What makes the Good, So good?

This is a question I’ve been pondering for quite some time, and wanted peoples opinions of it.

Every year some teams consistently field a robot that is just better than the rest. What makes these teams so good? They know who they are, 71 with back to back Championships, 60,118,308,254,343.33,45,47,157,126 and countless more. What makes these teams so good in you opinion?
Is it one or two dedicated mentors that just always lead the team in the right direction?
More money?
More school support?
Just a great group of students, (if this were true each teams reign would only last so long)
Or just great team chemistry.

Conversely you could look at it from the other perspective, what makes some of the great gracious teams such good role models? Some teams just come to my mind when you think of gracious professionalism 175,190,131 etc. What makes them get FIRST better than others?

This is just meant as a thinking question and I’m curious as to what responses I get.

Team 151
The Wildcards

It’s the mentors.

*Originally posted by Koko Ed *
**It’s the mentors. **

I agree. almost all the time, the students reflect the mentors and vice-versa.

Get an incompetant fool running the show: get a cut throat running the team with the objective only to win, at any cost, get someone who is malicious or a lira and cheater, and that often reflects in the students’s ethics and the how the team acts on field.

Get good, honest people acting as mentors, and the quality of students, and the team’s ethics and pride will definitely show.

What makes the great teams so great?

I think experience is key with fielding a great team. After a few years you now have some designs under your belt, you have an idea of the level of competition that you are likely to see. Above all you have a better understanding of the time constraints for this project. Teams after a few years also start to assemble the right people in the right places. Our first year many engineers joined and many students joined but only the dedicated stayed, the rest were never there in the long nights when we really needed them. Money? It is not everything, our robot was pretty complex but only cost us about 800-900 bucks to build outside of our own time. Many teams boast about how the engineers and mentors didn’t help them they did it all themselves. I don’t think thats the point of this, it’s a team, both students and engineers have to work Together. When you accomplish that, I think you will find the result to be pretty impressive. We didn’t win anything this year but I know everyone on the team feels great about building a competitive robot that didn’t break. I like to win as much or more than the rest but that’s enough for me.

The best team is one that takes mentors, engineers, and students, and blends them all together. End result, a great robot and an even better team. I think that some of the best mentors seem to be college students. The reason is because they’re closer to the high school kids, so a connection is easier to form. Plus, they’re all still kids at heart, so they’re just trying to have fun. Teachers are good mentors, but only if you get the really cool teachers. Some teachers aren’t the best, so you don’t want them. Now, most importantly, if the high school kids all get along with each other, that’s a major step. Get everyone to work together, accept their mistakes, and so on, and you will have the best team ever. You might not win, but deep down in your hearts, you are all truely winners.

More money?

Money and support from school is always big.:slight_smile:

I believe it is more than the mentors.

As a mentor myself I think there is more than being good. But for engineers it is the ability to recycle the knowledge, establish and pass on good processes, examine where organization can improve and above all else remember that we all work together.

The process is important documentation of what a team does from year to year will help the team grow and improve. Thus within a few years a team will know what works and what does not. Helping to improve the general planning.

As a team leader and being actively involved in our team for 8 years, I think that it is more than just one aspect. It is the synergism of teachers, engineers, students & parents that together make an impact greater than any one group or individual. Ideas from the past that worked resurface and are given new life. Students buy into the concept of a team, engineers delivera quality product, drivers work together, etc. People put aside their personal agendas and really pull for the team. Anyway that s my take Chucknye from 173

*Originally posted by Chucknye173 *
** I think that it is more than just one aspect. It is the synergism of teachers, engineers, students & parents that together make an impact greater than any one group or individual. **

Extremely well said, just to add to that " There is no I in team" The team works becasue it is, in fact a team everybody does there part and stuff gets done, some team are just better at it than others. :smiley:

This is a good question… I’ll give it a shot:

In order to compete at the highest level within FIRST, you need these things:

  1. Resources

  2. Leadership

  3. Teamwork

  4. “Resources” is a big one… it includes everything from engineering resources to fabrication resources and the ability to find a space to build your robot.

A good example of having the right resources was the design challenge of the Chipawua motor this year:
… A team with resources can get the engineering expertise to include this motor in the drive train in a short amount of time. Also, this team has the resources to get a specialty gear made in order to fit the requirements of the design.

Another example is having the resources to build a mock playing field and a space to not only build the robot, but also debug the robot on the field. This takes money to buy the field components, and the resource of shop space. For example:
… Our team (TechnoKats) had mediocre success from '92-97. In 1998, we acquired a large shop. That year, for the first time, we built an entire playing field and had more practice. We also build a second drive base that helped our drivers practice on the playing field. We’ve had a pretty good run since then.

In order to get a top-notch performing robot, the above category of “resources” is the most important. However… you can’t just win with a good robot. Leadership and Teamwork are huge factors.

  1. “Leadership” is also important. This includes adult and student leadership. Leadership means teaching, doing, listening, caring, and making tough decisions. Sometimes these leaders have actual leadership positions (student leaders, adult team leaders), but also leaders can be Freshman who are dependable and accoutable or parents who take on entire projects like travel planning or fundraising. Leadership takes a mixture of guts, risk, and patience. Leadership comes into play when there is pressure at hand or dissention among the team. A good leader is determined when they handle a tough situation with class and control. On bigger teams, the leadership mostly comes from a few people… not just one.

  2. “Teamwork”, of course is very important. Sure, engineering the robot is important… but so is scouting, strategy planning, fundraising, trip planning, communication, robot repair, and marketing.

