What incentives do you give your Match Scouters?

I would like some ideas on what sort of incentives to give our Match Scouters at competitions. What do people do? While I appreciate what has been posted on scouting philosophy, I’m looking for concrete ways to reward scouters for their efforts throughout the competition. I’m also looking for ways to make it more fun.


I have special stadium seats for my scouters. It helps them focus, see the field better, and helps me keep tabs on them. I have seen other teams have specific scouting snacks, available only to match scouters. My team doesn’t do this, but I can see the benefit.


At our post-season party, I recognize the scouts in general and award prizes to a scouting MVP from each event.


get the drive team to tell them every so often.
" hey thanks for catching XXX on team ####, that right there won us the match"


Scouting lead got a pretty big budget this year. We got a bunch of nice stadium chairs, a sweet phone charging setup, and ample money for snacks specifically for scouts.


My team just implemented "you’re in 2 teams. Whichever team scouts better, gets candy. "No idea how it’ll work yet.


Being able to come to the competition


Blue banners are usually a good incentive. Hard to win events without good scouting!


But how would you verify that? You need a third, unbiased scouting team to verify the results, and another team to verify that, and then Discourse doesn’t let me make smaller text but you get the point.

How do you handle situations where a student could literally just walk to the comp from their house, like SVR?

  • Keep it fun. Tangible: encourage playing along with the crowd games (dancing, emcee shenanigans), encourage teammate conversation… Have a time to share funniest robot moments at the end of the day (on field, in pit, etc) - for some, being able to tell the best story to get the most laughs is a pretty solid incentive.

  • Rotate your scouts. Bathroom breaks, concession stand visits, pit roaming are all things that everyone should be able to do.

  • 1296 tried doing a competition where scouts would “bet” (guess) on the next match. You can go as easy as “who will win” down to things like “score differential” “who will hang” etc. Most points got some candy or an amazon gift card or something. Requires post-event work to tally up the winners, but adds some external incentive.


We are more competitive at events when we scout.

We also don’t have enough students for anyone to have a choice. Sometimes parents fill in when students have to work on other things.

Each member of our team attending an event is expected to fulfill a role that helps our team in whatever we are trying to accomplish throughout the event. Pit crew, drivers, scouts, awards presenters, outreach, etc. All important. We limit the amount of students who can attend a competition based on things like how many roles there are to fulfill, amount of adult supervision available, and whether or not we need to travel.

For a local event, if a student was explicitly told they could not attend (which would only happen in the most extreme situations), I imagine we would send them home or ask them to sit somewhere else. This isn’t really a problem, so this is sort of a hypothetical answer for a hypothetical question.


You can decrease the size of text three times.


That’s why it’s a new thing. Maybe like predicting matches with already scouted scouting data? I honestly don’t know because it’s so new (and I’m volunteering at events anyways)

Great ideas and very concrete. I particularly liked the idea of guessing what will happen in a match. I think I’ll look at the schedule and highlight a few matches throughout the competition that I think will be interesting and have people submit their guesses for one or more of the following: who will win, over/under scores, a specific robot’s total auto or tele, number of hanging robots, etc. The prize will be something from the treat bags.

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Here’s a game I made for my scouters during competition. I’ll make several copies and cut up the sheets so that they are little rectangles. I’ll pass them out for an upcoming match that I think is interesting. I have six different templates so I can ask 6 slightly different sets of questions to ensure they don’t get bored answering the same ones. I’ll have my match scout managers score them immediately and distribute the prizes. I’ll have them circle Red or Blue to indicate which alliance they think will win. For the other questions, they will need to answer with a number. The closest number to the actual number within 5 gets a point. If it’s not within 5 points, they don’t get a point. The person with the most points wins. There is no tie-breaker. If three people win, they all get prizes. If the highest score is +1, the winners get something like a little tootsie roll. +2 gets a better prize, and +3 gets an even better prize. If we find it’s too complicated, we’ll simplify it. I think this might make it a little bit more interesting for them AND it may help them pay more attention to the match.

Competition Game for Scouters.docx (15.3 KB)

a whip or a hanger, depending on how competent the scouters are

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This year we got cushioned seats for our scouts. Hopefully, our scouting alliances work out even better than they did last year, and actual scouting is distributed enough to only need 1 or 2 shifts through a whole weekend which should be an incentive in itself.

We also have a strong correlation of scouting and doing well, so hopefully that keeps up this season too as an incentive.

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The scouting app we developed (Peregrine) has a leaderboard of how many reports each scout has submitted. We’ve considered doing giftcard giveaways for the top scouters, but just having a leaderboard in the first place has motivated some people. It’s a weak attempt at gamification but it’s been somewhat effective.

(names censored for privacy)


I like it! I’ll put my data person on it @fharding.

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