So my team made it to state (yah!), but everyone is nervous about getting everything done before it and for the actual tournament. Does anyone have any tips for us to prepare for and during the actual competition?
If I am reading which state you are going to correctly, there are going to be 40 teams at that event, and I believe one of our teams is going as well. I have been to states once... with a malfunctioning Vexnet key, causing us to only have about 3 minutes of actual run time throughout the course of 7-8 matches. So, I am not really qualified to tell you how to the score the highest in Starstruck :P
However, this year, we are In the Zone. So, a few tips:
Before the Competition:
-Practice, Practice, Practice! This is the key to success! Also, practice to see what to do if a cone gets stuck in a lift (which has happened before to pretty much all of us).
-If you are going to do a drastic overhaul to your robot (i.e. going from Goliath Intake to a Cagebot), which I honestly suggest you DON'T do,I would advise that you leave AT LEAST one week for programming and one week for driving practice. (Which means unless you can change the design of your robot within this week, I would suggest you don't.)
-Looking at autonomous, I see that within the 19 matches you have participated in in the qualifying rounds, you got the autonomous bonus in 7 of those matches. That's a start, but just a rule of thumb, assume everyone is going to have an autonomous at State. I don't know what your autonomous does, but I would suggest at least getting a mobile goal, getting your preload on it, and putting it in the 5 point zone. That way, you have essentially a 12 point autonomous (5 for the mobile goal, 2 for the cone, and 5 for highest stack). Even if you can't get that fancy mobile goal in the 20 during autonomous as most teams can, if you make it to the elimination round, your top seed will probably already be able to do that.
During the Competition:
-JUST HAVE FUN. Not many teams get to go to state, so you may as well enjoy your time there.
-Make connections with as many teams as possible and as early as possible. That way, you might be selected as a high 3rd pick alliance, or even be selected as a solid 2nd pick alliance, depending on how the day plays out. Maybe you can find a new team to keep in touch with, to support each other even after the competition.
-If you haven't done this already with your whole team, when you get your match lists, talk to your first alliance of the day about strategy. Coordinating what you are going to do with your alliance helps give a position of control in knowing what is going to happen before it goes on, and gives an idea on how to go about.
-Scouting: A good team has a scout to know which teams can do which, in the case of a) You go against them in a qualifying match, or b) You are in a picking position in the Alliance Selection. Usually, the two forms of scouting are talking directly with each team and just watching all the matches. Personally, I prefer face to face interaction (going back to making connections), along with watching one of their matches if they seem shaky/bold in their responses. Even if you don't have a set idea for scouting, the three questions I would recommend asking every team are "What does your autonomous do?", "How many cones can you stack onto a mobile or stationary goal?", and "Can you get a mobile goal into the 20 point zone?".
-Do skills. Even if you are crushed by an 180 point skills by *looks for a random team on the team list* 6986E or 21246D or someone else, just do it for Excellence or Design or something of the like.
After the Competition:
-Just cherish the memories for next year, or get ready for Worlds. When VEX releases next year's game, (Which I have placed bets it would be "Hole in One" or something of the like), get ready to fight again.
At the competition, please for the love of god plug in your controller, then turn it on. So many people lose connection or can't connect because of how the wireless sticks work. If you plug in then turn on, you have access to the reserved channels for competition and SHOULD have no issues. BEST OF LUCK!
We just qualified too. I would make sure you and your team know what is expected of them at the competition, i.e. scouting, spectating, JUDGE'S INTERVIEWS (absolutely review possible questions, and your answers), engineering notebook updating (before the comp), and behavioral expectations. If you don't get in the finals (which is a Worlds qualifier), then you'll have a better shot at Design or Excellence.