POLL - Penalties

I am trying to get a general reaction to points made earlier about penalties being/not being announced. This week at Pittsburgh I had the head ref give me the penalties, team team number and penalty points for all infractions. I then announced before the score were given. What are your feelings, should this become a FIRST standard, leave it up to the regional or not do it any more?

" i like it like that"

it makes it more like football. in the stands i always heard who caused the penalty??? this is a great way to make the audience more into it. also can have an affect on the scouting and picking of a team for elimination rounds if you knew they caused penalties, just a thought.

Steve, that’s a great idea. Many times after matches at FLR, my coach and I looked at each other in confusion wondering how we got a penalty. And then we would have to talk to each of our partners to find out what happened and sometimes they weren’t even sure. If it can be this confusing for the people playing the game, it must be a horror for the spectators. I would love to see this system of announcing how the penalties were committed to be used at GTR.

edit - The above makes it sound like 639 committed a lot of penalties. We committed only one 10-pt penalty in competition.

I want as much information on the penalty so we know how to prevent it from re occuring. Actually, we were penalty free all weekend at GLR! :ahh: But I still want to know information about it so it doesn’t happen to us at all.

:ahh: Yeah this could be a really confusing thing. If a penalty was made I think it should be known who did it and how they got it. This could stop a lot of penalties from happening later on. I like what you did Steve, it should be a FIRST standard because it would lessen the stress of the driver and or human player to find out what went wrong. :cool:

I think it was a great idea of yours to announce the penalties first before the scores. It really made teams more cautious about taking penalties, it totally got the crowd excited when a clean match was played, and offered teams an oppurtunity to contest penalties before the scores were released. All of the coaches at Pittsburgh are thankful for you doing that. Let’s make it a FIRST standard!!!

steve you are the coolest canadian ever

That system worked well Steve and I thank you for doing that. I wouldn’t want the announcer to say there was a penalty and not what it was for and who received it. When you say who received it, it helps the drive team to know if they are hitting too hard and the human players if they are doing something wrong.

I think that having the penalties announced was great. Saved me the trouble of going to ask, since I wanted to know anyway in case it was us I could fix the problem for the next match.

Great Job Announcing!


How they did it in Florida and i really liked is before the score they said there was a penalty on either red or blue. But would not say how much or on who. So you had to wait to find out if it actually changed the match a whole lot, it brought alot of tenseful moments

Steve - I hope FIRST adopts this practice across the board. This instant feedback was great - teams (and perhaps more importantly, the audience) knew exactly what was called and why, and they didn’t have to go bother a ref to receive any explanation of their infractions. This kind of communication is essential to avoid confusion and misplaced anger. As an extreme example, the bottle throwing incident at the Cleveland/Jacksonville NFL game in 2001 was instigated primarily by a ref who failed to explain one bit of what was going on down on the field near the end of the game. So I guess the moral of the story is, if you’re an announcer and don’t want to risk having balls of zip ties and duct tape chucked at you from the stands, you better start descriptively announcing those penalties! :stuck_out_tongue:

This information is important to all teams scouting the matches. Some penalties are easily defined, such as a human player not having both feet in the loading zone. Others are much more judgemental in nature. Read the posts of the regionals, and you will find numerous disagreements about how a call was made. Sitting in the stands, you can watch two matches in a row and see what you believe are two identical actions and one is called a penalty while the other one isn’t. A brief explanation for the penalty helps all teams to avoid this call as they play the game.

NOTE: This post does not say that the referreeing is inconsistent. I appreciate the effort the referrees put in for us to play these games, and anyone who wants to dispute their decisions should get out there and try referreeing themselves. Then come back here and read how your decisions get picked apart. We all owe a big “THANK YOU” to those folks who are willing to give their time to make the hard calls.

Darn - so you were the one that got away with something> :wink:

Take a look at <S05> :confused: Some penalties are easily defined, but the definition doesn’t make any sense, unless a bot is programed to speak, then goes and talks mean to a human player. :rolleyes:


I wholeheartedly agree with this practice becoming standard. PLEASE see that other announcers for the remaining regionals do this across the board. As Woodie says “we get what we celebrate.” By announcing that there were no penalties in a match and that we all should try to set a record for number of matches played in a row without penalties, you are raising the bar and setting expectations.

Not that we are competitive or anything… :smiley:

Great job!!!

