What does your teams Kickoff Day agenda look like?

With kickoff only 10ish days away, it’s the time of year where we are all planning our kickoff day, getting people ready to go to your KOP pickup locations, organizing lunches, etc. I’ve done kickoff the same way for many years with our team and I’ve never really stopped to ask what other teams do that day.

So… What does your team do on Kickoff Day start to finish? Below is our plans for 2024, but this is really a cut and paste of what we do every year with a lesson plan change here and there. Lunch is fluid depending on the length of the broadcast

Times in EST

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM: Welcome & Introduction

  • Welcome participants and introduce the day’s agenda.
  • Team mission and values recap.

10:20 AM - 11:20 AM: Team Building Activity

  • Engage students in an interactive game to foster teamwork and communication.

10:20 AM - 11:20 AM: Parent Meeting & Concurrent with Student Activity

  • Parents convene for a meeting to discuss the season’s support structure.
  • Coordinate FIRST inspires registration and Approvals

11:20 AM - 11:50 AM: Overview of FRC Robot Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid

  • Present the pyramid to students, explaining its relevance to the season’s approach.
  • Discuss the expected contributions from each subteam.

11:50 AM - 12:00 PM: Prep for Kickoff Broadcast

  • Get ready for the broadcast, ensuring everyone is seated and technology is set.

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM: Kickoff Broadcast Viewing

  • Watch the broadcast attentively to gather information about the game.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM: Lunch Break & Informal Game Discussion

  • Teams discuss their first impressions of the game over lunch.

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM: Deep Dive into Game Manual

  • Break into groups, with each dissecting different sections of the game manual.

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM: Strategy Brainstorming Session

  • Groups use brainstorming tools to develop initial strategies based on their understanding of the game.

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM: Kahoot Quiz on Game Rules

  • Create a Kahoot quiz to test everyone’s understanding of the game rules.
  • Students will play through the quiz and review answers, will be run for several weeks at subsequent meetings.

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM: Subteam Strategy Workshops

  • Subteams discuss how the game’s rules impact their specific roles and start formulating plans.

3:45 PM - 4:30 PM: KOP Planning Session

  • Prepare for the arrival of the KOP by discussing potential components and their strategic uses.
  • Upon arrival inventory all parts

4:30 PM - 4:45 PM: Subteam Integration Discussion

  • Subteams present their initial plans and discuss how they integrate with the overall team strategy.

4:45 PM - 5:00 PM: Wrap-Up and Next Steps

  • Summarize the day’s achievements.
  • Outline immediate next steps and assign responsibilities for upcoming tasks.
  • Cleanup and closure of the day’s session.

(all times CST)

  • 9:30-10:00 – Leadership Core sets up
  • 10:00-10:40 – Full Team discussion (Kickoff/Build season expectations)
  • 10:40-11:00 – Team photo (everyone, bring your team shirt)!
  • 11:00-12:00 – Watch the game reveal livestream from FIRST
    (Associates and other public viewers head out after the Livestream)
  • 12:00-1:30 – Break into groups, analyze the game manual, and eat lunch
  • 1:30-2:00 – Discuss the manual as a team
  • 2:00-2:30 – Recess
  • 2:30-3:45 – Break into groups, analyze game strategy
  • 3:45-4:30 – Experiment with game pieces
  • 4:30-6:00 – Finalize initial strategy
  • 6:00 – Go home and rest!

10:00-12:00 - pregaming: discuss what to expect, predictions, etc.
12:00-1:00 - watch live stream, one mentor will leave to pick up the tote(s)
1:00-2:00 - discuss first thoughts & ideas, brief look thru the manual
2:00 - send everyone home to read thru the manual, come up with ideas for prototypes, strategies, etc. (we’re only allowed in the building til 2 on Saturdays so we can’t do too much that day)

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That is rough… Is that every Saturday all season long? Do you meet on Sundays to try and get some of that time back or just more weekdays?

Yeah pretty much. Occasionally we can stretch from 9-2:30 but that’s about it. We do make up for it during the week, we meet from 2-9 four days a week and 2-4 on Tuesdays. Nothing on Sundays, but I’m pretty sure the students and mentors both appreciate the day off.

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Since we host a kickoff typically it goes:

11:00: Shop open, last minute clean up and setting up live stream

12:00: Watch kickoff

1:00: Rewatch animation and field tour videos. Help distribute KoPs. Begin reading rules. Anyone who has specific questions start asking me so I can make sure they are part of the group discussion

2:00: Everyone goes over all game and robot rules together to ensure we know all of our limits and don’t get to focused on a strategy before we fully understand the game. No aspect of how the robot will accomplish tasks is discussed.

