Thoughts on the competiton balls

Like many teams, Team 1073 was forced to practice with non-competition balls all year. Comparing those stiff, heavy, sticky balls to the ones we used today at Manchvegas would be like comparing a well broken in basketball to a greased water balloon.

However, this turned out to be a blessing for our robot, which didn’t ride up on many balls, and our human players adapted well enough.

Since all this hubbub has been made about the balls…what do you think? Was it overblown? Is the discrepency in the ball types overwhelming for your robot or human players? (I saw a lot of HP’s overshooting their goal with these lighter, greasy balls).

Personally, I think that I could improve even upon my already good accuracy had I practiced with comp balls all year long. And we would have not had to design and implement such elaborate countermeasures for the stickiness of the practice balls had we had the idea that these comp balls are so greasy.

Love to hear your thoughts.


Often overinflated lol.

I know that our robot doesn’t handle these balls the same that they did the ones we had. Our human player did well.

as HP the first few matches felt so ackward… even from pacticing two weeks straight w/ the competition ball ONLY!!! i still had to lighten my shot… what felt worse was towards the end of the competition when the balls lost thier slipperiness i had to re adjust to shoot harder… UGH!!! really didnt like the greasiness but nothing they can do about it really except to wear them in…

My team has two human players… Andy and I thought the balls just felt weird… Being all slippery in the start and in the end it wore off… He missed only 5 out of like 35 shots and I missed 3 out of like 35 also… The robot had a little trouble with the balls being too deflated and rode up on them… They were all different shapes and sizes by the end of the day… It felt weird…

ok well i was kinda upset with the way they had the balls at the new jersey regional. they were not inflated properly. the FIRST people were inflating the balls as the ones on the field popped. so they were oversized. and the big yellow balls had this funny film on them which made them slippery for the first few matches. when you go to regionals ask them to wipe the big balls down before any use with them.

I think the whole controversy was over blown. The only time you are allowed to assume a spherical ball is in physics class. In reality, the world engineering is based in, the balls really are inflated and deformed into all sorts of shapes and textures. You must be able to adapt your robot and players to them. I like what FIRST said about it best: They consider it part of the “Game Challenge”

At the BAE regional I filled up about 90% of the Big and Small balls, I noticed the film on the small balls, and posted on CD about the problem. I filled the small balls using the 13" box that FIRST supplied. Once the ball touched all four sides of the the box I stopped filling. With the big balls it was a bit tougher I had to use the robot inspection box to measure the 30 inches in Diameter. One problem with the big balls was that over night they would sometime loose over an inch in size and had to be filled up again.


the ball inconsistencies didn’t really bother us, even though our bot was designed for the most part to focus on them. if you have a bot that sucks up the small balls, and the slippery surfaces are hurting you, there is some great grippy tape stuff that you can get to increase your gription.

I was the human player for team 957 at the PNW Regional, and I did have quite a few problems with the balls. But, then I found the answer. Baby powder. If you put baby powder on your hands before you go into play, you don’t notice the slipperyness (is that a word?) so much. Also, practice makes perfect. During the practice rounds, I was probably shooting a 60%, but by the next day, I would estimate a 97% average. They weren’t so bad AFTER you got used to them. But, still, yuck.

baby powder… hhhmmmm

/note to self… buy and test baby powder on Thursday @ UTC… /end note to self

Question: Were the balls inflated to the same diameter (13") at competition? This seems like a dumb question but last year, when my team attended the Chesapeake regional, the bins at competition were not the same width (skinny side) as the bins that FIRST suggested we order… didn’t take us long to figure that out.

You should check with the referees to make sure you don’t violate <T08> or <R15>

At the NJ regional we tried to keep them at the regulation size of 13". Though after many bot handled them and many HP’s shot them, they not only changed their diameter size but also became a little oblong. You should remember this is part of the game and they will not be checked that often during the day for size. They normally are checked in the morning and if time allows, during a break.

At BAE, yes 13". As I said before I did about 90% of the Big and Small Balls.


I saw a few teams that had difficulty using the new balls - at the UCF regional, one ball-collector team that catches all 18 (most of the time) balls from the ball release bin built their ball ejection mechanism based on the balls that they were given. Now, with these new balls, they can only eject a few balls (3 or 4) of the 18 or so that they carry. They’re currently upgrading, but that’s probably the most extreme case of the balls interfering with robot design.

did any one else pop a yellow ball? i saw one get popped at VCU… that scares me cuz there pretty beafy balls

Yeah, one team (can’t remember the number) had a hook paired with their ball-handling system, and they came down too fast and popped one of the balls with their hook (accidentially). It surprised everyone, even though severals teams popped their balls or had problems with them way before competition.

two yellow balls popped at the NJ regional

If i remember right as being on the field, i think it was more like 4 or 5 total that poped through out the event. It seems that most of the big balls that pop are not specifically from the bot it occurs with, yet in the previous match the ball is damaged and it completly fails in the following match.