Paul Copioli announced the penalties at Great Lakes as well, which as any (unbiased) observer would tell you made the game a whole lot better (Better than Finger Lakes scoring, definately). Better yet, he’d highlight that “We have had ANOTHER penalty FREE match!!!” and sometimes why there WASN’T a penalty on a play.

I’m confident that Steve and Dave Verbrugge will make sure this continues at Detroit and Cleveland for the benifit of the spectators :slight_smile:

Take a look at <S05> :confused: Some penalties are easily defined, but the definition doesn’t make any sense, unless a bot is programed to speak, then goes and talks mean to a human player. :rolleyes:

A few years back (2002?) at PARC, my son took a turn at being a human player during practice rounds. He tried to shoot a ball about 3/4 the distance of the field, and it nailed a robot dead center. He was a bit embarrassed, so he shot at goals that were nearer for a while. Getting more confidence though, he again attempted to do another long distance shot. BAM!! Another direct hit on the same robot. So, just before the practice round ended, the robot, loaded with balls comes over to the player station where my son was shooting from and starts throwing the balls over the barrier and onto him. Funniest thing I ever saw at a competition. Robot may have been 222 Tigertrons.

The practice of announcing the penalties, along with the points assessed and the team that made the violation, was used during week 1 in Richmond, and in week 2 at St Louis. The refs in St Louis took an additional step that worked very well. The referees had all worked for the week before the event to develop a set of very visible hand signals to correspond to the common violations. They also all had whistles. During a match, if a violation occured they would blow their whistle as they threw the penalty flag, and use the hand signal to indicate the violation (agressive play, human player outside the loading box, robot not in loading zone, etc.). The teams could adjust their play style during the course of the match in response, and avoid more penalties. It also helped the audience keep up with what was happening, and made the games even more fun to watch.


Looks like the referees were in violation of Rule 7.4. They should have had those whistles confiscated by the proper authorities. :rolleyes::wink:

They were. The Head Referee confiscated the whistle from the Assistant Referee. The Assistant Referee confiscated the whistle from the Red Line Referee. The Red Line Referee confiscated the whistle from the Blue Line Referee. The Blue Line Referee confiscated the whistle from the Blue Loading Zone Referee. The Blue Loading Zone Referee confiscated the whistle from the Red Loading Zone Referee. The Red Loading Zone Referee confiscated the whistle from the Red Human Player Referee. The Red Human Player Referee confiscated the whistle from the Blue Human Player Referee. The Blue Human Player Referee confiscated the confiscated whistle from the Head Referee. Then the Head Referee confiscated the confiscated whistle from the Assistant Referee, and the Assistant Referee confiscated the confiscated whistle from … (you get the idea)


For the teams involved I think it was good information. It helped explain the differences in what folks thought the score was and what it ended up being (most of the time).
I am concerned with the over emphasis on having a record of matches without a penalty. Each match is independent from the next and with so many violations that could occur (and I think I witnessed every type in Pittsburgh) making a record of 7 or 8 or 22 matches is irrelevent. Besides, the Ref’s don’t need the added pressure of “not calling violations in order to maintain the current penalty free match streak”.
I really don’t think that teams purposely go out to get penalties, The student with his toe on the line at the end of autonomous didn’t do it maliciously or to gain any advantage. But, it still ended up as a Non-penalty free match.
Some loading zone violations were just bad driving and bad instructions - from the other end of the field the drivers can’t really tell where they are (coaching decisions to engage in battle when near the opposing teams loading zone area are just simply bad choices - and they should be penalized as the rules state) Some of the other violations are still unfortunately “in the eyes of the beholder” - engaging high with or without intent to tip over the opponent and “high speed” ramming is subjective to the on lookers viewpoint of
“intentional” and “high speed”.

The reminder at the beginning of the match of trying to be penalty free is great.

I am glad that I can say that ChiefDelphi was penalty free, and that is our #1 goal throughout the competition straight thru the Championship.

I like the fact that you announce who did it and what they did. It’s a learning experience and if an audience member was watching that team, they can say, oh, now I get it. Especially to those of us working with rookie teams, it makes our jobs 100% easier if you announce the problem instead of making me try to describe it in “Beth-terms.” Also, while all of us in the organization should, in theory, know what the penalties are and know everything about the whole entire game (yes, there was a bit of sarcasm in that), there are parents, grandparents, friends and media that are also observing our game. If part of our ambition is to expand the program and get more people to know about it, we need to make our announcements “non-FIRST person friendly.” So keep making the announcements, let’s make sure everyone understands what’s going on!