How to be a better driver

So whenever I drive in skills I always get really nervous and anxious about messing up… I have a competition tomorrow and it’s my last chance to qualify for states and I’m super nervous that I might mess up the run.
Any advice?

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Practice! More Practice! Have time to be reading the forums? then practice some more!

When it is second nature, you won’t get so nervous.

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Agree with @kmmohn.

Forget about everything, focus on the robot, cubes, and the other team.

Communicate with your alliance about strats.

Something that one of my more… mediocre alliances… did was not a wall bot, but move back and forth. They can pick up cubes n stuff… they see the other team, and bang, the other team gets stuck.
You have 2 zones they have 1

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I mean, one day isn’t enough time to practice that much, but practicing for skills is the best way to get better.

I know how you feel, I always get about 30 less points at events than I can get in practice.

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I agree. You NEED to practice. I had a comp today, and we put up a 25 in skills, now we’re going to state. But to be honest, that was my first time doing skills, and I was hella nervous, and I just kinda popped off. We got knocked out in the semis, which kinda sucks, seeing as even if we just made it to the finals we would have made it to state, but still. PRACTICE!

I just relax, have fun, you cant be anxious. Also practice helps, and console videogames helps a ton.

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@Icephoenix0001 has a good idea, pretend like ur playing forza

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Im not kidding, thats what I use, it trains hand eye coordination, and light touches on the joystick for turning

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One other tip is to have a plan. Map your drive path to gain the most points per second. What side do you want to start on? Are you a tray or a stacker? Are you better at the corners or the towers? One team may make two stacks of ten in the corners while another may stack five and place three towers. Both net the same points.

I watch drivers that are distracted, can’t decide where to go next, or get so focused on one task that when it fails they don’t move on to the next. All of these waste time. Plan your route and then practice that plan.

It also helps if you have a backup strategy. Let’s say your bot knocks over the initial stack of 10. Do you build the stack again? With what cubes? A simple mistake can raise anxiety levels and the driver doesn’t know what to do next. Plan for that too.

A plan allows the team to relax and have fun. Then you challenge yourself by looking for ways to improve.

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In my experience, the best thing is to focus on your robot. Don’t worry about your opponents or partners unless you really have too. Our team does a two conteller system. I control our attachments, and another team member controls the drivetrain. If doing it all is overwhelming, you might want to try that

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I straight up pretend that I’m not competing, that it’s a practice run.
I’ve also seen people chew gum to help release some nervous energy, but I don’t like gum so I’ve never tried it.

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try out new control, I don’t know what you use right now, but if your using tank, maybe try split arcade, or vise versa.

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Just relax. hum a song. Think of Drow, And if you feel like you are going to mess up. Remember that its only 1 match and that you can fix it next match. And have fun!

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Also a tip I got from a battlebot book is to drive forward, spin your bot 180 degrees, then keep driving the same way. So always forward but your robot can be forward or backward. That’s great chassis practice.

Have someone “spot” for you during competition. The spotter should tell you exactly what you should be doing and all you should be doing is executing their commands. Then you have less to think about and your overall driving should be better. I would scrimmage often if you have multiple robots or have many teams in the area to better prepare yourself for every situation.

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A good driver coach is soooooo important. It helps immensely to have someone telling me the next steps so that i can focus on driving. just make sure that they are someone you trust and that they have practice with you during scrims so that they know what they are doing.

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Besides all of the good advice on practicing, be calm. Do the competition for fun. Enjoy the game. Do not stress over going to state. Try to avoid running around panicking between matches. The calmer and happier you are, the better you will do.

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I always scout the my opponents before a match and then compare their capabilities with my own and my alliances. Then I go to my alliance and discuss our strategy. I would discourage rock solid plans however as those can fail immediately. Rather come up with a rough goal. E.g. "You stack while I defend against the good team after we lose auto. " I find these vague plans are the most effective. As a awful driver myself, I know the best part is to go for consistency. If you aren’t sure about weather you’ll get stuck after descoring or trying to stack in the big zone, don’t do it unless you have to. Just do what you are comfortable with.

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You shouldn’t stress its okay. just imagine diving at school and more practice will help. nobody judges we are all in this together.

The OP started this thread talking about driving in Skills but there have been numerous posts that have broaden the topic to driving in a competition and I admit the topic isn’t very specific.

So keeping with the broader context - have a plan for skills and a strategy for competition.