Adult Involvement at practice fields


The recent update highlighted the subject of adult involvement during match play. Do the same rules apply on the practice fields?
At the recent U.S. Open VEX IQ, we saw many teams participating in pre-match strategies with their next alliance team. During this process it was the adults directing the step by step strategy. The students were sitting back having very little or no input. The adults were pushing the students to drive over and over, The adults were pressuring other teams if they didn’t high hang in time for example. How much adult involvement will be allowed at Worlds? Is this okay? If not, what are the consequences if adults continue to do this? Will the practice fields and fields set up in pit area be monitored if this is not okay?



Officials, judges, and judge advisors discretely watch for this, and word gets back to the judge’s room for consideration of judged awards. Unfortunately some adults care more about winning the game than getting an award.



Given the strict wording in the CREATE Code of Conduct, that level of adult involvement should not have been happening. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is not a situation that can be enforced easily and does require the coaches/mentors/parents to act according to the Code of Conduct on their own volition. At events that I run or judge, any team that is deemed to have excessive adult involvement will be removed from consideration for any judged awards and an adult from the offending team will be pulled aside and told of that decision and why. “Excessive” is a rather muddy term, but I have no problem with an adult holding a wrench so a student can tighten a screw where a third hand is needed and another student isn’t available. But an adult programming or working on a robot with no students around would be excessive. An adult discussing possible strategy with the students would be OK in my book. Adults directing the teams strategy would, in my opinion, cross the line.



I’ve moved this to the VEXIQ forum because VRC doesnt have rules against this kind of imvolvement and the question was more directed toward IQ anyway.



I witnessed the same behavior at the Open. I tried suggesting to other adults that the kids work it out and got mixed responses. Some sheepishly backed off and others were clearly irate with me. My students know that it’s their robot and their tournament and i’ll only step in if another adult is becoming too overbearing.

I also had a lot of roboteers and adults coming to our booth and asking me what my robot could do. I’d respond to everyone that I don’t have a robot and they need to talk to the students.



I agree that we as a community need to address this issue in a constructive way. Personally, I don’t feel like doing so by word getting back to the judges room really does a good job of drawing the line for adults because in most cases the adults never actually get any feedback that they are crossing a line. We need to address this just like a teachable moment with students. Feedback changes behavior. The potential threat of losing out on awards does nothing.

Perhaps it’s a larger leap forward than we are ready for, but I think event staff should be allowed to issue “yellow and red cards” to coaches who are not behaving within the code of conduct. Those should then be recorded internally with the team’s record and future event partners should be informed so they know to be aware of specific patterns of behavior. If a coach gets a yellow card at 3 events because the EP’s thought they were all giving first warnings, but the coach’s pattern of behavior doesn’t actually change, then the system isn’t working.



I think VEX should offer a line of oven mitts that can be given to adults. If you can’t do it wearing oven mitts, then you’re doing too much!

Personally, whenever I go into any of our teams’ pit areas, I just put my hands in my pockets so there is not event the appearance that I’m working on a bot.



We do give feedback to the adults of offending teams. And in my opinion, the removal of consideration for judged awards does have an effect, because most of the parents/coaches that are crossing the line are very awards conscious.

But I do very much like the yellow/red card idea. Might be a little tough to set up the record keeping, but where there is a will, there is a way.



I like the oven mitt idea. Unfortunately what the OP has noted, and I also observed, adults could continue with oven mitts. Specifically it’s the developing the strategy between 2 teams, leading the conversations, giving the direction. I think the best antidote is for other adults to just point out that it’s student centered and the students should be doing the work.



Oven mitts plus duct tape as necessary!

1 Like


Can I apply the duct tape over their mouths?

1 Like


Oven mitt over the head (gotta be a big one) and then duct tape around their hands. Don’t forget the ankles.