ever asked, right here.

Robot design: First, learn The Game, and develop a Strategy to Win The Game. Determine the Robot Capabilities required to perform the Strategy, and rank these in order of importance*. Then identify Mechanisms that can deliver the Capabilities, and select those you can build with your resources. Finally, design those mechanisms, build them, and assemble them into a Robot.

*For example: 1. Able to move on the field. 2. Able to get a ball from a human player. 3. Able to shoot a ball 8 feet in the air from 10 feet away. 4. Able to get a ball from the ground. 5. Able to detect the “hot goal”. (and so on).
The priority helps when you run out of time: You stop all efforts on low priorities until the high priorities are complete. You can see how 1. is more important than 4. and 5.

Also, ask any questions here on Chief Delphi, we are very happy to help!

Keep an eye on this thread - there’s some great stuff in there.

As for general stuff, I think the people who have already posted in this thread have most of it covered. I’d just stress the whole ‘not biting off more than you can chew’ thing during build season - don’t shoot for the moon, but instead go for a well-built robot that leaves you some time at the end of build season for drive practice.

Your suggestion of building a small robot during December seems decent, but it leaves out certain areas. There’s a different skill set needed to build an FTC-class robot (which is what I assume you meant) than what’s needed to build an FRC-class robot (which is what you’ll be building during build season). Your mechanical and software people might be able to get away with the smaller robot, but your electrical and CAD people would benefit from an FRC-specific challenge. I’d recommend doing a tabletop setup for the electronics, and having your CAD people CAD a robot for an old game, so they can get experience with a bigger robot.

As Don said above, please don’t hesitate to post here for any questions you may have. Welcome to FRC!

I recommend every team member to write an essay and have the coaches along with mentors review it.

The essay should answer these three questions:

  1. why you joined the robotics team ?
  2. what skills you bring to the team ?
  3. what skills do you want to learn ?