Vote to change the format of FIRST.

FIRST try’s to be fair to all teams but in the 9 years I have been involved in FIRST this has always bothered me.

Teams that have a lot of money have a big advantage.

  1. They can afford to go to many events thus getting more time to practice and work on their robot.
  2. They can build multiple robots so they can work on and practice with their “practice bot”.


Everyone keep their robot and work on it till they go to their first competition and then they take it with them to the competition.

  1. Everyone will have the same amount of time to work on their robot.
  2. Shipping costs will be less.
  3. Teams can make changes and get better and learn more during the season.
  4. Teams can practice locally with other teams.
  5. There would be no need to build multiple robots.

I see this really helping rookie teams and small teams (which is most of us). If a team only goes to one event and it is a fourth week event they are tremendously disadvantaged because they are playing against teams that have been competing for 3 weeks. This way teams can watch and learn and make changes over the whole build season until they go to their event.

Students are most engaged in the robot at the end when the robot ships and after an event. Having the robot around this whole time will allow them to learn more and be more engaged.

Hope you support this please respond and if not please explain.

This is in no way trying to make the competition season longer. I would like to see the season shortend by a week or 2. I would like a 5 week build and at the end of the 5 weeks start the competitions. This is about inspiring kids and working with them on the robot so they can learn.

This can’t, and doesnt work for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives those competing at later regionals more time than those in earlier regionals. Secondly, there are a number of events where its impossible, or impractical, or breaks union agreements for teams to bring their bots in. There are more reasons than just these, but they’re not coming to mind at the moment.

Additionally, as it is right now, there was only 9 days between ship and wk 1 regionals.

I don’t think you are reading this correctly. Everyone keeps there robot and takes it from event to event. The robot never leaves their hands. So everyone has the same amount to time to work on their robot.

All Michigan teams and some others are bringing their robots to events now. I believe the union reason can be gotten around. We bring our tools in right now. If you had to you could just pay the union people the hours of work they would have got. It can’t cost that much money to move some creates around.

You just ignored everything that was said in that post. Just because certain venues don’t have unions doesn’t mean others won’t.

This is a competition run by a company, not by teams. We can’t vote a change to the system. It is this way for a reason.

I also can’t imagine that there really are rules that disallow you to bring in a robot, yet allow teams to bring in the pits, saws, tables, battery carts, etc…that I see at all the events…

If FIRST wants to be able to continue holding events in the same venues, they have to abide by the rules the unions give them. Everyone DOESNT have the same time to work on their robot. With your system it would make Week 6 Regionals FAR FAR more competitive than Week 1 regionals. They’re bad enough as it is with multiple event teams having some on-field time. If their build season was 13 weeks instead of 6, it would be a completely different game. FIRST is trying to keep the level of competition at least somewhat similar from event to event, week to week. Yes, everyone would have had the SAME time to work on it, but later events have MORE time than earlier ones, and thats the problem.

Did you read the update from FIRST that implied this, right at ship day? There are union issues at at least one of the venues, and because of that, ALL of the regionals have to play by the same rules to be fair for everyone.

Furthermore, everyone seems to be getting hung up on the union comment. At many of the venues it is a non-trivial task to do team load-in of all the tools and such. If you add the robots to it too, it would take substantially longer, and you would lose extremely valuable practice time on Thursday.

FIRST has always been open to trying different things. They want to expand on the learning being done by students. If they could find a true benefit in a system such as this why not give it a try to benefit those, who the program has bulit for. Last year the tried the Michigan Pliot system it worked. Now I believe they added to more bag and tag events. Yes, the current system isn’t broken, but why not try it? It’s a proposal, if you work in a company, everything starts out this way.

Just my one and half cents…

Originally (in the 90’s) the robot was brought in by teams. They have changed since then. There was probably a reason and there is probably a reason why it is still that way.

From what I know, there are no week 6 events. Yet, think about teams who can afford to make practice bots. They continue to work on making there robot better as the weeks go on. They transfer what they learn from that practice bot to the real machine. Thus, they are working on the robot the entire season.

We are the costumers. FIRST works for us we pay them. The venues work for FIRST. If enough of us want something, usually we can get it. This is a proposal for next year or after that. Union rules are contracts and contracts can be changed and altered.

I do agree that at all events you would have to be able to bring in your robot so that it is fair to everyone.

I see it as teams would just take advantage of the time, and most would sign up for the later regional’s in their location. I feel as if though teams have enough time to build very well built robots in these 6 weeks and why change it if its been working. All i would say is to maybe for those who have harsh conditions and extreme circumstances be allowed more time to the equivalent of 6 weeks.

Also, I think theres some misconceptions about multiple event teams. There are only a handful of teams who attend 3 or more regionals. This number is probably less than 10 total, of all teams in FIRST. There are a relatively large number of 2 event teams, particularly in areas where two regionals are held within 2 hours of each other (GTR and Waterloo, for example). 2 Event teams probably comprise about 20% or so of teams in FIRST. The rest only go to one event. It would be interesting to see some actual numbers to back this up (yeah, I could do it, but I don’t have the time). But its not really fair to say you’re up against teams that have been playing for 3 weeks. You MIGHT be playing with 2 or 3 teams for which that is true. The majority of teams however, are in the same boat as you.

My Advice: Spend less time complaining about FIRST’s rules and spend the time fundraising and building a second robot. I think you will get much better results this way.

There is no advantage to one team or another. We all would have the same amount of time to work on the robot. Sure week six would have more competition as it does now. But right now the teams that can afford to go to 4 events have a huge advantage because they get 3 days to work on their robot at every comp when everyone else got none because they couldn’t afford more competitions.

I also think teams have alot of misconceptions about the concept of a practice bot. Yes, some really big, really well funded teams build a practice bot that is functionally identical to their competition bot. These teams are DEFINITELY in the minority, and there are not very many of them. Many teams build a “practice bot” that is considerably different from their competition bot (perhaps its just a drivebase). This does not have to be overly expensive to do, as it could be built out of steel instead of aluminum, and you’re allowed to keep the control system components, so the only major cost would be transmissions and wheels.

Honestly, some teams are really good, and will continue to be really good regardless of whether you let them build practice bots, keep their bots, or anything else.

And these are the teams that win it all. EVERY YEAR.

+1 to this sentiment. As I said, a practice bot does not have to be expensive.

At your convenience, please introduce me to a team that win it all every year. There is only one team that has won the top event more than two times, and it took them a decade.

Going to multiple events is NOT why they win. These teams are GOOD. They spend most of build season prototyping, and designing, and perfecting their mechanisms before they build them. They have a very effective program, and yes, some of them have large sponsorships, but not all of them do. Going to multiple events helps, but how do you explain why these same teams consistently do well even when they attend Week 1 regionals?

Yes, there are perennial powerhouses. Yes, they’re tough to beat. Yes, the competition is better because of them, because younger, less experienced, and less competitive teams strive to beat them, strive to follow in their footsteps. Don’t ask them to back down to the level of everyone else. Get everyone else up to their level. They will help you, just ask them for help.