Here is a thread for people to share how they practice driving?
Ways I practice driving.
- Skills Run
- Practice a Tournamnent Match 2v2
- Throw a bunch of balls around and just practice picking them up and scoring into different goals
Imo, not really any one good way to practice.
However, there is an “order” to things:
Starting off, you need to be able to drive your robot fast and effectively. this is the core of what makes a good team separate from a great one. to practice this, you can place your robot on the field, and just score stuff for 5-10 minute intervals to let your motors cool. do this consistently and after a lot of repetition, you will soon find yourself handling the robot in all its aspects a lot better. the most important part of this stage of driving is getting a feel for your robot, knowing how to play the game properly, and making sure all your controls feel natural.
Finally, it is important to scrimmage. if you have any sister teams with robots, or teams you are friends with in your area, see if they would scrimmage with you before a tournament. knowing game strategy is key, as well as knowing how and when to play/resist defense.
also, run a few driver skills runs. but don’t prioritize these. if you aren’t fast at driving yet, you wont be able to use the time it takes to set up driver runs efficiently.
Smashing the robot into my partners legs.
To practice scoring and test out new strategies we’ll do practice matches with our sister team and do a few driver skills runs. If we’ve built a new bot we’ll set up an obstacle course to practice maneuvering it around objects.
Wouldn’t recommend doing this. My sister team thought that would be funny to do to me 2 years ago and I then punted it across the field after it left a mark on my leg
I feel like punting a robot would hurt your leg more
Practicing while under pressure is useful. Having an active audience can be quite useful, even if its just one or two people. As for what to specifically practice do, it depends on the challenge. For change up, most of my practice has been getting used to the new base, as this is my first year with good strafing, and then cycling goals.
The anger covered the pain I guess
Become one with the bot.
Not really, but I find that rather than just… practicing the game, it’s also effective to understand the limitations and abilities of your robot outside of the game too. Anyone can drive in Change Up, but not everyone can drive their robot, if you get what I mean.
My usual practice drill is what’s called a figure-eight; set up two circular objects a small distance away from each other, such as cones. The distance should be enough for your robot to fit through. Then, by driving your robot, you basically outline the number 8 with your driving path. If you need more reference for what I’m talking about, you can look up figure-eight skating exercises; ice skaters and ice hockey players use this to practice their skating, since it involves extremely tight turns. This drill is incredibly helpful if your robot has a tank drive, although you can still benefit from it if you have a holonomic drive.
Another thing that’s important to practice is to understand how your robot descores, because everyone’s intakes are different. Find a technique that works consistently, then practice that.
The final thing I will say is that use programming to your advantage and make adjustments to make it easier to drive. For example, if you have trouble driving straight forward (which is usually an issue if you use holonomic drives or use tank control on your controller), you can make a macro that allows you to drive perfectly forward. This will eliminate some need for practice, although you’ll have to get used to using the macro.
getting really comfortable with the control of the drive is really important, you should be able to move your robot exactly where you want to without thinking about your fingers or your inputs at all. this is especially valuable because it carries over across different games. You should also get really good at using the other aspects of your robot as well, and automating repetitive tasks or complicated actions can go a long way to increase driver efficiency.
I find that skills practice is good for not just mastering a route, but helping to improve your ability to drive in general which is great for both skills and matches.
If your practicing for skills, walk around the arena on the path you want to drive the robot. Once you do that, I would recommend clearing the field and then just driving that path again and again to get it ingrained in your head. Weaving around on a flat surface is also good to get a better sense of limits. Always talk to builders if something feels off
Edit: Gah, I forgot to say practicing strategies with sister/local teams. Since its best to pick people you know, a coordinated strategy flows best against an opposing alliance
Here are a couple of things my team does:
Scrimmages: These can be done with teams from different organizations and/or the same (we do the latter). These will help your team get more practice playing against different styles of robots, and will get your driver used to match play.
Practice skills runs: Use these to hone down existing routes and learn new (and more efficient) ones. We tend to ramp up practicing skills the closer we get to competitions (although it can be hard to do them when you have a sister team who also wants to practice driving). Practicing skills can also be a great way to get used to the robot (esp. afterwards rebuild)
Drills/misc. practice: Drills are a great way to get your driver used to particular actions. Like cycling balls out of goals, topping off rows with balls of your color. Sometimes, we just empty out all of the goals and let our driver practice fielding/scoring. I would say that drills are the easiest to do because you don’t need to use all of the field (usually we take 1/2 of the field while our sister team takes the other half).
Finally, you should get used to the robot and it’s quirks. Most of the time, it’s better to have a sub-par robot with above-par driving practice than an above-par robot with sub-par driving practice. This way you won’t get frustrated with the robot’s capabilities (or lack thereof) when you finally compete. A good driver should control the robot fluidly and with confidence.
We do practice runs of driver skills. It’s only 1 robot and we practice for skills which is one of the easiest ways to advance to states and worlds. (My team advanced to both states and worlds from skills last year)
Next year, we plan to CAD out our robot first. Then, we build our base while finishing Cadding the rest, and get some good driving practice with just our base before building the rest, to get good with the base before worrying about the rest of it.
Always down the stairs, and on a walk with a leash. It’s important to keep them well exercised.
Also insert obligatory “in my car” response here.
I just drill myself on any part that needs to get better with like a 20 second time limit
my team always practiced by driving at a competition or doing whaterver the game was while we were building
wasnt the best but worked decently
- Drivers Skills
- Random Scoring
- Repeatedly Cycling one Goal
- Picking up Balls
- Descoring Everything
I find myself just driving on the field for 10-20 minutes at a time(or till my battery dies). During that I usually practice on quick swapping goals to one color and then flipping back. ie Blue to Red, Red to Blue. Other times when one of my sister teams is on the field I tend to try and just rescore any goal they descore and sometimes “lap” them if you will on scoring. Our organization also hosts scrimmages almost every week with different teams and orgs around our region. If we cannot scrimmage with other orgs then we have 5 -6 robots ready to go and we’ll scrimmage each other.