5:00: Wrap up. Send everyone home

7:00: Discord meeting where we start showing each other basic cad, videos of old robots, etc.

9:00: Wrap up meeting

The next day we meetup at 12 and start our Need/Want/Don’t Want list of robot capabilities this typically goes till 3 we then make a list of things to prototype vs things to just start cadding till 4/4:30. Meet back up on discord at 6:30 to continue sharing ideas and CAD progress till 8:30/9.

Our biggest rule is don’t start designing before we fully understand the game, and decide the optimal strategy. Let those shape the design, don’t let your design decide your strategy


This is great advice and I’m gonna try to put this into use as part of brainstorming. We never have done a don’t want list. I think that will be a game changer as we are trying to eliminate different solutions. We end up with too many wants and needs and end up with a Frankenstein.

Also second your biggest rule. That is huge

  • 0800: Hop the back fence and walk to Kickoff (yes, by virtue of location I can about do that)
  • Either 0900 or 1015 (haven’t been told which): Present my new workshop, Ballin’ on a Budget: Cheap Thrills, Ugly Hacks, and Stealing Wins
  • 1200: Kickoff telecast
  • After the telecast: Get the kit, retreat to our shop. Read the manual and start diagramming out what robots can do in this game and the key robot constraints (possession, reaching outside the frame, size, etc). That’ll take us to about dinner time, so we put a bookmark in it there.

We’ll digest over the weekend and come back at it Monday evening, partly for our sanity and partly so we don’t get too married to a game ambiguity (usually cleaned up in the first team update) or something shiny that got way too much screen time in the game animation (hello, fuel).

Based on our experiences and technical abilities, I expect I’ll get the kids to come up with three concepts:

  1. The equivalent of last year’s human load cube pooper (because in season, we competed with…a human load cube pooper.)
  2. Something with two control surfaces above the drivetrain (we demonstrated we could ship that at SCRAP in the off-season)
  3. What would 4451 do? (They’ve had seven event wins, three of them in the last two years, and took silver on Roebling 2022. You could do worse than to visualize that.)

By figuring out how much of the game each covers, I think we’ll be in a position to figure out how far we need to reach. With us intending to go swerve for the first time in 2024, I’m going to be more sensitive than usual to overreach.

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Wow I guess we meet late on kickoff day! We won’t be getting out of the school until at least 10PM. Our day is going to be a lot less structured than what I’ve seen posted here so far. Depending on the game, we might deep dive into strategy and build field elements… or we might end up building a bunch of prototypes of manipulators. We have certain items on our list that we want to hit, but for the most part we’ll go with the flow and be prepared for anything.


I will say kickoff is our shortest weekend day. Usually we aim for 9:00 am to 5:00 pm for all weekend meetings. As build season nears the end we usually stay later because people want to keep working. We don’t wanna be on the hook for two meal times mainly

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Time in PST

8-9 Set up the shop

9-9:30 Reveal Video

9:30-10:30 manual review

10:30-12 Strategy

12-12:30 Lunch/scrum

12:30-1:20 Brainstorming in subsystem groups

1:20-2:30 Subsystem groups present brainstormed ideas/strategy conformation

2:30-6 Continue brainstorming/possible prototyping

6-6:30 dinner/scrum

6:30-8:30 Present brainstormed ideas again/possible prototype findings/reconfirm strategy

8:30-9 Debrief


Usually some variation of this in our corner:


±15/16:00 Arrival/opening speeches
±16:00-18:30 Workshops
±19:00 fun activities
20:00 Watch the broadcast
±21:00 pick up the kit and leave kickoff event

For me personally it will be more like

±9:00 head to the office,
prepare for the broadcast
make sure the live translators are ready
ensure the live restream in simultaneously translated Turkish goes well
±22-23:00 head home(and finally, starting next week, it should be my own home and not my friend’s couch :slight_smile: ).


I still have one wondering. Does everyone from the team participate in every discussion during kickoff? I understand the need for build and programming students to attend, but many of our non-technical students aren’t that interested in the robot design/strategy – especially if they are new. We are trying to make some of the discussions optional this year, however, I feel like part of kickoff is the great team bonding and feeling like a full team rather than programming, build, and non-technical. Any suggestions are welcome on how to balance student engagement and team cohesion!

I think it’s important everyone participates in the beginning even if they aren’t going to have good mechanism ideas. In the very early stages it’s all about getting them to understand the game and the rules and finding any strategies that will save you time and maximize points. That’s something anyone can do. It’s reading the manual, talking about the game and scoring points. You can do that without knowing anything about what the robots can do. Your veterans will know what is possible or impossible based on their experience.

