Week 1 Practice field experiences ?

What were the practice fields like during week 1? I’m interested in how much teams were allowed to shoot and at what distances?

We didn’t have the best build season and we are competing week two. Our shooter really started working for the first time today, and there is a two day snowstorm coming starting tonight… So we may have limited use of it this week.

At kettering we did some shooting wasnt a full length but pyramid to the goal distance. THey had a nice net contraption over top of it which looked pretty funny. Worked well enough for our team.

Credit to Daniel Ernst

At FLR, they let people sign up for two pyramid testing slots and one goals slot. It was great because it nearly tripled the use of the field. My only complaint is that the practice fields did not have chains, which was unfortunate, as it is one of the few things many teams didn’t plan for with their home practice fields. It was also unfortunate not to have a pyramid goal unavailable.

At Hub City there was a regulation pyramid the proper distance from three wooden goals, and a 3 slot panel next to the goals. There was a carpeted area from the goals to approx. 4-5 ft. out from the pyramid on the other 3 sides. There was enough room to do some shooting in and around the pyramid, and work on climbing. No long distance shooting or full field driving. Shots through and over the wooden goals were a bit of a problem for the nearby pits.

The practice field at Palmetto did not have carpet under the pyramid. We have a floor pickup arm and our strategy is to do 3, 5, or 7 disk autonomous to get ahead quickly. With no carpet (just a slick masonite board), we were unable to tune our 5 and 7 disk autonomous modes on the practice field. This was severely limiting, as we were only able to try things during matches. In our last two qualification matches we sacrificed our working 3 disk autonomous mode for the chance to try our untested 5 disk routine, but without test field tuning, we scored no autonomous points. Unfortunately the same field will be at our next regional, as well, so things won’t be any better. We’ll have to get in as many practice matches as possible, just to do tuning we should be doing on the practice field.

Our experience with the folks running the field was great. Although they tended to let folks run over their scheduled times, they also worked to get as many teams on the practice field as possible. Once, they had three robots working on climbing, us working on tuning our shooting range, and a fifth team at the feeder station, all at once. We all worked to stay out of each others way and be as GP as possible, as we all wanted to keep practicing. I’d much rather work with people like that than “practice field Nazi’s” who enforce the letter of the schedule.

It was a lot of fun practicing with that many teams around. Everyone was applauding each others successes as we got systems to work.

I think kettering’s setup was in itself pretty awesome. Teams worked well professionally and smoothly, telling others their plans and making sure everyone was careful and cautious. I believe we had 4-5 (maybe 6) teams in there at once.

It just goes to show you that even with such a small area, everyone can help each other out and make the most of any space.

To add to this, the goals were not set at the right distance away from the base of the pyramid.

Additionally, everything was crammed into the corner. For us it was particularly unpleasant because we couldn’t set up the robot in our usual spot for autonomous testing.

As far as practice fields go, definitely a poor display.

  • Sunny G.

BAE also had masonite below the pyramid. However, it was removed. This helped shooters but hindered climbers because the first bar was then too high.

I hope they remedy this by week 2.

We suspected this, too. We tuned our shot distances on the practice field, only to find ourselves missing shots during matches. Our programmers and drivers compensated by tweaking shooter power values and shooting positions based on field performance.

At Hatboro Horsham District, the practice field was ~1/4 field in size, and had a pyramid and high and middle goals. Aside from the missing retro reflective material on the high goal, (which we quickly fixed) the field was perfect for tuning out shooter and chasing some other issues.

We ran in to the same issue at Palmetto. Our team manually measured the proper distance to figure our where we need to be to calibrate our autonomous and automatic shooter. Moral of the story: bring a tape measure.

It also had a low goal and loading slots and was fully carpeted.

I’m intrigued as to how those who went to Kettering liked having the practice field right next to queuing? I know a few teams took great use of the proximity, having to track them down myself for queuing.

Not having the full vision target was a big problem for us (only
the top and bottom sections of tape were in place).
The “we” in that sentence above was team 341 who
donated enough retroreflective tape to make up for the missing
bits on sides. That saved our bacon. Thanks 341.

It was not fully carpeted. Under the pyramid was exposed masonite so
there was an additional taped carpet edge all the way round
which is not present on the real field.
This proved problematic for us cause our intake is low enough on the floor
to get caught on edges like that. Simple solution was a well-timed
“manual lift” operation to avoid the problem bump… Not pretty
but effective and the practice field allowed us to fine tune our
autonomous. The overall carpeted area was large enough that a team
could shoot through the pyramid while another team was working
off to the side, either shooting or using the feeding station or low goal.

All the team drawing versions, except the pyramid which was real (50-50 red blue). Thanks to Daisy for putting up the retro-reflective, and to whoever put the slide on the middle feeder goal. We fixed it at angle permanently and intend to bring some polycarb ones to Chestnut Hill if we’re allowed to attach it.

All in all, the HH field ran very well. The wait time for us was never insane, everyone cooperated well, and it was amazingly calm and organized for the number of frisbees ejected out of it–that Kettering net is smart. Up to 2-4 teams at a time, depending on what they were doing.

I loved it. It was great for when there were huge delays in the match scheduling or when you had come out a little too early, you could just swing by it and practice for awhile before you went onto the field. Also with everyone helping each other out like i stated early, it just went smooth and great.

It was up to the regionals as to how to setup for climbing pratice, ie hardboard or other floor protectant under the pyramid. FIRST is providing some hardboard to some events, but most events are on their own.