<G4> Update and Teams with Adult Coaches

Anyone else extremely dissatisfied with this part of the update? Small teams that have adults as coaches and are simply unable to provide a student coach are at a disadvantage because one of the drivers must remove a hand from the controller to work with the skyrise sections and autoloader.
Is there any advantage to this rule? The only purpose it seems to be serving is to put teams with adult coaches at a disadvantage.

Hello 400X,

I can see your situation, With two people driving the robot, it would waste precious seconds to load the skyrise sections, because you would have to let go of the controlls and load it. Im sure VEX has their reasons but maybe an adjustment could be made to help in this kind of situation. I’m sure you are not the only one in this situation.

However there is a simple solution to this, just have your alliance make sure it gets loaded :D. But there is always a possibility they have an adult coach also…

Also, I don’t think VEX is trying to put teams with Adult coaches at a
disadvantage at all.

Perhaps some reasoning, and this thread will show the concern for this matter, and VEX officials will look into modifying this rule. Only time will tell.

I like this rule change. VEX Robotics Competition is a empowered by students and adults should really only be there to act as supervisors. Boy Scouts, I think, is a perfect model. The boys choose activities, run the activities, etc. and the adults are there to manage finances, make reservations (if necessary), and to act as supervisors. Adults aren’t attending outings to do the activity, they’re really there to supervise. Same should go with VEX: adults shouldn’t be there to do robotics, they should there to supervise.

I understand your concerns if there are literally no other team members. Perhaps a special case exception can be made so that teams who are in this situation can use adults for the sole purpose of loading Skyrise sections. Obviously, their actions would need to be closely scrutinized.

What? How is an adult drive team member any more likely to load skyrise sections illegally than a student?

This rule is very much like the one that says a coach can’t be on more than one drive team. The motivation is easy to understand - if there are people available then a team will use someone who otherwise wouldn’t have been involved rather than using an adult or someone who already coaches another team.

However, at international competitions it costs thousands of dollars for someone to attend so there aren’t extra people just sitting around not doing anything who can be told to load Skyrise sections. Rules like this which increase the minimum number of students a team has to send to a competition will result in more schools who qualify for Worlds deciding they can’t afford to attend. That doesn’t only affect the students who would have made the trip, it also affects the students who would have stayed home but who worked towards making the team successful.

How many teams do you honestly think there are where three student members want to be on the drive team but an adult volunteer says one of them can’t because the adult wants to do it instead? I think in the vast majority of situations where there are three student members available to be on the drive team, there are in fact three student members on the drive team.

I said that poorly. I meant to make sure adults aren’t doing anything else other than loading a skyrise section.

Ok but that is already in the rules. Unless an adult who is loading skyrise sections is more likely to touch controls than one who isn’t?

I am on a 2 person team, and this rule prevents us from both being drivers. It would be better for us if adults were allowed to load them. Anyway, the best time to build a skyrise is usually in autonomous, so try to build as much as you can then. Also, if you can, programming the robot to do ALL skyrise building autonomously, even the part in driver control period, could be an option. Then you could be a 1 person team and still load skyrise sections.

Remember that you are on an alliance with someone. They can always help you out by loading the sections. In gateway, and sack attack, if we only had 2 people and we were both driving, our alliance would gladly help us.

This is another good rule. Although its great for adults to be involved as mentors, I don’t think we need to be involved in actually playing the game in a hands-on way.

If having a small team is a problem, then the solution would be to get more team members. Yes, that means that you’d have to engage in social interaction and work collaboratively with a peer. Darn. It’s almost like those would be good engineering skills or something.

If funding to get those team members to a tournament is an issue then you’d want to consider that in advance when planning the tournaments you want to attend. You might have to develop a budget and engage in additional fundraising and entrepreneurship to achieve your goals. Perhaps budgeting and business planning are good skills to develop.

And if it is completely impossible to find anyone to join your team, and totally outside the question to improve budgeting and fundraising, and you absolutely MUST attend this tournament that is really expensive to travel to, then you could possibly consider engaging teams at the event, or teams that live near the event, to see if they could loan you a temporary team member for the weekend. But again… you’d have to engage in advance planning and social interaction with fellow students.

In fact it is almost like RECF is intentionally trying to encourage people to engage their social, business and planning skills as well as their technical skills. How nasty of them! :wink:


I definitely wouldn’t leave Skyrise section loading to an alliance partner. They may have an adult coach, or no spare drive team members, or not even come to the match. It’s just not something you want out of your control.

If an adult coach was an integral part of my drive team (like 400X), I wouldn’t go get another team member and get rid of my coach. I would just automate my robot enough to allow accurate three-handed driving when loading Skyrise sections.

Are you saying that you think it easer for us to interact with an adult than one of our peers?
I agree with you that the rec is doing that and it’s probably a good idea but how do you get that out of this rule?

I agree with ngm and think many 1-2 member teams on the forums are good enough to get around this rule with good programing which I think is a good side effect.

Hello, i understand your concern for single person teams. It wont be much of a disadvantage however, you must simply do the obvious, take your hand of the joystick and place the skyrise section in quickly. This can be done without wastin precious time. This should be treated how any other rule/concerning aspect is treated in VEX, such as 12" high barriers, 16" large balls, and 5 foot tall scoring posts: deal with it.

Just to be clear, the modification of <G4> was not really a rule change, more of a clarification. Adults were prohibited from loading Skyrise Sections already in <SG5>

As for the intent of this rule, it’s very simple; the Game Design Committee wants students to be responsible for the entirety of the operation of their robots during a match. This includes both driving/operating the robot and any sort of interaction with game pieces. We have received numerous complaints over the years about the incongruity of having 50 year old adults loading robots in a competition for middle and high school students.

