Tournament prep

Get Your Team Ready for Their Next Competition

Many teams have already begun the competition season, while others are still excitedly waiting for event day. Regardless of where you are at, this information is to highlight some specific resources that get your team ready for their next competition.

As you prepare for the season ahead, in all the excitement of getting ready (building, programming, engineering notebook making, outreach, etc.), we wanted to take a moment to share some great tips experienced coaches/mentors have shared with us over the years.

  • STAY CALM. It might feel like there is so much to do before the competition, but just know, you are doing an amazing job.
  • You MUST have ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses for every team member and guest (including parents).
  • Even if your robot is not competition ready, GO TO YOUR EVENT. Attending an event is the best way for your team to learn from other teams, ask for help from volunteers, and learn from their fellow FIRST Tech Challenge participants.
  • Learn when to STOP ADDING FUNCTIONALITY to your robot. It is better for your robot to be consistent when it arrives at competition. A week or two before your event, have your team work on practicing, testing, more testing, and more practicing. Last minute adds may not benefit your robot as much as spending time testing, practicing, and packing.
  • PRACTICE YOUR JUDGE INTERVIEW. FIRST is More than RobotsSM. All events above a Meet level has a Judge Interview component (Game Manual Part 1, Section 5.4 and Section 10.3). Please review the Game Manual to ensure your team understands what to expect during the interview. FIRST has also created a Team Judging Self-Reflection Worksheet (under Preparing for Competition). Practice sharing your experiences over this season (both ups and downs) and explaining how your robot works. Try to ensure that everyone on the team understands how your robot works and can navigate your Engineering Notebook.

Email provided by:
Tina De Giso
FIRST Tech Challenge Program Coordinator

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology
200 Bedford Street | Manchester, NH 03101 | www.firstinspires.org
Phone: 603.666.3906 x 237 | tdegiso@firstinspires.org
Connect: @firstweets | facebook

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How to Prep for an Event

photoBlog post from: http://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-prep-for-event.html

It is well into the FIRST Tech Challenge Season and events are in full swing. If your team has not done so, make sure to connect with your local Affiliate Partner and register! If your event is just around the corner, this blog post is for you.

Events can be stressful, not only for Rookie teams, but also Veterans. You may ask yourself, “Do you have all the tools you will need? Do you have your Engineering Notebook? Did you remember to pack the Robot?”

What to Pack

When asked what to pack, the same response is often given by Veteran teams, “Pack everything… and just in case, pack it twice.” The point they are getting at is that at an Event, you never know exactly what you will need. Your Robot could break down during a Match and you will need spare parts; the code you have been working weeks on may not initiate properly and you will need your laptop to proofread; your team may want to show off their team spirit and pride with team swag, banners, and an exciting pit display. To ease things, here are some areas you want to keep in mind while packing:

  • Tools
  • Spare parts
  • Safety glasses (enough for team, mentors, parents, friends)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra surge protector
  • Phone chargers
  • Battery chargers
  • Gamepads
  • Phones
  • Laptop
  • Engineering Notebook
  • Team Swag and pit display
  • Your Robot

How to Prepare

  • Practice, Practice, Practice – Test, Test, Test – Practice your presentation, practice for your judge interviews, practice driving your Robot; test your programming, test your autonomous mode, test every part of your Robot. Practice and Testing are how top teams prepare for their events.
  • Understand the Rules – Make sure your team has read Game Manual Part I and II. Not only do they include the game and tournament rules, but they go over the criteria for each Judge Award. The more you understand before Event Day the easier your Event will go.
  • Understand Judge Interview Process – Judge Interviews occur first thing for Events (with the exception of League Meets). Download and review the Team Judging Self-Reflection. Practice in front of friends, family, and strangers to help prepare for your Judge Interview. Remember to keep current on your Engineering Notebook (review the Engineering Notebook Guidelines) and continue even after the Event concludes.
  • Pack – How are you traveling to your Event? That changes how much and what type of packing you will be able to do. Traveling by Car?  Truck and trailer? Airplane? How far away your event may also play a factor into your packing plans. Make sure to plan ahead and pack the essentials. Create a packing list for both checking everything is packed away (and where they are located), as well as to make sure they return home with you.
  • Get Excited! – Everything you have worked hard for is here. Get excited and make sure to have fun!