How to play good defense

This past weekend, my team attended a competition where we noticed one of the teams in the winning alliance played defense very well using their tray to dislodge cubes out of an opposing tray bot. This was a very effective strategy, so we were wondering how they would manage to practice such a skill.

just?? drive backwards into other peoples trays?


The way they were doing it, they caught their tray kinda inside the other one, and it would hit out multiple cubes out. They essentially rendered one of the best teams there useless, so I think there has to be some more technique to it.

You need to be very careful! If you get tangled in their robot (which sounds very likely) you will probably be DQed. If you are set on defense, run into the robots stacking in the unprotected zone.

A personal opinion, but defense is viewed as kind of an unsportsmanlike strategy. People view the teams who try to score points for their team better then those who just prevent the opponents from scoring.


trays are excellent at blocking your opponents. you can have your tray blocking them from moving or tilting forward, or you can use your tray to jab at their tray when they’re placing stacks in the unprotected goal zone. just be careful you don’t get entangled or cause damage

The best way to play defense (in my opinion) is to watch matches, and see where robot tend to want to go (this year would me towers and scoring zones), then place yourself in a way to restrict as much access to that area as possible. Good defense is about predicting moves and blocking them.

Edit: Another thing is deciding if you want to be reactive (respond to the opponents actions), or proactive (making the first move and forcing opposition to counter you)


Defense is all about wasting your opponents time. If you can keep them away from their goal for 20 seconds, that’s 20 seconds for your partner to get ahead.


For reference, this is the video of the finals match op is talking about:
The defensive bot talked about is blue alliance 8995M and for most of the match 355X on the red alliance was defended.


Knocking cubes out so that they land in bounds is a valid strategy. Knocking them so that they land out of bounds is something you need to clear with referees, since it is a violation of “intentionally removing cubes from the arena”

If you want to practice the skill, find another robot and just have them attempt to move from the Red Goal Zone to the Blue Goal Zone preparing to score. Manually refill the offensive robot.

If you do not have a sparring partner available, just practice sword fighting with the towers. Stack two blocks on/in each mid tower and drive back and forth trying to spear/poke them off (and not just swing at them).

Finally, take your practice to the next level by having people ram your robot with other bots, or with brooms/pvc poles. The faster you can adapt and maneuver the better.

Be very careful with defense, or you could get DQ’d. However, see what works withing the limits of the rules and your robot. My team has won several matches using defense mainly.