To all those teams who are adversely affected by this rule, my advice to you is to take this opportunity to make a new friend and have them join your team. If you’re completely unable to expand your team beyond one or two members, I urge you to try harder; you’ll be much better off in the long run.

Thank you Karthik.

Yes. Assuming the “us” to which you refer means a general class of VRC teams that have only one student involved. I don’t know the individual circumstances or relationships for each team so don’t wish to personalize this reply, but have worked with people long enough to make some reasonably sound observations. However… disclaimer having been made…

For many people engaging with a peer is a much more demanding task than engaging with an ‘other’. I think it would be fair to say that in general adults and students bring different assets to a team and have different responsibilities. There is usually a formal process of interaction and normally one party – the adult – will hold the ultimate veto power over any decision based on the ability to pay fees, sign waivers, drive to the event and the like. The rules of interaction with peers are much less defined. Depending on the person it may be easier for them to interact with the “other”, or with a peer. So yes, I am saying that for many people (and not just young people, believe me!) interacting effectively with peers is a real challenge. It is a skill that can be developed, however, and I believe that VEX is a great way to work on those teamwork skills. In many ways, team skills are at least as important as technical skills, so I’d have to question whether “one student teams” (the term itself seems a bit oxymoronic) are actually getting the full benefit of being involved in VRC.

Great question. The idea that RECF would encourage team members to develop skills other than purely technical skills is certainly not explicitly stated in this rule. However the rule supports the general premise that the whole idea behind having a robotics competition is to develop positive teamwork and technical skills in young people. I think Karthik has spelled out the immediate reason behind the rule, but in the context of the overall world of robotics competitions the whole reason that you see sponsors and volunteers get involved is because the competitions challenge students to excel in a wide range of areas. This rule would seem to support the general premise upon which the existence of VEX style robotics competitions is based.


Well this is embarrassing :o. I should have known that.

People do complain, but match loading really doesn’t involve much skill at all. If someone is complaining that a team gets an advantage from having an adult match load for them then that’s a pretty good sign that that person has no idea what the rest of the competition is like.

If the point of this rule is to improve the perception of Skyrise by people who lack knowledge of the competition then I think that’s unfortunate, but I guess it makes sense. It’s important for Vex to appeal to people who aren’t familiar with building robots.

I don’t appreciate the sarcasm.

“you’d want to consider that in advance when planning the tournaments you want to attend” seems like a euphemistic way of saying “If Worlds is too expensive, just don’t come”. I’m not talking about teams going to a bunch of distant competitions that they don’t need to go to, I’m talking about international teams being able to have the same aspirations as American teams.

Of course fundraising and budgeting are good skills, but it’s hardly a team’s fault that they don’t have enough money for Worlds if they live in Asia or NZ.

I know teams who have managed to do this in the past, but it’s not a good solution. The new <G3> makes it much more difficult, because a student who assists another team with match loads once is then unable to help any other drive team for the rest of the event. A well known team who is doing well might be able to attract someone who is willing to help them for the whole tournament, but an average team is going to have trouble with that.

My point isn’t that incentivising larger teams is a bad thing in general. It’s that rules that increase the minimum number of students a team must send to Worlds make it more likely that international teams who qualify won’t be able to attend. Vex is in theory an international competition, but it becomes less so as the price of attending worlds increases for overseas teams.

Would it be legal to make a secondary robot that would load the sections? You could step on a bumper switch and it would place the section in the holder.

The complaints aren’t about teams gaining an advantage from having an Adult loading robots. People (the GDC included) think it looks ridiculous to have grown men and women loading robots in a competition for children and teenagers. As I said earlier, we want the students doing entirety of the operation of the robots during a match, including all loading.

These quotes are insulting to one and two-member teams and their coaches. Are you implying that one and two-member team students need some ‘encouragement’ to develop their social skills? **You don’t know anything about them. ** One of the major benefits of participating in VEX is that it is accessible to small teams. Why discourage small teams?

Should an adult coach/mentor help build and/or program the robot? Absolutely not!

Should an adult coach/mentor reposition the robot in autonomous? Absolutely not!

Should an adult be allowed to load game elements? I have my opinion but if I were to voice it it wouldn’t be in such an offensive manner!

Have a nice day!

Strawberry Shortcake,

You’re still able to have small teams. Your drive team can consist of:

  • 1 Student Driver, who also loads the Skyrise Sections into the Autoloader. (Albeit, slightly inconvenient)
  • 1 Student Driver and 1 Student who loads the Skyrise Sections into the Autoloader. (Inconvenient if your Robot require two drivers)
  • 2 Student Drivers and 1 Student who loads the Skyrise Sections into the Autoloader.

No team will need to increase their team size by more than one person because of this rule. I’d hardly call an increase of one as a discouragement of small teams.

Bottom line, which I will state one more time, is that we want the VRC to continue to be a student focused program. Having adults interacting with game pieces during a match ran contrary to this goal, as such it has been eliminated. A side effect of this change is that a very small minority of VRC teams may be forced to recruit an additional student member. So yes, these teams will be temporarily inconvenienced, but on the other hand new students on these teams will now gain the opportunity to be involved.

As for Jason’s comments, I don’t think he was implying that members of small teams need encouragement to develop their social skills, rather that a general goal of the VRC is to encourage social interaction and cooperative learning. This is one of the biggest reasons why we use the random alliance format.