Here are some examples of teamwork:
…Some teams had awesome robots this year, but didn’t get picked in the finals at the Championships because of a weak marketing effort. Part of the team must spend the time relating to other teams and getting to know all competitors. This is important and the more it’s done, the more enjoyable it is.

… Also, good teams have pit crews (students and adults) who routinely “kick out” teammates who need to be doing other things. For instance, my job at the competitions has been to strategize and plan for the our matches. If I get in our pit and start working on the robot, more than one person will kick me out of there. Some of my favorite moments are when our students have kicked adults out of our pit. This is done good-naturedly and is an enjoyable thing.

… Everyone needs to pitch in on the menial tasks. There should be no “freshman jobs” where only the rookies sweep, sort bolts, or clean up. Even the veterans should do the crappy jobs. However, this is also a two way street… the rookies need to understand that they need to learn the basics before they get to the higher level design stuff. Before they jump in and start designing gear trains, they need to know what the difference is between aluminum and steel… and they need to know that a #4-40 screw is dramatically smaller than a 1/4-20.

A very successful team knows where to get the resources to get the job done. It also has the right leadership to plan the trips, raise the funds, and lead the robot buid. Finally, a successful team includes everyone on the team to some extent. Alll bases are covered by the entire team working together.

Anyway, there is my $0.02 and then some,

Andy B.

I am going to take a bit of Andy’s note here and make a point…

… Everyone needs to pitch in on the menial tasks. There should be no “freshman jobs” where only the rookies sweep, sort bolts, or clean up. Even the veterans should do the crappy jobs. However, this is also a two way street… the rookies need to understand that they need to learn the basics before they get to the higher level design stuff. Before they jump in and start …

Numerous posts on Delphi have centered on Freshmen…from a major string on “what do you allow freshmen to do” to one recently where a person noted how good they are about cleaning up after regionals and the major part of their freshmen in cleaning.

Our team “grew up” once it was established that some freshmen are better contributors than some seniors and it was kindly noted that if a senior wants to “exert their authority” towards a person BECAUSE they are underclassmen, then the senior is VERY welcome to leave the team.

We do not have “freshmen” jobs. I totally understand that many upperclassmen know more about FIRST than underclassmen, their role is not to use it as a form of authority, but to teach underclassmen everything they know.

Putting down freshmen does nothing to build a team, it only causes division and starts a problem that will carry on forever.

Sorry for ranting, but if you want some success, treat others as YOU wish to be treated.

Hey where are people who worked on their team’s Chairman’s Award submission? :smiley:

It’s definitely more than the mentors. Of course, excellent mentors start the team off on the right foot, but there are so many more factors that determine “what makes the good so good”:

  • teamwork
  • enthusiasm
  • optimism
  • partnerships (hehe, getting into Chairman’s award terminology here)

etc :slight_smile:

Mentors are always helpful, and resources are necessary… but I think it’s the quality of the student involvement that ‘dictates’ the team’s success. Our engineers (who are excellent) pointed out a correlation to me concerning our team and success. Our two most ‘successful’ robot years were '99 and '02. Those years, the team “worked as a team” moreso than any other year. This year, I could see it in their eyes (my teammates), their unwavering will to succeed this year. They generally cared for the team. Sub-teams interacted well with other sub-teams. '00 and '01 were years of partitioning and an overall lack of communication between team members. These years were ‘less successful’.
Anyway… back to the topic…
Resources can be forged by a willing team of students. Engineers can be inspired by a willing team of students. I’ve found that optimism isn’t necessary for a good robot. In fact, many of our greatest designs came from pessimistic (and somewhat naive) people saying “eh, we’ll never be able to pull two goals… it’s too hard… it’s not worth it”. Enough influential people believed this and made the two goal grabbers more efficient and more effective. Of course, that might be irrelevant. But yeah… in summary, the most important aspect of a successful team inmy opinion is:

  • Enthusiasm in students
  • Teamwork in Students
  • Good Mentors (can’t leave them out :slight_smile: )


having a really great team leader(Werner) who is able to handle anything and can do everthing that needs to be done… the mentors are help but it is the team that make a really good robot… 871 has a really really great team and leader and mentor
(at least thats my opinon)

I believe that it is a group thng. The more you get to know them and the easier you can work with them the bettr you team will do.

My guess at why the ‘good’ are so ‘good’ could be considered somewhat irrelevant because teams develope into ‘good’ teams for many different reasons. But still… my guess is the people. For instance… all a ‘good’ team needs is one ‘go-getter’, one leader, one extremely ethusiastic FIRST participant that wants to do things and knows how to get things done. But, that one person needs people to support their ideas, their interests, and their enthusiasm. No team could be made up of one person… and if the Best FIRST Leader in the World is on a lazy team, that team is going nowhere. But back to the point… this is how it works in the beginning. Then, as years go by, those followers become leaders themselves, acquire new followers (I’m talking about new students and mentors), and that keeps going around in a full circle untill nearly everyone on the team is a leader and a constructive thinker. When a team has many willing and excited participants, they can do anything.



I belive that it is the partnership and determination of the members on ur team not just any one person.

** My opinion of how Team 25 operates**

Advisors - the give order to chaos bind the team together, analyse each student and gives them a role best suited to their abilities

Students - the “padawan learner” ( couldn’t help it big star wars fan probobly spelled it wrong to) they drive, build, maintain the robot. or they are the coolest mascot the FIRST world has ever seen. They are the learners because the advisors and
Engineers teach students how to do what they are doing

Engineers Engineers, we aint got no engineers. thats right the people that help us build our robot are tradesmen at Bristol Myers Squibb

Another thing that makes teams great is creativity and determination. If you can come up with an idea, with the right tools and hard work it can be accomplished