Judging tips

Hi! I am a new-ish member on a team, and am driver and part builder. my weakest point is probably interviews/judging, what tips would you give for me (or anyone else?)

Be confident in interviews. Try to initiate talks about the robot and your team.
A lot of the judging is in the notebook. Dn’t put it off and try to make it engaging with illustrations and diagrams.
As a driver, you can try to impress judges on the field with your collaboration with alliance partners and sportsmanship with other teams. A strong field presence is sure to be noticed.
@lacsap might have some tips for you, having been a judge.

ok, thank you! my next competition should be somewhere around February, unless we can fix our brain before January 6th. ill keep this in mind

As a judge, I look at three things:

  • what the notebook tells me about the team and its design process
  • what the team tells me in an interview
  • what the robot tells me on close inspection and on the field
    If all three are consistent thorough stories, then I am likely to be looking at a good team. I want to see that all members have contributed to the robot’s design, build, programming, and the team game strategy. You can see this in the notebook by different handwriting, styles, illustrations… If it is one printout done by one member “the notebook person”, then a lot of nuance is lost. When interviewing, I want the voices from all team members and their contributions large or small - it shows me the team is using each team member to the best of its ability. The robot itself tells many stories just by the build quality - I am not looking for Frankenstein robot but contributions from different members. At the end of the day, a great team is one that works collaboratively and grows together.

Judging is a pleasure for me - I’ve had teams come with a polished ppt presentation, and I ask them to close the laptop so we can talk first… usually, the talk is far richer than the rehearsed presentation and the team is able to articulate critical decisions that were left out in the presentation. The key is that this is an interview not a final product presentation.

I have mentioned in other threads, your notebook should first describe the game and strategy for the season, then come up with possible solutions and designs. Choosing designs should be informed by your strategy and abilities of your team (can we build it? can we operate it?) and prioritize based on weighted decision matrix. Along the way there will be many failures and setbacks, document them and adjust your game plan accordingly. That is a design process. Personally, I highly recommend iterating a design vs taking apart the whole robot (note, there are circumstances which warrant a complete tear down, but at Worlds in the hotel room… not so much.)

My advice to judges is to enjoy the experience with the teams - they are passionate about what they do and we should not be obsessing about bound or unbound bonus.

Note one person teams are at a disadvantage having no teammates. In that case, have the conversation about why you chose not to have teammates. What challenges did you face? How did you overcome those challenges alone? Would you do it differently in the future?

Don’t panic.

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Excellent advice!