Number of people in the pits at CMP

Since there are a large number of teams at CMP, should we worry about limiting the number of team members allowed down in the pits, or is space not an issue (in the hallways for example when transporting the robot)?

There is no rules about it. Just make sure you don’t block the way, as 600 robots will be moving from/towards the field. Common sense should be enough :rolleyes:

I know there aren’t rules but do any teams create a designated pit crew in order to keep clutter down? We sometimes have problems with too many people in the pits, and were wondering how other teams did things.

you should definitely decide who is allowed in you pit area. There is so much stuff to do at champs compared to a regional, that the people who were just standing in your pit at your regional should be gone somewhere else. Send them watch conferences, scholarships row, see teams in other divisions, go watch some FLL, etc

Edit: on my team, we make sure everyone has a specific job, so there is no one just standing there doing nothing

We assign a Pit Crew, which this year consists of 2 D&M students, an Energy System/Electrical student, 1-2 Programmers and a Mentor to supervise. These are usually senior members of the team who are highly knowledgeable about the robot and can serve the dual purpose of speaking about the robot when asked to, and they can fix the robot REALLY fast to boot.

On 610, we try and keep our own team members out of our own pit as much as possible for a few reasons.

1: Pit Crew should be focusing on keeping the robot in top shape, and having team members pop by to chat while they’re furiously working on the robot is obviously not very productive.
1a: Having a large group of students standing around in your own pit is pretty poor for public image imo, because it gives off the illusion that only a few people are doing work, while a large group of people stand by and watch.

2: Having large amounts of people around our own pit is disruptive. The pits are pretty small, and are barely large enough to fit 5-6 people working + a robot + tools. Any extra people will be standing in the pit walkways, which are supposed to be kept as clear as possible for robots to come through.

Don’t forget that the pits is where most judging happens (excluding a certain few awards). Everyone in the pit, from the drive team down to the person that manages the batteries, should be able to speak to the team accomplishments and background. They should be able to talk about outreach, robot design, build processes and problems. If a judge asks a specific question, you can defer to someone that was more involved with that project but something like “Tell me about your robot/involvement in your community.” should be able to be answered by any student in the pit.

Our team typically has a schedule for the team members to follow as to where they should be at any given time during the event (the stands, workshops, lunch, presentations, etc.). Of course our drive team is primarily on the fields (practice, competition field and the pits) we have approximately two other members assigned to the pits to cover topics discussed in the pits, as well as, a safety representative (our safety rep/captain rotates throughout the day do allow each of them time to experience the competition and venue). It is critical for every member to have team knowledge in the event they are assigned to the pit duties. It is also important not to have too many people in the pits as it can create safety hazards and viewing barriers for those FIRST folks cruising in the pits preparing to interview you.

Having a tentative schedule helps the team feel they are not confined to one position/duty. Meeting other teams and learning about what they do, helps teams enhance what they currently do.

Above all everyone should make sure to have a BLAST at Champs, it is AMAZING.

Good point about judging. Be prepared for judging interviews on Thursday of CMP as well.

Absolutely! We have been refining our pit crew makeup for years. Here is how we try to do it:

Student Mechanical Lead: Responsible for making mechanical repairs. Responsible for changing bumpers and other mechanical items on the pit checklist.
Student Electrical Lead: Responsible for making electrical repairs and troubleshooting. Responsible for changing batteries. Tracks battery performance over time using our battery logging/tracking system.
Student Programming Lead: Tweaks autonomous code in response to on-field performance. Operates robot during function checks as the last step in the pit checklist.
Student Pit Lead: One of the previous three students is designated the pit lead. This is the single person responsible that the robot is competition ready when it leaves the pit. When the robot returns to the pit, this is the person who takes a condition report from the drive team and makes sure any problems are addressed between matches. They also are responsible for insuring all the steps in the pit checklist are completed.
Student ambassador: Arguably the most important job on the pit crew. Interfaces with the public, judges, other team’s scouts, etc. Allows the other pit crew members to do their jobs without being distracted.
Pit mentor: Supervises student leads. Steps in to help when necessary. Can call in other students and mentors to help troubleshoot when necessary. Sometimes helps establish priorities when multiple complex repairs are necessary.
Safety captain: Keeps an eye on the pit to make sure everyone is working safely.

This is our official pit crew, who are expected to be in or near the pit between matches. No one else should be in the pit unless invited by the Student Pit Lead or the Pit Mentor. Sometimes this list is augmented due to special circumstances. For example, this year our intake extended outside the robot, and was vulnerable to taking damage when rammed into things. We planned ahead and made a spare intake which was swappable. The mentor and student (who happened to be the safety captain) who worked the most on the intake were kept busy in the pit maintaining the spare intake so it could be ready to swap back onto the robot.

We generally choose a quiet area within sight of our pit for the drive team, and other students/mentors to hang out between matches. After the robot is dropped off in the pit, the drive team reviews video of the match with the Drive Team Coach to take lessons learned from what went right or wrong. This is where the runner from the scouting team delivers intel on our upcoming alliance partners and opponents. When it’s queuing time, the drive team goes to the pit to pick up the robot.

Every team should have a pit crew that doesn’t involve students on the drive team. I have notice though that students will follow this pretty well and try and not crowd the pit, however you need to let any parents that are going with your team know they can’t crowd as well. Last year, after every match all of the parents that went to CMP with us would come down and make it impossible to move.

Unless you had a problem at your district/regional events, just continue the same guidelines. Last year (our first CMP) we had less congestion in our pits at CMP than at Bayou due to the greater number of things for people to do when they weren’t on duty somewhere. CMP pits last year (and I would expect the same this year, as there are the same number of teams at the same venue) had aisles that were at least 10 feet (I think wider) wide and there was a traffic separation scheme for the “main highway” to the dome and the practice fields.

The one minor change we had to make was that there are concession stands in the pit areas at CMP. Locally, all of the concession stands are in the lobby. As such, we were more preemptive stating that food and drink are not allowed in the pit.

You may also want to ask team members to avoid bringing backpacks then dumping them in the pits (at Championship as well as other events). They can take up a lot of space and our students rarely actually take anything out of them during the event meaning they should have left it all at home.