I disagree. Our mentor does not know much about vex, but he puts in a lot of time to make sure we have good funding and that we are able to be ready for the competitions. He does not help with robot building/design but he helps with everything else.
Even though he doesn’t know much, he comes and wants to learn something at each competition by asking how things work on people’s robots etc… He is also nice and courteous to other teams
Time, experience, and dedication make a strong team. Access to @jpearman and his knowledge doesn’t hurt, either.
Ditto of what everyone else said, using who is good at what (don’t have the software guy assigned to building the most complex part of the robot or have the track person be the designated person to run and get what you forgot when a match is about to start), patience with yourself, your team, your robot, etc, a bit of Olaf spirit (NOT THE SNOWMAN, the character that seeks to keep fighting until the bitter end ALWAYS and when the bitter end comes, makes a fight that no one can forget), and FUN
And if you don’t have enough time, improve your efficiency
To all those who say don’t build right before the competitions, our best competitions have come when we finished the day before or the day of the competition. Our only time ever finishing the robot more than one week in advance came at states, and the entire robot kept falling apart.
I like to win, a lot. That helps.
Our team is small enough (3) that decision-making is easy. We are all willing to put the time in. We have an adequate stockpile of parts built up. We have members with competition experience. We don’t do much scouting due to a lack of manpower, but we are shrewd with alliance selection and strategy.
When you have a legacy to maintain, that adds a lot of pressure. It encourages you to put in thr hours. That isn’t necessary, though; just set a goal. Your goal should aim high: to win State, be the best team you possibly can be, etc. You may not reach it, but it will drive you to achieve.
And it’s worked for us so far this year. Our robot was bad the first half of the year but we grabbed a couple of tournament wins. We had the motivation to rebuild, and built (arguably) the best field bot in our state and had great success.
I would say that you have been extremely lucky. In my experience, when my teams finish their robot the night before or the morning of a competition, they tend to not do very well. The level of competition in Wisconsin is too high. To compete at the top level, you need both a good robot, but also plenty of practice time driving it as well. I have seen many, many times where an outstanding design will get beat by a good design when the good design has practiced a lot and can get their robot to do what it does extremely well.
As far as what makes a strong team, I believe it is a combination of factors. First and foremost, a clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish, the willingness to try different approaches (prototype and document), communication, the ability to resolve conflict (because there will be!), the willingness to scrap an approach if they see it has a limited ceiling (too easy to fall in love with a particular design so you can’t see its limitations) and the drive to constantly improve (and putting in the time to do that) are all attributes of a strong team. It is also helpful to have the resources (parts, knowledge, etc.) needed to accomplish your goals.
That is my story and I am sticking to it.
A strong team is one that are also strong friends. A team that has the ability to laugh and joke around in and out of vex is one that will connect better. A team has to have a leader who knows when to be a friend and when to be a captain but also is willing to sacrifice more time to make the team better, will be stronger. A team is only as strong as the bond between each other and their willingness to learn.
+1 to this. Early in the construction of our robot, I was a Nazi of a team leader. I was no nonsense and not receptive to input from others. However, as our team grew, I learned to laugh at myself, take criticism, and hear out ideas. As a result, I’ve improved as a leader, and our team improved as a group.
From my experience it is simply having a reliable team where all people have different ideas and can explain them. It would also help if they can take critism and having their ideas shot down.
We think a division of labor system may help keep everyone organized, on task, and specialized in their area of expertise. Our chart describes the four groups: Grafters, Geeks, UAV’s, and Retweets, that make up Har-Ber Robotics. Crafters are primarily in charge of the fabricating and the design of our robot. However everyone on the team contributes to robot in some way. Geeks are in charge of programming the robots. UAV’s work on communications and reconnaissance such as scouting at competitions, YouTube, and yours truly, the vex forum. The UAV’s research help in the design of our robot. Finally, we have the Retweets who are in charge of photography, videography, and website management. In addition, each one of these groups contains a faction captain that reports to the main captain. Each one of the group leaders will take on an apprentice that are to be trained in the area of expertise during the competition year. Right now, our Juniors are taking on our new Sophomore team members for apprentices. Although everyone has their own specialized system, everyone pitches in on working with the robot physically. We think this can make a team stronger because it keeps everyone at maximum efficiency, due to them being specialized in their field of expertise.
Oh, well. We are only 2 members so I have to design/CAD/build/program/drive and my other team member is in charge of the notebook and scouting at competitions. I guess it all depends on team size.
Anyways I think the difference between the overachieving teams and the more regular teams is their dedication(hours), their desire to win and their overall ingenuity.
The only thing you’re missing is a vexorcist! AKA the troubleshooter…
Lots of whey and protein powder. Its also important not to skip leg day so you have a good muscle balance.