Please let us test our robot

It’s practice day. We’re trying to see if our subsystems work. We don’t have a field at home to do rigorous testing.

Please, please, please let us just cycle without defense on practice day, or ask first before you slam into our robot repeatedly as we check our intake. We’re not trying to lose functionality for hours in a zero-stakes match.


Maybe it would be best for FIRST to make this an official guideline and/or the head ref go over it in the driver’s meeting? It feels like something newer/less connected teams might not realize.


I completely understand the desire… but shouldn’t that be on the team wanting no defense to talk to their opponents and ask? Everyone wants to be testing their robot, and if you plan to play defense, don’t you want the practice to do so?

It’s an issue of unclear communication of expectations. If it matters to you, then you should be communicating those expectations to those playing in the match. Posting your expectations on CD is not going to get the message to the people you want it to get to.


True, although CD is one of the “better” tools we have for mass communication.

Fundamentally though (to Jon’s point), you just need to talk to the other practice alliance and say something along the lines of:

hey, we want to practice some defense maneuvers, is there someone that would be ok with “sparing”? We are not trying to break anything.


But why is it on them to ask others if it’s ok to practice their desired game strategy?

If you’re practicing offense, do you ask the opponents if it’s ok to score points against them?


I think this somewhat happens for offense? There has been more than a few times I have seen all 6 robots go for RP practice (I e. Try to get a rocket done in 2019)

As far as who’s responsibility it is to communicate: nobody can read minds, so if you want to practice anything that requires some co-op (not just defense) ^ you just need to talk. Absolutely a good skill to learn for FRC and life.

As far as I can tell we are of the same general opinion on the issue.

^ an example this year may be a request to the red alliance to feed a few notes from source to practice short cycles for the blue alliance.


Is defense really coop? I think it’s just teams playing their desired strategy during a game.

Again, if it matters to you what the other alliance does during a practice match, then YOU should be the ones reaching out to THEM. Playing defense doesn’t fall into that category - you’re trying to figure out how to handle how other teams are playing, regardless of what their strategy or actions are.


I think it offers value, if the other side says “no” then it isn’t. If they say yes then it is by definition cooperative.

Some teams may want to practice under defense if the opportunity presents itself (bumper on bumper, visibility, or otherwise)

You must realize scoring points against a team and defending an opponent from performing certain actions are different. Scoring doesn’t affect the opponent, defending does.

That being said, I think it would make sense for the want-to-defend-ers to talk with the opposing alliance and see if there’s a robot that will be doing match-level cycles on the field. If so, let them know you’ll be practicing defense / defensive coaching. I would expect them to be up for it, because it’s free defense-evasion practice for them.

If there aren’t any robots that are gonna be playing like a real match, then maybe it isn’t the best use of your time to practice defending in the first place


I think we can all agree that random defense out of nowhere (especially if reckless resulting damage) is not ok.

If this happened to the teams I am involved with or to a team that is confused and doesn’t know what to say I would make a trip over to talk with a mentor on the other team to get more information and maybe inform them of the unwritten conduct. If they blatantly disregard the conduct then there is a larger GP issue…


If my strategy is to play defense and everyone on the other alliance told me not to, then it does affect me, sitting off in the corner doing nothing.


In this specific case there is no reason you can’t practice more simple defensive tasks and obtain some value. I.e. shut down sight lines, efficient movement on the field. These don’t run the risk of damaging/ overly hampering other teams, which is where the majority of the debate on this topic is.

My 2¢ anyway.


I’ve definitely had robots play defense on me during a practice match when our robot wasn’t ready for it so we went and parked in the corner.


If your robot is only capable of playing defense, you should be spending your time in the pit making your robot actually play the game. Destroying other people’s robots when they want to get precious minutes in a real field practicing is disrespectful in the extreme. You’re potentially disabling an alliance partner for quals, and it’s not even good practice because they’re not playing as they would in a real match. They’re practicing.

If you must play defense on an opposing robot during practice, 100% you should be asking if that’s ok. You hurt nobody if you’re just picking up notes and scoring them, and therefore don’t need to ask - it’s the default practice activity.


Oh my God dude it’s common courtesy, just stop.


I think the main reason is because of the potential damage. Lots of teams during practice matches just want to get a feel for their robot and where things need to change. If I am working on lining up a shooter and a defense bot keeps bumping into me, no one is learning or improving.


Just goes to show that all of the experienced, well performing teams here on CD prize their offensive experience above the experiences of teams that are, perhaps, struggling just to get a robot on the field, and have no real hope of building offensive capability in the single day of practice matches.

But keep shouting on here that they shouldn’t be playing defense. I’m sure those teams are spending all their time reading CD instead of trying to build a basic robot that can drive and get in others way.

Again, if it matters to you, then YOU should go talk to THEM. Otherwise, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment when the other teams on the field get in your way or don’t do what you want.

It really astounds me how many people want to dictate the actions of other teams without actually talking to them.


The difference is that defense can cause damage to teams - we’ve all seen that happen over the years, even inadvertently.

To me it seems like common sense for an all-defense strategy bot to extend some courtesy for teams that are probably just trying to make sure their systems are functioning as intended on the real field.

This is also a game that will reward defense due to the lack of protected zones, low shooters and lack of truly “low goal” scoring objectives, so I’m sure that’s frustrating to teams as well.


Speaking of communication, I think we all really are in broad agreement here and are quarreling, thus providing a prime example on how difficult effective communication is.

End of the day: if you want to play defense, ask. Full stop.