Rookies getting ready for tournament

As a rookie Vex coach with a Rookie team, We are getting ready for our tournament next month. What are somethings rookie teams over look alot? Wanting to be sure we are on our game and as a coach that I’m not missing something simple lol

Here’s a good link that might help you out:

Some of it is a bit over the top (like bringing a printer -_-) but there is a lot of good advice in there.

Quick thrown together list of things to remember.
check spec(inspection checklist)
spare batteries AAA if you don’t have rechargeable ones
practice judging questions
recheck spec
power strip
spare rubber bands and zip ties
a lot of teams bring snacks and water to comp so it might be a good idea
check spec again


Yeah, you might want to keep your batteries fresh, for both the robot and the controller. That is one of the most important things you can do.

Also, if your robot is more or less finished, you should test it to try to identify its bugs. The more issues you can find out BEFORE the competition, the better. Our rookie year we had a chain elevator lift using thin chain, and it was only at the tournament that we found out that thin chain snaps a lot.

Don’t forget to bring all the tools that you think you’ll need. Make sure that you keep all of your locks and nuts tightened before matches; you don’t want anything falling off. You should also make sure that you bring spare motors, metal, and any other parts that you might need to make repairs or modify your robot. Also, we typically bring a laptop with us so that we can make any last minute change to the autonomous.

Get inspected quickly
1st: if you are good more time to practice, especially if it is your first time on a full field.
2nd: if there is an inspection problem, More time to fix it.

Make sure your cortex/joysticks are using the latest firmware.

Be on time for EVERY match. Better to have a robot there, EVEN it does not move, than miss a match.

Talk to your ally before the match and have a plan so both of you can work to your strengths.

Take notes and pictures on other bots you like. Basically scout.

Reread ALL the rules.

Don’t forget your engineering notebook.

Make a pre and post match check list (things like swap batteries every two matches, check all wires before each match.)

Ask LOTS of questions.

Don’t be afraid of judging. Run some mock sessions before hand so your students know what they are going to say. this thread has some links that may be helpful.

Number one : Plan to have fun. My team has had events where we finished (very) near the bottom, but had a great time and learned a lot because that was the attitude we decided we were going to have no matter what.

Best to you and your team. Remember every team was a rookie once.


They don’t bring one to local events, but EXO always brings a printer to the World Championship. How else can you publish and distribute your daily scouting report and marketing literature?

(OK, they actually bring two – a small B&W laser and a color inkjet. Be prepared!)

Okay… rookie team… first tournament, right?

Go through the tech inspection checklist and tech inspection guidelines.

Put your team name/number on all your batteries, chargers and transmitters.

Pack everything, including your tools, batteries, chargers, and safety glasses neatly.

Show up early, be first in line for tech inspection, and enjoy practice time on the playing fields while everyone else files down sharp edges.

Have a great time and enjoy… should you ever need a printer, go see the Exothermics… apparently they have two!


P.S. Yes, you guessed it… I do tech inspection!

With VEXnet we dont have a VEXnet Competition Switch. Is there a way to test this with out one or should we get one… budget has been tight , really tight

If you are using RobotC, there’s a competition switch built in. It is the board with two switches, one for Driver Control vs. Autonomous Control and another for Enable vs. Disable. Not sure about EasyC as I’ve never used it. This is mainly for making sure that you’re using the right template for your code so that your robot switches between Autonomous Period and Driver Control Period correctly.

Great suggestions above…

Before the tournament
Know the rules
Actually practice the game anyway you can
Decide on a reasonable objective for the team will be.
Try to be well rested…

During the Event
Know the rules (but always be polite to the referees and officials)
Get everyone and your robot to the event (yes I have seen a team forget their bot)
Understand the schedule and show up to your matches
Learn from your mistakes (best way to learn)

Most Importantly

**FOOD **you will run better and thus the robot will do better too:D
Always show respect, people will remember how you treated them far longer than they will remember how your robot did that day.

Good luck and enjoy the day! You are going to a robotics competition…how cool is that?!:cool: