paper: Team Behavior During Build Season and at Competition

Thread created automatically to discuss a document in CD-Media.

Team Behavior During Build Season and at Competition
by: Nate Laverdure

A condensed list of "Do"s and "Don’t"s regarding Best Practices for team members, leaders, and mentors. Compiled from NEMO’s “101+ Things I Wish I’d Known before My First FIRST Tournament” (pdf) which in turn was compiled by Rick Tyler from the CD thread of the same name.

FIRST Best Practices:
Team Behavior during Build Season and at Competition

Compiled and simplified by Nate Laverdure from:
The 101+ Things I Wish I’d Known before My First FIRST Tournament

Compiled by NEMO from the Chief Delphi FIRST Forum, 2005-2006
(Available from

My thanks to Rick Tyler and those at NEMO for making these hints available.

Good Team Practices

How should we design the robot?

Let the whole team get involved in the planning and building process
Read the entire manual, plus the updates on the FIRST website

Value complexity over simplicity
Assume reliability–instead design for repairability

How should we build the robot?

Allow students to specialize
Expect everything to break on the robot at least once during its lifetime
Pick the drive team and alternates during the second or third week of build season
Pick the pit crew and alternates during the fourth or fifth week of build season
Remember that reliability the best asset you can have on the playing field
Recognize that a week of testing is more important than a week of adding extra features
Learn to diagnose common problems

Let students use machines without sufficient safety training
Forget that the robot must fit in the size requirements

What should we bring to competitions?

Team banner
Key or tools for uncrating
White board and markers
Robot cart
Clock, watch, etc
Giveaway items like buttons
Extra raw material, hardware, and spare parts

How should the team behave at competitions?

Keep safety as the number one priority
Have students and parents sign a code of conduct
Be aggressive but professional when talking to judges
Check the robot, using a checklist, before every match
Make sure the robot’s battery is charged, fastened securely, and plugged in
Make sure the robot has the correct code loaded before the match
Make sure you turn the robot on before the match
Coordinate strategy with your alliance partners
Keep up on FIRST’s schedule of events
Keep the pit area organized
Ask for help when you need it

Forget the big picture
Let adults touch the robot except to ensure safety
Forget to scout out your competitors
Lose hope if performance is subpar until qualifying rounds end
Let a problem between students get out of hand

Good Personal Practices

How should I behave during build season?

Be prepared to give up a lot of your time and energy
Speak up when it comes to a major decision about the robot

Lose sight of just how fun science, technology and engineering can be

What should I wear to competitions?

One team shirt for as many days as you are competing
Jeans or cargo pants
Comfortable shoes

What should I bring to competitions?

Backpack or bag with your name on it
Filled water bottle
Comfortable pair of safety glasses Eyeglass cleaning fluid
Notebook, Pen/Pencil
Cell phone loaded with your team’s phone numbers
Laptop (if necessary)

What should I leave at home?

Game devices
Weapons, cigarettes, non-prescription drugs, alcoholic beverages

How should I behave at competitions?

Have fun
Be patient
Be respectful
Wash your hands often
Wear your safety glasses in the pits
Get plenty of sleep at night
Eat and drink regularly
Network–get out of your pit and meet teams and volunteers
Be enthusiastic and act foolish–yell, cheer, chant, dance, and join a conga line
Always be open and willing to teach any skills or knowledge you have
Remember that your second year in FIRST is your first year as a mentor
Remember that your opinions and statements do reflect on your team and its reputation

Fall asleep in the pits or stands
Use a machine if you are tired or inexperienced
Stress about robot problems
Show public displays of intimate affection
Crowd the pit if you aren’t doing a job
Take anything too seriously except safety

best_practices.pdf (28.3 KB)