Rookie Team, Big Dreams (7486)

As a rookie team, our goals currently are:

  1. Level 2 HAB Climb & Start From Level 2 At Beginning

  2. Use An Arm To Manipulate Game Pieces Into Bottom 2 Levels Of The Rocket / Cargo Ship.

  3. Ability To Block Off Opposing Rockets (Defense)

  4. Omni-Wheel Drive Train

Please evaluate our goals and steer us in a direction which you think would help us have a better rookie season. Last year we formed an FRC team but couldn’t secure any funding besides a $25 Giant Eagle gift card so actually getting into a competition is monumental progress.


These two will directly conflict with each other. (Omnis, like mecanum, are susceptible to being pushed around.) Is there a reason you want a full omni DT?

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We have been toying with the idea of having tank drive instead of omni, but our team voted on omni for now…

I am assuming you are referring to them being able to push our robot out of the way of blocking the rocket?

Omni wheels probably won’t play well with your objective of playing defense. I would suggest traction wheels instead!

As for your other objectives I think you’ve narrowed your scope well! I don’t see much of a reason to score in the 2nd level of the Rocket if you’re not going for the top level. It would make things much easier to just focus on the low level objectives. As a rookie team I would suggest putting a ton of power in your drivetrain and get super good at running from the feeder station to the Cargo Ship. Be able to drive on the other side of the field without getting penalties and you’ll put yourself in a really good position to be playing in the Playoffs!

Ginger_Power, the reason we are thinking that we could score on the bottom two levels was because the arm design we have come up with would be able to reach the second level for cargo regardless, and with 3 teams, it may be ineffective at scoring since the lowest levels could be filled with cargo and hatches pretty quickly, which could leave our bot somewhat obsolete in the endgame…

We were thinking omni wheels could help us align with the different reflective tapes and floor tapes so that we could score quicker… Thoughts?

Good chance of being pushed around in general. Theyre also a little tricker to program and drive with (and iirc more expensive? I think they all need seperate motors/gearboxes per but I could be wrong) which will put you at an disadvantage.

I also agree with this. If you are going to do the middle, then you might as well do high. Doing all low is a very valid strat this year and will be sought after.


Vision and/or a linear slide on the mech itself can do this without sacrificing drivetrain performance.



Lol yeah obviously that isn’t a good idea. I will alert my team. So do you guys think we should focus on being able to quickly score hatches and panels on the first level?

Definitely. A robot that can score quickly in the cargo hold will be a very good pick for elimination rounds.

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I would point you to JVN’s blog (148 mentor) if you’re asking fundamental questions like “what and where are we scoring?”

Specifically, his newest post about priorities is something a lot of teams should read about. Even just reading the “Beatty-Krunch” Effect section will help you a lot. (

TLDR, do you want to be GREAT at placing on the ground bays? or do you want to risk stretching your resources so thin by trying to do the 2nd level that you don’t have a shot at winning a match?


My team seems to be set on getting onto HAB level 2 and scoring on the rocket levels 1 and 2. We now think we might go for either a tank drive or pneumatic wheels? I think having a basic mechanism that can get hatch panels and cargo into the first levels would be efficient and optimal for a rookie team but they don’t seem to agree.

I don’t think it’s too late to redefine your priorities, especially if you’re reducing the number of tasks you need to complete. Doing less things more effectively is always better than doing everything at a mediocre level. Definitely check out the blog post that Chris linked above, and see if any of the takeaways from there could help convince your teammates.

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Have you guys started prototyping yet? One thing I would recommend is to start moving as soon as possible (as in both the robot moving, and the people moving to construct the robot).

We are just starting to cut our drivetrain now. We are thinking that we will use plaction wheels. All we have been doing is designing and brainstorming so far.

I was a rookie student running a rookie team two years ago. One thing that we found hardest to do was to actually start building. You guys need to start building something (anything!) to start manipulating the game objects (i.e. grabbing them and scoring them).

The other thing I regret not doing is reaching out to other more experienced teams. Here is a list in your area Teams at FIRST are incredibly helpful; it’s hard to appreciate this until you go to your first competition.

Definitely shoot high. You can do it. You just got to start building.

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Alright, thanks for the advice.

As a fellow rookie(7461), there are a few things that could be refined about your strat:

  1. Level 2 hab climb is nice to have, but keep in mind the extra effort needed. If you’re planning on a level 2 climb, and can’t integrate it with other mechanisms, imo it’s not worth it
  2. Level 2 rocket is a waste of time. It means sacrificing speed on level 1, which is where 60% of the scoring opportunities in the match are, and won’t get you any bonus ranking points, as you still need level 3 for those
  3. Defense is a good idea, but you need to be super careful with this game
  4. Go with the kop drivetrain. It will save you so much time and effort, and will also help with defense

If you and your team have not done so yet, STUDY this video on Strategic Design if your team wants it’s dreams to come true.

an “arm”, if you mean reticulating, would be more difficult than necessary IMO. I would stick to an off the shelf elevator, like Greyt’s Cascade lift. I think you will be far less stressed and far more competitive if you stick to simple.

I am curious about your statement about “omni” vs tank drive…
Omni is a type of wheel and can be used with tank drive… many teams have gone 4 wheels with two being omnis or six with four wheels as omnis.
Omnis can also be mounted in such a way to allow travel in any direction … this requires independent control of all four and a different mounting scheme.

When you are saying omni vs tank drive what do you mean?

I also must concur with everyone else regarding the use of omni wheels and their deficits when facing defensive pressure. As a field coach I would always look for omni wheels on teams and alert our defender(s) to them when on the field.

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