Practice Match Etiquette

Ok… so I thought this was pretty well known, but apparently it’s not. DON’T PLAY DEFENSE IN PRACTICE MATCHES WITHOUT TALKING TO THE OPPOSING ALLIANCE! It’s not cool. Teams are trying to get things worked out in their practice matches with potentially non-functioning robots. Taking unnecessary big, and potentially damaging, hits in practices matches is just ridiculous.

Some teams will be fine with defense played against them in practice. Some teams will even ask for it! But if you’re going to play defense in practice matches, talk to the opposing alliance first. That’s the gracious and professional way to do it.


Do you want to be on a do not pick list? This is how we get on a do not pick list!


It is a bit of an unwritten rule isn’t it.

But it goes both ways. If a team wants a defense free practice match they should be speaking with the opposite alliance to arrange it.

I would never fault another team for playing within the rules of the game during a practice match unless I explicitly asked them to take it easy. (At which point they’re probably going on the “do not pick list” for being “difficult to work with”.) A lot of the time they just don’t know. (Saw something similar last year with a rookie team and we don’t hate them for it.)

I don’t think it would hurt to have the head ref say something to encourage teams to lay off the defense during practice matches. Just as a reminder for teams.


Alternatively, practice matches are the best places for fun to happen! We talked with the alliances in our match at FNC Asheville and we all worked on one rocket lol


I’d put this one in the same bucket as getting a red card for G19.

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i would love to go over to their hab zone and have them climb us at the end of a practice match


I would definitely give rookie teams a pass, though I’d probably talk to them after.

For folks who have not yet lived through it fully, your statement definitely makes sense - play within the rules for every match - that’s what the rules are for, right?

However, most teams quickly realize that your practice matches are valuable time to tune and tweak the robot’s performance, which 95% of the time goes better without interference from other robots (your team or other). Therefor, to help build up other teams, the correct default answer is not to only play within the rules, but also stay out of each other’s way.

This is an excellent idea.

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We had everyone put as much cargo in one cargo bay as possible :rofl:


No it doesn’t “go both ways”. Teams should be able to assume that they will be within reason left alone to test mechanisms or strategies. It’s a practice match, not a match. You should fault teams that play defense without warning, there is no reason for this. The burden should be solely on the team that wants to interact with other teams, not on the teams that want to be left alone.


Well, it’s better to communicate it to the other side before the practice match anyway. Better to let them know (if they didn’t already) than to have to deal with legal defense in a practice match. Never hurts to talk

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Practice matches don’t have referees or scorekeepers, unless those volunteers also want to practice with the scoring tablets.

Practice time on a real field is precious to the vast majority of FRC teams. Wasting that time by “practicing legal defense” is not cool.


Team: Does not tell opposing alliance to lay off the defense for a practice match.

Get’s played defense on


Disagree, if you want a defense free match then you should ask for it and not assume that it will be defense free. Fact is defense is a major part of some team’s strategy and they may want and need to practice it.


The robots playing offense aren’t bothering anyone - they are doing their own thing. The robots playing defense are, by definition, bothering other teams. It’s on the defender to ask about it, no matter how many tired memes you repost to try and excuse your actions.

Everything is “legal” in a practice match - there are no referees. Under your logic, why is it not justifiable for a robot to try and tip yours, or damage it? Should have asked that robot not to do that, right? There’s no difference in terms of rules or consequences in the context of that practice match.


wait, teams have unwritten rules, too? odd.


Teams that are cool don’t play defense during practice matches. I can count on one hand the number of times we had defense played on us during practice over the past decade of teams I’ve mentored across multiple regions. The teams that did it - not very cool teams.


They have every right to practice it if they ask the team they are practicing on. It’s the same way teams ask each other if they can climb on ramps, or ask if they can run certain autonomous routines. The firewall of communication between alliances is only an artifact of a competitive match where teams are trying to win - in all other contexts alliances have an obligation to communicate when they want to interact with each other.

I don’t see why this is so hard to understand, the teams that want to mess with other teams should have to ask, not the teams that don’t.


would us going to their hab zone near end game and deploying our ramp to allow them to climb be reasonable? we would of course ask them before the match

For the majority of teams, practice matches are less about practice, and more about getting on the field, getting connected, and performing a systems check in a match environment.

If you want to practice defense, ask the other alliance, or find a team that’s made it to a few practice matches and ask if they’d like to practice with a defender.

This isn’t the grand finals of a tournament; there is no strategic need to play defense in a practice match. If you’re just testing your drivetrain and its ability to play defense, running laps around the cargo ship or back and forth between the rockets, away from any offense robots, should do the trick.


I understand your point, but in the very sense of the word, a “practice match” Is a match in which teams practice. Another way to look at it would be a simulated match. If you don’t tell the opposing alliance your strategy going into a real match, why would you do so in the practice (or test, simulation, whatever you want to call it) match.
Now by all means, I agree that defense during a practice match should be lighter if at all since it is not an official match, but teams have the obligation to test their bot and strategies to the fullest extent, regardless of robots on the opposing alliance.

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