Strategy Conferences

Stadiums are great for sports for many reasons. One of these is the fact that they get very loud. FIRST competitions are no exception. After trying to strategize last year I have one suggestion that I would make to FIRST. Provide conference rooms, or at least somewhere that isn’t quite as loud for the teams to discuss what they want to do. Anyone agree?

I think it’s great the way it is. A part of the challenge is to work with what you have. There is a quiet place in every stadium if you look around enough. We have had no problem strategizing away. Let’s assume you do have a conference room, how would it work? If anyone could go in and out at any time, it would also become crowded and loud. If you had to wait in a line, you are just wasting too much time.

At least at BAE there is a walkway around the perimeter of the arena that is shielded from the noise so if you really want to have quiet you can go there. Personally I like the noise, it adds to the pressure and the feel of the competition. In the words of Alan Anderson “This is a high-energy sporting event, not a piano recital.”

If there are unused stands that you can use, those make a good place. Close enough to the pits (at regionals) to watch the robot, but far enough that you’re not likely to get interference.

I think that the atmosphere is great the way that it is. The cheering and reactions of the crowd make it what it is. Also, at BAE there was plenty of room to talk in open stands and in the pits, I guess it truly depends on the competition site and the food. (food being a random fact submitted by a programming team member) Anyways, why fix something that is not broken.

At the Pacific Northwest regional, I don’t believe it ever got too loud to talk or think, at least in the pits.

Even so, for convenience’s sake our team had our strategy meetings at least once or twice a day in the hotel room of our lead mentor. The hotel was a short walk and an even shorter drive from the stadium, so we were able to move back and forth between them relatively easily. That was where we discussed game strategy and scouting, so we didn’t have to compete for volume in the pits. I would recommend this for all teams, it made a nice wrap-up and debrief meeting for the team, there were pretty much enough places for people to sit, and we didn’t have people wandering away randomly, as there was nowhere to go. This worked great for our team. The only way I see it not working was if a team was too large to fit in a single hotel room. In that case, I suppose it would work well to have a conference room.

I wasn’t scouting or stratigizing, but at VCU it got really loud. Seriously, I was in the pit the whole time, and on the last day I got so hoarse from shouting over music and drills, I went to Kroger and got Halls. Suddenly I becam very popular in our pit.

For the finals last year at Chesapeake our team and alliances simply went outside and talked during lunch. But for the qualifying matches we just talked in between matches and such to our scouts in the stands and mentors in the pits. Sometimes you simply don’t have the time to find somewhere quiet to talk.