Every year, our team discusses the pros and cons of attending a second regional to be more competitive on the field. We always come to the same conclusion, ‘It would be better to spend our funds on EARLY, FIRST LEGO League, Botball, and BEST robotics teams and events than to pay the entry and travel costs associated with a second regional.’ We realize that it would give us a decisive advantage on the field but can never justify the expenditure … our robot usually performs flawlessly for the first demo after the Championships
After performing an analysis of the success of teams that participated in one regional versus those that participated in more than one regional (statistics below), I have confirmed what others have told me for years; teams that attend more than one regional have a marked advantage over teams that only attend one regional. Since teams are now expected to qualify for the Championships, I think it is time to seriously discuss ways to make the playing field more level between one-regional and multi-regional teams.
If you feel that this is an issue worth addressing, please propose solutions and constructively comment on others.
Here is the best solution that I can come up with:
Implement FIRST sanctioned “Warm-up Events” the weekend before the first regional for teams that are only attending one regional. This could be a win-win for the teams and FIRST. At these events, the referees will be refining their calls, the teams will be getting game ready, FIRST will get a preview of how teams will play the game, and the community will get to watch their teams before sending them off to the regional. Here are some details.
-Ship date would be on Thursday at 9:00 am, 7 days before the first regional. Teams attending two or more regionals would be required to ship their robot while those attending only one regional would bring their 'bot with them to the “Warm-up Event.”
-The events would be low cost and similar to those that are held during the weekend before ship. Since the participating teams would be organizing and conducting the events, there would be a large variance in the quality of the events. For example, some events would have a very nice, high fidelity field while some others would use the attending teams practice fields and game pieces.
-The event format would be similar to a regional with one day of practice and two days of competition. This is a great time for local fund raising and exposing the community to FIRST.
-The sanctioning of the event would ensure that the event emulates a FIRST regional instead of purely providing extra build days for the teams. Gracious Professionalism would be a must.
-On Saturday, every team would crate and ship their 'bots just as at a regional. This may even save FedEx some money because it would reduce the pickup locations.
-These events would be located to reduce the travel time for teams and could be located in cities that might someday host a regional. Some events may only have a handful of teams attending.
-Since venues are already booked for the 2005 & 2006 season, it makes sense to do it the week before the first regional.
-I realize this solution is not without problems though, here is a couple of them
-Teams would have to bring their crate to the “Warm-up Event”
-Another couple days away from family
-May reduce the number of regional slots that are used (money out of FIRST’s pocket)
-Difficult to police events
Thanks for you input,
One-regional versus multi-regional statistics from the 2004 season.
All of FIRST (929 teams)
72% went to 1 regional
26% went to 2 regionals
2% went to 3 regionals
.1% (1 team) went to 4 regionals
At the Championships (292 teams)
55% went to 1 regional
40% went to 2 regionals
5% went to 3 regionals
.3% (1 team) went to 4 regionals
Of the top 8 in the Championship Divisions (32 teams)
19% went to 1 regional
72% went to 2 regionals
9% went to 3 regionals
Of the teams playing in the Championship elimination rounds (quarterfinals - 96 teams)
30% went to 1 regional
63% went to 2 regionals
7% went to 3 regionals
Therefore, only 18% of the teams that attended one regional made it to the quarters while over 50% of the teams that attended two regionals made it.