Tips for Competitions

I have some questions for a competition next Saturday.

How do you determine who would be your best alliance partner?
What is the best strategy this year?
How do you get judges to reconize your team?
Do you perfer to choose an alliance partner or be chosen?

Any help would be appriciated.

  1. Scout! Check out this thread for more info:
    Also, check out this section on my site to learn a little more about scouting: [

  2. This is an answer-less question. Thats the beauty of VEX, that you get to figure out designs on your own. But I would suggest looking around on the forum and youtube for some ideas if you feel the need.

  3. Be nice! Both to the judges, and other teams. Believe me, they are watching at tournaments. Also, having a good judging session makes a difference, so make sure that your whole team knows how to answer question that may come up during judging. Obviously judges are also going to watch the better teams more, so having a good bot is always the best place to start with winning over the judges.

  4. Personally, I think that picking is always the better option, because it gives you way more control. But if you do a good job scouting, then it shouldn’t matter much. Just roll with whatever happens and have fun with it.

Hope this helps!
Feel free to ask any other questions…](

  1. this depends on your robot design, their design, and the strategy you both decide to use
  2. same answer as above
  3. preform well and rehearse your judges presentation with your entire team (and have an engineers notebook)
  4. choose your partner (you get a choice)

you beat me to it! :stuck_out_tongue:

What I meant about the strategy was that is it better to try to put all of your objects in one goal or to spread it out as much. Also, if you use any tricks at competitions, feel free to share.

its better to: trap the opponents to their iso zone, take all their objects so they cant score, and score all your objects in all the goals

but most robots cant do all that, so you will have to choose what suits your robot best

heres a “trick” we use :wink:
try to be first seed so you can choose whoever you want (unless they say no)

Again, this needs to be a personal strategy. There are advantages to both. Piling up on one goal can be great if you can double it, but detrimental if it is negated. Spreading objects out provides more bonus points, but reduces the effect of the doubler because it won’t do as much.

A lot of it depends on your specific bot design, my suggestion would be to just try out some different strategies and see what works for you.

As far as tips:

  1. Keep one specific person to charge/switch your batteries after every match
  2. Make sure all your wires are connected
  3. Check everything that has a chance of not working in the match (making a check-list of the ‘problem areas’ of your bot is a good idea. This allows you to have a process to follow between every match, reducing the chance that you’ll make a stupid decision that will screw you for the match)

I like the checklist idea.
From your experience, how is a game normally won? Are they normally won by getting to the middle 30" first and scoring alot?

From my experience, I don’t think there are any set peramaters for winning a match. I know it sounds like a bull answer, but its true. It really all depends on your bot, your partner’s bot, and your opponent’s bots. For instance, if one of your opponents couldn’t even score on a 30" goal, then I would pile up on that one and try to double it most likely.

Is this going to be your first competition, or are you just trying to get some advice?

Also, on a side note, I would suggest taping your matches. Its a lot better to have footage that you won’t use than to beat yourself up if you don’t have a video of something awesome. Your scouts can generally tape matches if you are interested in doing so.

This isn’t my first ever, it is just my first for gateway. Do you end up using your videos to help decide your alliance partner?

We have not thus far, but it may be possible. If you want to really go all out, I suppose you could tape a match of each team at the tournament to help you pick, but thats a little overboard.

I meant having the videos for watching later on. They’re good to have to watch what you did well and what you did poorly as far as driving.

Otherwise, I would suggest simply grabbing one or two members of your team, plopping them down in the stands with a pad of paper and a pen, and having them watch every single match. How I look at it, if you do your scouting right, your scouts will be able to tell you at the end of qualifying matches who your partner should be.

So pretty much you look at a team, see if you like them, and right down stuff about them? Also, how evenly matched are the teams this late in the competition? I have never had a competition this late.

Take notes on what you think is important. If that means simply what bots you like, do that, or take notes on as many areas of their design as you see fit.

In our area, the competition has not been that even. Its kind of been all over the board as far as the skills of teams. There are definitely good bots out there, but don’t think it’ll be too hard just because it is kind of late in the season.

Your area could be different though

I assumed that since it is late in the season that all of the good teams will be preparing for worlds and not competing. I remember from last year that there were good teams and then terrible teams, so I guess I will have to wait and see.

Yes, that sounds about right. It varies a lot based on where you are too. I wouldn’t worry too much.

Do you have any other questions?

One last question. Are the judges suppose to come around to every team? And if so, what do you say to them?

It varies depending on the tournament. I know I was really mad at our last competition because we did not have an official judging session, and I was not present when the judges stopped at our table.

I greatly prefer having an official judging time, but be prepared that you may not have one.

As far as what to say, again, its kind of a personal thing. A lot of the time the judges will ask you specific questions, or sometimes they will just want you to explain your design. Either way, make sure that your whole team knows everything there is to know about your bot.
There is nothing more annoying or embarrasing than not being able to answer the questions of the guys that hand out the awards. Do your homework!

Again, when I was not present when the judge stopped, we still were able to explain everything because all our members knew what they were talking about.

It is a good idea to have your engineering notebook with you, and to have your program open if there is anything interesting to show.

The questions are usually pretty generic, with stuff like:
“why did you pick this design?”
“what makes your bot unique?”
or stuff like that.

Judging is your time to be noticed, so make sure you are ready, and then just tell them why your bot is awesome…
Simple, right?

Yah, it is pretty simple. What do you do if you don’t get an official judging time? Do you go and ask a judge to come judge you?

They generally come to you. It can be at a completely random, and really bad time though. Just try to make the best of it if it happens.

Ok thank you very much.

You’re welcome. Feel free to ask more questions anytime.