Heading to our first tournament --- ever

We’re a new team, ( a couple of months old) and we are heading to our first tournament in a few weeks. Is there a prep list available or do any of you have advice as to what to prepare?

We have already begun to prepare with:

-some extra parts,
-a second VexIQ brain,
-our design book
-project notes
-programming pc

Although we have seen some matches online we couldn’t tell how the matches begin and end? Are we suppose to do anything special in our software like the VEX teams so they can be plugged into the match computer?

For the beginning of the programming skills, robot skills or alliance matches are we allowed to start a program begin the match by pressing touch LED?

thank you,


A couple other things for your list:

  • Extra Battery(s)
  • Charger
  • Wire to connect remote to brain

I would also add ‘Remote’ to my list. Right now, you know you should bring it, but it will be easy to overlook in the rush of packing on Friday night.

Also, make sure all your batteries are charged on Friday.

The matches normally start with the ref saying “3, 2, 1, go…” and at that point the team can start driving the robot.

In the Driver Skills & Alliance matches, the team generally doesn’t want to press the LED to start the robot (after “go”). That can be done before the match starts. If there is something the robot needs to do at the start of the match, the team can assign a button on the remote to activate it.

For Programming, I personally think it’s best to have the touch LED start the robot. But some will just use the run button.

A couple important things that teams overlook:

  1. Make sure to take the time to make Programming and Driver Skill runs. These are not generally scheduled for you.
  2. Kids CAN touch the robot during all the matches. If something falls off, they can put down the remote and fix it. During the programming runs, the team can move the robot to another location. Make sure you understand the rules around what to do after they touch it.
  3. Don’t forget to practice switching drivers.

I’ve been coaching robotics for many years, and I still get nervous that I’m forgetting something. It sounds like you’re well prepaired.

Good luck

I coached FLL for many years, and have packed a lot of stuff for tournaments. Here are a few more things that I take:

STEM Research Project materials (if you did one)
VEX release forms for each team member, including coach
scissors (some tournaments have wristbands for the team, and they are always too long)
tape (in case something falls off the research project display board)
tissue (especially in winter)
stopwatch (old habit before cell phones)
extension cord power strip
damp washcloth in zipper bag (to clean tires if needed)
dry washcloth in zipper bag (to dry tires after cleaning)
flashdrive with programs backed up (in case laptop dies)
folding chair for coach (in case the pit is just a marked off area in a gym)
list of all team members’ phone numbers (in case of lateness, or to locate during tournament)
camera (use my cell phone camera now)
coins/dollar bills for vending machines

This year, I also took a meter stick. This is very handy for quickly lining up the blocks. I had planned to use it at practice fields, but my stick was quickly designated for use at the tournament fields.

Good luck and have fun!


Hi John,

Attached is a document that I gave to our first year mentors before our first event. Hope it helps.


PreparingforanEvent.pdf (85 KB)

Thanks to the other forum members for sharing great advice! Excellent resources to help teams prepare for events are available in the “Resources” section at the bottom of the VEX IQ Teams page, including a section in the “How to Start and Organize a Team” document and a stand-alone document for new and returning teams, “Tips for Preparing for and Attending VEX IQ Challenge Events.” Check out all of the resources available on the Teams page, as it was designed to support the participation of teams in the VEX IQ Challenge.

At VEX IQ Challenge events, the start and end of matches are not controlled by an electronic connection, as it is in VEX Robotics Competition. Instead, the Referee or Emcee typically signals the teams to start and stop the match, usually with the support of the time clock and sounds generated by the scorekeeper’s computer.

Enjoy a great learning experience at your VEX IQ Challenge event!

I would like to thank everyone for your advice. We used the information and prepared ourselves.
The tournament was held this last Saturday. The students had a wonderful time. They performed well. And more importantly they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.

I think they are currently second for programming skills and 12th or something in robot. I know it wont last but for now they are " over the moon" excited about seeing their team name in the RobotEvents list.

Again, Thank you all for great information.
PiThons Coach. 5225

Wow! That’s fantastic, and especially for a first ever outing.

Thank you, jrp62

As I thought the standing didn’t last long as they dropped to 4th. That said they seem to now be driven to improve their run. They have one more tournament – our provincials in two weeks. We’ll see. :slight_smile:

Wow… Just got back from a great tournament ( our provincial finals) . The team was able to improve their previous tournament run with 300 points in programming and 150 points in driver skills and more importantly received an invitation to the worlds. Their excitement level is now through the roof!!!
Again, thank you for all of the great advice.