When you get down to final decisions on drive train type, mechanism design etc it should be more focused to the people doing that task. We have the same issue where maybe 25% of the team doesn’t want to be part of the robot specific discussion, but they definitely all want a say in the overall season strategy planning

edit: One way to keep them involved without the robot specifics is to force them to play the game as humans while following the rules from the manual. This really helps it sink in what the robots must do and it reteaches the rules through muscle memory. Even without field props, just laying out where field elements are and how it is to travel between distances on the field, etc.


Thanks! Yeah, making those final decision discussions optional might be the way to go. We also might end up making the time of the discussions simply a regular non-technical practice given we have still quite a bit to do regarding sponsors.

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For people looking for longer-format ideas that other teams have used, several videos are out there with their approaches to kickoff and week 1 of build season; here are a couple I know of but I’m pretty sure there are more:

And of course Karthik’s classic presentation includes information on planning your initial design amongst other topics:

Maybe these videos are a bit off topic if someone is specifically looking for schedules rather than what to do during that time in the initial part of build season, I suppose.


These are definitely good activities to do on Kickoff Day. Especially pre broadcast if you meet early. For us at least this is stuff I’d put where I have our Review the FRC Pyramid of Needs lesson. Feels relevant to me. We view some of these in preseason, but a review right before they get engrossed in the new game is great

Kickoff is a long day for us. We drive 4 hours to our kickoff location. Kickoff starts with training classes. Everyone gets to choose 2 out of the 10 classes. Classes are done by different teams and we are doing 4 this year. So some students are presenting and the rest go to the other classes. Most sleep on the morning drive and read the game manual on the way home. We do try to drive a couple hours towards home and stop to eat. That is very good for the team because it’s the first time that we all get to talk.

4:15 am Arrive at shop
4:30 am leave shop (2-3 cars)
8:30 am arrive at kickoff
8:45 am Kickoff Breakout Classes Session 1
9:45 pm Kickoff Breakout Classes Session 2
10:45 am FIRST Knowledge Bowl
11:00 am Kickoff Video Begins
11:30 am Game Reveal Video Begins
12:15 pm Kit Distribution and Strategy Meetings/Field Tour Videos Begin
12:30 pm Large Multi Team Group Strategy Session
1:30 pm End of Kickoff
5:30 - 6:30 pm get back to shop


We attend a larger kickoff with about a dozen teams. Hosted by team 3102, they’ve been hosting for years and do a really nice job.
We have a full Andy Mark field setup and will be creating cardboard field elements for a sense of scale on kickoff day.
We bring every member of our two teams that is willing and able to attend.

10:00 —Doors Open
10:30 AM —Live from HQ speakers
(Dean and additional speakers)
11:00 AM —Worldwide Kickoff
12:00 PM —Broadcast Ends
12:15-12:45 PM — Lunch
KOP Handout, Rule Book Printing
12:45-1:30 PM—Classes-Field Tape &
Element Mock-Up

Breakout Sessions

● Let’s Get Loud!
● Game Manual Reading
● Let’s build a field
● FIRST Ladies
● Mechanical
● Scouting

We return to our school around 2:30 or 3:00.
Start going through the manual again, make a rubric of all possible scoring situations.
Discuss RP rules.
Watch field tour videos as a group.
Look at year specific robot rules ie size restrictions, reach restrictions, etc.
Parents are invited in for a potluck at about 4:00.
Introduction of team mentors to parents explain expectations of students to parents and a rough layout of how the season progresses.
Usually out the door by 5 or 6:00.


Our agenda is not very unique, but we did decide several years ago to have breakout teams to review specific sections of the game materials instead of everyone trying to review the full manual. So we do breakout teams first then come together as a full team to review highlights from the subteams.

Our breakout sessions are:

  1. Tournament rules and scoring. This would including rank points, tie breakers and working on scoring estimates.
  2. Field elements and game pieces. This team reviews field tour videos and layout drawing looking for items that will impact robot design including sight lines, protected zones, and choke points.
  3. Robot constraint rules and key game related fouls. This team is looking at size, weight, or other game specific robot rules. They also review tech fouls, yellow cards, and red cards for items that may impact robot design or general game strategy.
  4. Autonomous team. Looks at all autonomous rules, tasks available and how will an alliance coordinate autonomous. The task list will eventually be used for needs / wants list for our robot.
  5. Tele-op team. Same goals as the auto team.
  6. Endgame team. Same goals as the auto team.

We usually finish up our needs / wants list on Sunday.


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