Rookie Entry Requirements Are Too Loose


I’m really not a fan of “denying” teams entry to the program; this program exists to educate and bring up those that know absolutely nothing about STEM to become inspired to continue on, you shouldn’t increase a barrier of entry before that. However, the need for sustainable teams is most certainly important. Rather than deny teams, how about connect those teams with resources that can help them get those requirements in place; Regional Directors, Senior Mentors, local teams, potentially even people and resources directly from FIRST. An application process is great, sure, but there needs to be some sort of feedback that actually helps the teams, getting them the resources they need or pushing them to another program like FTC that can still satisfy the need/goals of FIRST without flat-out denying a team entry.


And in Michigan high schools can’t do FTC


Here’s my hot take; a lot of the struggling FRC teams would have a better experience in FTC. If there was a better pathway for teams to transition between programs, I think we would see significantly better retention numbers instead of teams leaving FIRST completely.

A lot of things that happen in Michigan are the exception, not the norm. There’s a lot of institutional support you get in Michigan that just doesn’t exist elsewhere.


What if we required all rookies to have a “tag team” to work with, either those who sign up voluntarily, or Chairman’s Award winners, along with key volunteers in the area? Automatically. if a rookie clearly doesn’t need help, then their tag team can note as such, but that way if a rookie or returning veteran desperately needs help, they have someone they can reach out to for help really easily.

It doesn’t address the potential need for barrier to entry, but it does avoid Caleb’s observation of teams registering with no way of supporting themselves long term dying en-masse.


As a team that has attempted to lend a hand to other new teams in the area, you can’t force someone to accept the help that they need.


Hot Take: this hot take is not as much of a hot take as you think it is. I entirely agree. When I spent four years in FRC in high school, I viewed FTC as the “lesser” program, something you could get less out of and the students in FTC weren’t learning as much as me. Now that I’m extensively volunteering in the FTC program, I honestly believe that FTC does a much better of teaching genuine engineering practices, especially for the lower level teams than FRC does. While both programs can both teach similar engineering principle and teamwork, FTC does much a better job of doing so without requiring a team of 40 people with a massive awards team. Now don’t get me wrong, FTC has plenty of programs but the last season of FTC volunteering (mostly refereeing) has completely convinced me of the program’s viability and I sincerely want it to expand further in the future.


There’s a nice segment at the end of Frank’s RoboZone podcast that highlights FRC’s current vision.


Not every team will be able to operate with a small budget. But setting a $10000 minimum is making exactly the same assumption.


I think Caleb is saying that maybe these schools shouldn’t have an FRC team then. They should go with FTC or VEX which are less resource intense.


Great idea, but what happens if the area doesnt have any teams near?


Pretty sure my old team would have struggled to do the above. I agree with the making contact with older teams, but I’m not even sure if they would meet the 3 unique sponsors of $1.5k each even in their 5th season. (not to say that they’re not extremely grateful for their current sponsors. I’m not sure what their current finances are)


Sometimes to make something sustainable, we have to set standards that might screen out those who otherwise appear eligible. Some 16 year olds are ready to drive very responsibly, but many are not, so we have more restrictive requirements for them to gain their license. This means that the former group may not be able to get their license right away. We have to set standards that for everyone because we often can’t tell ahead of time that a new FRC team is competent or sufficiently resourced. What other indicators did you have that you would be successful? Maybe we can add those to the list. But understand that if your team fails, it hurts the rest of us trying to sustain the FRC program. It’s not just you that is experiencing the risk.


This is where VEX might have to be the alternative, or FiM could set up a separate FTC league that feeds directly to the FRC championship.


Genuinely curious, how so?


The only one with specified geographic locality was key volunteer, as it would have been nice for inspectors to be able to help pre-inspect more teams. You can remotely help teams a lot, as shown by The Compass Alliance via FIRST Help Now, and other real-time FRC resources like the Discord.

As a team that has attempted to lend a hand to other new teams in the area, you can’t force someone to accept the help that they need.

@notmattlythgoe Okay, so not require. Heavily encourage and network? Knowing is half the battle.


You can lead a horse to water, but sometimes that horse is just going to eat the rocks instead.


Wow! That’s the second post today that makes me miss the spotlight feature of the old forum software.


I’ve run across some teams that know someone can teach them something but their ego gets in the way.

Oh well, we can work with those horses that want water.


I understand that sentiment, but if I’m being completely honest, FTC or VEX aren’t quite as captivating as FRC. I went to one of those schools and without joining a team that was “doomed to fail” I would have never chosen to study engineering. That’s my opinion atleast.


Ok let’s break things down a little. If I’m understanding the point of this, basicly, the assumption is “failed (failing) teams hurt the rest of the FRC community”, right? And we’re trying to figure out a way to fix that. With that in mind, I have a few questions.

  1. How exactly does the failed team hurt other sustaining teams?
  2. How exactly does a failed team hurt other rookie or not yet formed teams?
  3. How exactly does the failed team hurt the students, on that team or another, involved?

I’m not quite convinced yet that a failed team has done more harm than good. While I agree there needs to be more availability of resources, like pushing it in their face available, I think just because a team couldn’t sustain itself doesn’t mean we should not allow them to inspire, teach, and TRY to make it.

But, maybe I’m just not thinking of all the ways it affects other teams or something. Maybe we can work on finding fixes to each of the smaller problems that make up the larger one.

Or is this an issue of just trying to supply teams with more ways to become sustainable?