Role of coach?

I was thinking recently about what I could have done differently as a coach in matches our team lost this year in order to make them more successful and I realized that even though I have been in the driver’s station for every match in the past two seasons I am always so focused on the field that I have no clue what other coaches are telling their drivers. As a coach it is easy for me to criticize the drivers and the robot, but should I also be criticizing myself? This brings me to my question…

What is the role of your coach during matches and/or outside of matches?

Our (student) coach has several roles during the match:

  1. Communicate with the other coaches as to scoring/defense opportunities and strategy changes.
  2. To communicate any of those opportunities/changes to the drivers
  3. To watch all of the other robots on the field to avoid hazards/traffic jams
  4. To watch the score to make any necessary strategy changes (this year he played a big role in telling us whether we should place or hurdle again once the match started getting down there)
  5. To encourage/constructively criticize the drivers to further enhance their performance, and to keep a positive mindset whenever possible.

Oh, and 6. To be AWESOME!

I can definitely say (as a driver this year) that the actions/words of my coach helped us win matches and have a fun time down on the field! (we might happen to have a cheer just for him…:smiley: )


:stuck_out_tongue: -Theo

Edit: I guess my list is more of just what he does during the match, obviously his role is very evident before the match as well.

Speaking as someone who got their first taste of coaching this year, I believe that the coach needs to do many more things than simply coach the rest of the drive team. The coach (as should the entire drive team) needs to the manual inside and out, because let’s face it, if you don’t pay attention to the rules, you’re not going to have a good chance of winning.

Also, the coach needs to be instrumental in creating/modifying a strategy for their team, but also incorporate this strategy with their alliance members’ strategies. Sometimes this includes making a split-second decision in the middle of a match, to account for an unforseen problem Personally, I liked to get together with our alliance partners before a match to strategize on how we could best use each of the 3 teams’ abilities to win the match. IMHO, a team with a good strategy and a poor robot will beat a team with a good robot but poor strategy almost every time.

IMO coaches should:

  1. Obtain information from scouts about alliance partners and opponents before the match.
  2. Use the information to develop a strategy with alliance partners. Make sure to communicate the strategy clearly and concisely to make sure everyone understand.
  3. Make sure your own drive team understands the general strategy.
  4. During the match always remain calm and confident. Watch the entire field in order to react to deviations in the strategy.

Pre-Match: As a field coach I want the students to come up with the match strategy, I will just offer helpful suggestions if I think they are needed. I must have a complete understanding of what strategy the students have come up with so I can help execute the chosen strategy. I need to have a strong knowledge of what the alliance members are capable of in case a change of strategy is needed.

During Match: The drive team takes care of the micro part of the match (what our robot is doing) and nothing else. The coach has to focus on the macro part of the game (everything else) what is happening on the rest of the field, score opposing alliance, etc… and communicate to the drivers what they need to do. The coach needs to be able to effectively communicate with the other members of the alliance during the match.

Post Match: The coach needs to be part of the match debrief, what went well, what went wrong, what needs to be done to the robot. The coach needs to help lift the spirits of the drive team after a loss and keep them grounded after a win.

I agree with your comments on what a coach does, but I quoted this section for extra emphasis. As a student coach for my team for the last four years, I noted frequently that having one member of a close drive team keep his or her head after a tough match goes a long way toward making sure the rest of the drive team does, as well. It doesn’t have to be the coach, but since the coach is generally more removed from the immediate action (the “micro”) it tended to be easier (for me at least) to be the cool-headed one in recent years.

This was discussed a couple of years ago here:

Lots of good insight…

I’ve coached a few matches in my time in FIRST and I’ve also Driven, Operated, and HP-ed in many aswell and I’ve noticed that the most important thing that any coach can do is watch the game for the drive team. It gets very hard to focus anywhere except on your robot as a driver or an operator. Also I’ve found that the coach (and every other drive team member also) should know the rulebook inside and out. There’s no point in having someone in the driver’s station who doesn’t know the rules. (this year I was the only person who knew the rules very well on the drive team). And also your coach should be someone who can keep their cool and yet still be firm with the drive team and the teams on the alliance. And they also must have good people skills if they are negotiating with the team and must know how to give and take for success. I’ve noticed sometimes with adult coaches they can come off as mean and other things but, at the end of the day they’re still your best friends. And just because someone is firm in their suggestions and how they play a match doesn’t mean that they’re a bad person and your coach needs to be able to do this.

The role of a drive-team coach is simple: read minds, use X-ray vision, and compute fast Fourier transforms in his head. Controlling a robot with telekinesis is a bonus.

I think that one of the coach’s most valuable assests happens on the field at the end of the match. Congratulating the other alliance teams… win or lose.

I always try and come over to the other teams and pick something out that they did that we appreciated. Find something positive. it is ALWAYS there.

Celebrate your alliance. If you get the chance … go and congratulate the opposing alliance too…

You need to model the behavior that you want your team to exhibit.

One of my favorite memories started last year in our last match in Las Vegas.
Our alliance won and everyone was celebrating. I started to walk to the other end to congratulate the other teams and stopped and looked behind me. No one was following. I stopped and gathered them up…
We all went over and everyone had a great time.

This year in Seattle, again we win the last match… we go out to celebrate…but this time… my team beat ME over to the other side.

I could not have been prouder.

As a driver it is important to me to have a coach that,

  1. Stays clam at all times if a coach gets exited so will the drivers
  2. Listens to the teams scouts and i able to work with them to get information
  3. talk to other alliances and be able to model his robot to the other two teams
  4. Think fast on his feet and make good half second decisions
  5. Maintain a positive attitude to the drivers and the team
  6. technical knowledge the know what to do if a robot breaks and how to use it to his advantage
  7. Most importantly have fun and maintain a positive attitude

The coach that we had this year did all these things well and we had a great time at the competitions even when we were not doing so great. Some people think that is all the drivers but i believe that having a good coach is more important then a driver. You can have the best robot and good drivers but with out a good coach your not going to as well as you could.

Matthew Simpson
Team 75 driver

The coach should make sure they know the other robots and teams as well as the scouts do, if possible. One very useful thing this year on our team was that the scout leader (me) and the coach are very good friends and work well together. She made sure to get information from me on each of the five teams before every match, and we would work out the strategy together with the drive teams of all three alliance members. This method worked particularly well because I ended up memorizing each team number, name and information and could spout off any team’s status/tendencies/stats/possible strategies instantly. I like to think that several match outcomes were turned in our favor because of this coach-scout-strategy relations, but perhaps I’m biased. :stuck_out_tongue:

well as a coach for the last two yrs. i believe that im responeable for making sure that all system on the robot r a go. in the pits and on the field to get the best straegy for us and our alliance commuicate that to our drivers make sure we follow that plan to the best of our robot abilities. check the robot after the match to make sure everything is working good.