Off Season/ New Member Training

With most teams ending their season in the next month, I would like to publicly analyze some good build/design practice based off of 10 years worth of previous games, and then list a few things I would like to accomplish with my teams and new members during the off-season.


  • Claw: 3.5/10 games
  • Roller Intake 7/10 games

Addition of Pneumatics makes claws more probable since they no longer require a motor commitment, unlike roller intakes.


  • Strong/short 5/10 (This includes intake 4bars, arm 2bars, and simple 4 bar lifts.)
  • Tall 3.75/10 with partial credit towards several games with high lifts being unnecessary but beneficial.

Hoist: 2/10 Hasn’t been since Starstruck. However, adding a pneumatics based transmission to shift a gear so that drivetrain can operate a winch or other subsystem… probably a good choice going forward.

Chassis Designs

  • Building with Ground Clearance in Mind: 5.5/10 games
  • Pushing in mind: 4/5 most recent games, less necessary in older games.
  • U/H Chassis instead of Box chassis to make room for intaking elements: 8/10 games

The rest of these are just some goals I have for teams to get to before their next season. I think they are fundamental to a good team.


  • Inertial and Vision sensor based turning PIDS for chasing objects, tuned well.
  • Simple debugging functions and full understanding of terminal printing and screen data.
  • Using line readers and distance sensors for proximity sensing.
  • Commenting/Documenting code.


  • 1 vs 2 stick arcade.
  • Developing practice regiment.


  • Collect examples of different timeline, evaluation, and data collection models.
  • Collect fundamental code snippets and print them out, like basic driver code, autonomous scripting, basic PIDs.
  • Checklists for pre/mid/post matches, prep for competitions, Alliance selection, Building, Tinkering with a built and functioning robot, updating programming, etc.

Do y’all have any reflections or suggestions?


For driving, it can be incredibly efficient if you have two drivers that are able to work together well.


no tank?

I think going over the most common types of mechanisms is always a good thing, especially drives. I’ve found that drives and lifts are what teams struggle with the most, especially in areas of fundamental build quality. If you can teach someone how to build well, they’ll be able to build anything they can think of for any game, even if it’s something nobody has ever had to build before, and have a good chance of success.


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