In the Houston area we are looking at holding workshops during our first scrimmage of the season (Early September).
The goals of these workshops is to get teams building competitive robots. We have seen a lot of growth but for many teams that hasn’t turned in to better products on the field.
We are looking at possibly teaching how to build some type standard competitive drive train and arm design to base designs off of. Many teams are still building the square bot and that’s just not enough to be competitive.
Have people tried this in other areas? What helped the most.
Are there presentations available to work from?
What would you go over if you wanted to make a team more competitive?
Holding camps like what you are talking about helps out teams tremendously. We do summer camps as well as year long mentoring for 11 teams here in the Southern California area. Typically over summer, we invite the incoming freshman to teach them RobotC before they get into the competition season. This year we are going to try to do “drills” to get them used to having to assemble quickly and accurately.
Aside from teaching the fundamentals of construction and something about the limitations of the motors (torque vs. speed curves, overheating/trip-out conditions, etc.), I would emphasize programming.
In Toss Up, I saw a middle school robot that was little more than a squarebot with a single piece of C-channel on top that they could flap around. Mechanically, it was the simplest thing in the world, but the kids had learned how to program the thing really well and they could reprogram it really fast. The result is that they could reprogram their robot between matches so they could adjust what it did during autonomous mode, and that made it very useful for their alliances. They ended up making it to middle school Worlds and they did surprisingly well at Worlds with it, too.