Should I coach a coach

My AP Chemistry teacher just started coaching IQ in middle school.
I feel like I have enough robotics knowledge to help him out with robotics stuff, but I also feel like my teacher won’t appreciate me thinking of him as someone that needs help.

Students of robotics coaches, do you ever help your teachers be coaches?
Coaches, how would you feel if one of your non-robotics-related students were to help you coach?

Think it is all about being tactful in bringing this up to your teacher.

I have no idea what is his/her personality like, but generally teachers are always happy to have students volunteering to help to mentor the younger ones.


I am a kid (student). I view things this way. If I have something that seems valuable for my teacher to know, I tell him. Ideas stand and fall on their own, and most people won’t take offense to being told something helpful.


I’m going to go: it depends. Your ID shows up as a VIQ middle school team, so are you on the team that the teacher is going to coach/mentor? If you have lots more experience, then helping the coach out should go OK. I’d ask and see if they would want the help.

From being a mentor, the “know it all” roboteers that don’t really know (and not implying that you are) are super annoying. Then there is the added effort of undoing bad information and getting right information out.

There is also something that you might want to think about, the concept of leading from behind. Linda Hill of Harvard Business did some writing about this

First article is here but she has some videos out too. The idea is to enable and guide, like a shepherd does vs overt leadership. Like keeping the parts in order to make it easier to build and enabling faster build cycles.

Good luck!

(And a dog herding sheep video for your amusement )


this x 1,000,000!

To Foster’s point - help facilitate the IQ teams, let them figure out what are the questions to be solved, point them to resources to help answer them. Don’t be that kid that comes and says “well xyz is the only solution to win.” I’ve run across many who do that. Keep your hands off the robot build. Let them fail and help them to look at the problem more critically.

Have fun, learn lots!


As a student I would not “Coach a coach” per say. I would go to your coach and let him know that if he has any questions or needs help with anything that you are willing to help. If they need help with anything they will talk to you, and if they don’t need help they know that you are still willing to help.
Provided, if you are a part of the team that they are going to coach I would just try to be a great person on that team and try to help out the other kids.


You can also anticipate what kind of difficulties they could run into.

Then build a robot that solves those design issues.

Then show your coach and schoolmates what you built.

Don’t tell them this is how they should build, but channel an excitement of you building it and getting it to work.

If they are smart - they will take hints.

If you are smart you will guide them along the way “from behind” like @Foster said.


Then build a mechanism that leads to a solution to those design issues.

“Here is how a 4 bar linkage works. If we make it a boxed linkage, how will that help? How can we improve on that?”

Big difference in those two steps…


This is incorrect way to mentor/coach team by telling them this robot solves their problem. Where is the learning? Teams need to develop a design process of their own. If you think just having a reference design is good, then they already have one each years Hero bot designs from VEX.

I am with Foster on this - show mechanisms, let the team adapt it to their problem space.

Don’t forget, teams should analyze the game - help them with that - break it down into small tasks that robot needs to accomplish. Then develop a strategy that will get best results as they will not be able to accomplish all the tasks the game requires.

Also, documentation - this is a key tool for teams to develop as it will enhance their collaboration skills.

I am still on the side - go be helpful to the MS teams - they will learn a lot through conversations vs being told what to do.


I wouldn’t worry about this because if you’re doing this you’re giving them the easy way out in a lot of respects. Not fair to basically give the solution.

More importantly though, as VRC is aimless without the true goal in mind (getting students headed towards stem careers), it’s probably best to focus on that and on the skills that can transfer forwards.

When I say this I mean the documentation, communication, work ethic, accountability, etc. side of things.

This is what my teacher has really been teaching us for the past couple years. He is largely uninvolved in the actual robot building and design process as far as what we choose to do. Instead, he focuses on the planning and teamwork aspect. The stuff that we get to take to college and beyond.


Please, don’t think about it as building a robot solution for them. Rather building my own robot that has an example solution for them to look at and learn.

This is in case if coach would not welcome you coming forward with “annoying” advice - you just do your own thing setting an example to look at that.


That’s fair I think. My best source of learning (since as I said we never really were taught anything by our teacher in terms of building/programming techniques) has been this forum and youtube videos from other teams. Also whatever I could glean from classmates. In that way, building a demo/example/solution robot could be really useful…

For example, when I want to look at amazing building techniques I go to the Pilons’ photo albums.


My issue with this statement is you are a VRC and not an IQ competitor. Which is odd thing to go build an IQ Challenge robot. Best to build your EDR robot to play your challenge, and have them ask about the mechanisms you made and why you chose it. It is authentic model, rather than contrived. For example, a VEXU team building their big bot alongside a VRC team is useful as the big bot will always be out of size for VRC, and the parts being used might not be legal in VRC. So the VRC has to learn about the choices of materials and mechanisms and adapt to their Game constraints.

So back to my original point, don’t build a VEX IQ Challenge robot, but do build your VRC Change Up - you will model the skills they need to develop as they advance from MS to HS.