Rookie Entry Requirements Are Too Loose


And like a new dam that has to build up the initial resovoir, I’m aware that a change like this will lower the number of rookies that enter for the first year these changes are implemented. If rookies aren’t prepared though, I’d rather have them wait a year and join even stronger the next than just throw them into things in the current year and letting them sink or swim. I want to play the long game here


Is it that rookie teams need MORE resources? Or that they don’t know about the numerous resources that are already out there?




Both. Rookies are specifically told about things like CD or tba and rookies also generally don’t have the resources/knowledge about a lot of things. We’ve all heard the horror stories of rookies who don’t even have a driving robot at stop build day. There should be no reason for that.


There’s a lot of assumptions in this post that I don’t necessarily agree with.
There’s the assumption that teams that fold stop existing as a whole.
There’s the assumption that team flow only goes in the FTC to FRC direction, and not in reverse.
There’s the assumption that FTC is just as effective a program at inspiring all communities in the same quantity of students as FRC (something I have already challenged previously in this post).
There’s the assumption that folded teams cannot reform in the future.
There’s the assumption that the students of a folded team cannot become part of another area team.
There’s the assumption that teams must grow (or at least exist) independent of the core group of students/members who found them.
And there’s still the central thesis I pointed out in the prior post, there’s the assumption that a failed FRC team is a worse outcome than a FRC team that never existed.

There’s a lot in this conversation that needs to be defined much better. Team 330 is folding at the end of this season. I think it’s obvious to all of us that they have been a very successful program for a long time and inspired countless participants. Even though they are folding, I think everyone here counts them as an FRC success. So if a team that’s been around for 20 years is a success even after it folds, how about a team that’s been around for 10 years? 4 years? 2 years? How man years or students or student-years does it take for a FRC team to be considered a worthwhile investment?

Let’s raise a hypothetical (based on anecdotes of teams that have actually existed). Let’s say a parent starts a team in their local high school explicitly so their child (and their friends) can have a team to join. If that team folds after that student group graduates, is that viewed as a team that is now failing to inspire? Should that team have been built for a longer term existence in VRC or FTC instead?

What about an FTC team that shifts to FRC for a few seasons and then shifts back to FTC? Are they considered unsustainable? They certainly would show up in @Caleb_Sykes statistics as a team that no longer existed after 2 or 3 seasons.


You assume I count 330 as a total success.

330 succeeded in their mission, but the team failed. Similar manner if a successful business (Such as Furniture Row Racing) closes, they made profit (or in the example, win a championship), but the business itself still “failed”, even if by the choice of the team/business.

Chances are, they found FRC unsustainable and reverted. Not all teams realize this is an option, want to risk it, think its a viable replacement, or the infrastructure for that competition doesnt exist there.


Please provide evidence to support your “chances are” statement. This is yet another assumption that’s being made in this thread.


I personally know a team that is not participating in FRC this season and is transitioning to FTC. They did not feel that they had the number of students that they needed to support an FRC team anymore.


So would you consider that team to be no longer inspiring students? They “failed” as an FRC team by the definitions so far presented in this thread (both Miklast’s statement about 330 in the previous post and the registration data used in other prior posts). Should they have been an FTC team all along? Or was there expedition into FRC a worthwhile investment?


No, and I’ve never made that claim. This team made the smart decision to transition to another program because it was a better fit for them. They’re continuing to inspire.

Are you making the assumption that most of the FRC teams that fail make a transition into another program? Because that’s not the case with almost every team in my area that has ceased to be.


I am not. I am also not assuming that they DON’T transition to other programs. I am mostly aiming at challenging a lot the poorly defined definitions and largely unsubstantiated assumptions being made in this thread.

As I said earlier, this thread rests upon the tenet that a failed FRC team is a worse outcome than a FRC team that never existed at all. I want to see some sort of evidence to support that claim. There are numerous facets to why that may or may not be the case (as laid out in my prior response to you regarding assumptions).

FIRST HQ (seemingly) prioritizes growth. Many in this thread want to prioritize “team sustainability” (as currently defined by lowering the rate in which teams fold). Perhaps neither of those metrics are the ideal optimization targets for overall program health? Perhaps healthy teams do not have to have an infinite lifespan to achieve their goals or the goals of FIRST?

We’re all working towards the same goal here. But we are largely operating in uncharted waters. I want to work to better map out those waters before suggesting we veer onto a different course.


No, it’s not. It’s resting on the tenant a failed FRC team is worse than an existing FTC team.


I think the question we’re all trying to address here is “does limiting the entry into the program create a better experience overall for those teams who bubble up, and for those who are here long-term?” If it does, are there other ways we can improve the program experience for those teams, or can we provide them with a longer lasting experience in another program that results in more students inspired long-term? I can’t quantify nearly any of this, as it’s kinda difficult to quantify inspiration (sorry Chairman’s judges), but even on our own teams there has to be a reason we stick with FRC and why others leave, and those reasons are plentiful.

Maybe an exit survey for mentors whose teams registered one year and not would be a good start, but the onus is on FIRST HQ.

As far as I can tell, it is. Many of the academic boards I’ve worked with who see you’ve already spent money on something, it doesn’t work, are very hesitant to approve anything tangentially close to it again. So a failed FRC team may lock them out of not only returning to FRC, but FTC, VEX, BEST, Etc. So even if we don’t get as many new entrants into FRC, we might just get a bunch new FTC teams who are equally as competent and just a little longer lived.


Those are not mutually exclusive outcomes. The data presented in this thread doesn’t measure how many FRC teams that don’t compete have moved back to or away from FTC (or VRC).


Maybe because we have no way to measure that? All we have is personal experience, which I’ve already stated points to teams just not existing anymore.


And so we’re back to relying on anecdotes and assumptions. I don’t view that as a good way to make large-scale decisions to influence the future of FRC.


Lavery, If we could read teams minds and give them the help they needed, then we wouldnt need this thread. Why cant you provide any actual data yourself about this topic, instead of just telling me that my and other’s points are invalid due to them being educated guesses?


All the more reason there should be an officially sanctioned way to “convert” a team between programs, such that we could actually have this data.


It doesn’t require “reading minds.” It requires refocusing this discussion on what should happen next, better data gathering and better definitions of the issues faced. Despite being started by one of the more prolific data analysts on Chief Delphi, this thread is admittedly a rather “hot take.” The next course of action shouldn’t be pushing for change, it should be pushing for data to make informed decisions. Ideally the community could define metrics that could be tracked to determine the scope and depth of the “problem,” but in reality we first need to agree what the problem actually is.


Yeah. The problem is an institutional emphasis on growth via churn rather than growth via sustainability.