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Practice Day Poll

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  • Practice Day Poll

    Greetings FRC Teams,

    FRC staff and volunteers are reviewing potential improvements to the practice day schedule. Some teams find that working on their robot is more valuable than practicing. That leads to empty spots on the field and incomplete practice matches.

    We would like to increase the throughput of teams practicing. Three options are described below. Please also open the attachment to see graphical representations of each proposal. Review the options and provide feedback about the format that provides the best practice day experience for the FRC community.

    Option 1: Status Quo
    • For details of how practice matches have been run in the past, please refer to Section 9.2.1 in the 2007 FRC Game Manual (FRC Game Manual website)

    Option 2: Open Practice Followed by Option 3
    • There is no practice schedule for the first third of the day (open practice matches)
    • Teams line up and practice on a "first come first serve" basis
    • Teams may not occupy more than one spot in line or on the field
    • Open practice matches are one match only (less than five minutes total)
    • Open practice matches are for the first 1/3 of the day, Option 3 for the remaining 2/3 of the day

    Option 3: Status Quo with Filler Line
    • Empty slots are filled, as needed, by teams who are ready to practice
    • Practice schedules are generated as before, w/ 10 minute practice match length
    • Filler line is limited to ~6 robots (dependent on venue space), additional teams must keep an eye on the line and line up when the last spot opens up
    • In order to wait in the filler line, you must have your robot and may not work on it while in line.
    • Hint: think about the singles line at the ski lift.

    Thank you for your time and your input - Go Teams!
    Attached Files
    The Status Quo
    Open Practice, followed by Option 3
    Status Quo w/ added "Filler" line

    The poll is expired.

    Kit of Parts Manager

  • #2
    Re: Practice Day Poll

    There has been lively discussion in a thread on the Chief Delphi forum concerning the options suggested in this poll. Here is a link to that thread:

    Practice matches on Thursday are extremely valuable to teams, and it is a shame to see that precious time go to waste when a team is not able to get their robot to the field for a scheduled practice match. I would support a change to the practice match procedures that allows more teams to get more practice time. My team voted for Option 3 in this poll.

    However, I also concur with Mike Betts' position, expressed in Post #37 of the Chief Delphi thread mentioned above. No team should miss a qualifying match Friday morning because they were too busy with extra practice to complete robot inspection on Thursday.


    • #3
      Re: Practice Day Poll

      FRC 41, as a team, voted for option 2, but are not wholly opposed to option 3.

      We prefer option 2 because in our experience, particularly last year at the NJ regional, a number of teams are either inoperable or still unpacking at the time of their first practice. Relieving the pressure from teams in these conditions may make the morning of the practice day more enjoyable to teams, give them time to walk around the pits to discuss with other teams, and provide a "ramp up" into the competition schedule.

      If options 2 or 3 are the winning options, we have some concerns regarding the option 3 paradigm:

      1. The definition of "working on the robot" while in line should be clear and unambiguous. Several spot checking procedures could be employed by teams, but interpreted as "work". There should be a minimum of judgement calling on the part of event staff in regard to this matter.

      2. The queueing system for filling matches should be uniform from event to event. Also, filling the queue should have more order than "first come first served". The suggested method (from the circulated proposal) would disadvantage teams with pits located far from the field entrance or queueing site while giving teams close to the location an advantage to filling an open spot in a full or near-full queue.

      3. A maximum number of allowed matches or a required match delay should be employed. According to the circulated proposal, a team could (concieveably) have a practice match, cycle to the front of the "filler" queue and practice again in back-to-back matches. Either employing a maximum number of allowed practice matches, or having teams wait a match or two before re-entering the queue may resolve many of the cases we highlight in point #2 above.(though we do not intend this observation to discount #2 in lieu of #3)

      Again, this is a compilation of opinions of FRC 41 students and mentors, and we thank GDC for all their work preparing for this year's competition.

      Jeff Erickson
      [email protected]
      FRC41 Mentor/Engineer


      • #4
        Re: Practice Day Poll

        Our team has discussed the options proposed and had a vote. We feel that option 2 will be best.

        Sabatay Lazar
        Coach of
        Team 2100
        Masters of M.E.T.A.L.


        • #5
          Re: Practice Day Poll

          To go along with option 3 -
          How about giving out tokens of 3 different colors which represent different priorities. Use this to determine who gets to play in practice match slots. Here is an example:
          Green Token = 1st priority
          Yellow Token = 2nd priority
          Red Token = 3rd priority
          If a regional normally would have 3 practice matches for each team, then give out 3 green, 1 yellow and 1 red tokens. How do we use the tokens? Like this:
          As teams line up for a practice match they must hand in a token to get in line. They have to decide how important it is for them to run in that match by using the appropriate priority token. If a team is originally assigned to that match, their green token takes priority over fill-in team’s green token. However, if they ran out of green tokens, then a fill-in team with a green token would have priority over them, since that would indicate that they already had their allotment of 3 matches. This would give teams who could not run early, a better chance of getting in some practice matches later.

          To add to this, perhaps you could also say that a red and yellow token cannot be used without first getting an “Inspected” sticker. This forces fill-in teams who have not been inspected to use a green token early.

          This solves a few problems:
          1) Allows teams to run more than their allocation, but not so many that they reduce opportunities for other later in the day
          2) Controls who has priority to get in the fill-in line, to minimize chaos and arguments
          3) Encourages some teams to get inspected early to get in more practice matches.

          Maybe tokens do not make sense, but in any case where you intend to have a fill-in line or waiting list of some kind, you need to manage it by priority to minimize the chaos.

          This will become even more of an issue in Atlanta where the pits are so far from the fields. Fill-in lines in Atlanta may actually have to be staged in the pits.


          • #6
            Re: Practice Day Poll

            Our team discussed this and agreed that Option 3 sounds the best as it provides order with flexibility.


            • #7
              Re: Practice Day Poll

              Our team missed the deadline as we miss read the time. We did like the third option. We do feel that teams should have to be fully inspected before entering the queue line after 1 pm. This will make sure that all teams strive to get inspected and that the teams won't wait until the last minute because they would rather practice than get inspected. Thank you FIRST for asking for input.

              Steve Warren
              Mentor Team 188


              • #8
                Re: Practice Day Poll

                Team 2129 votes for Option 3 above all.


                • #9
                  Re: Practice Day Poll

                  We like option 3, but still see problems with cueing the teams.

                  a. What if a team is in the singles line when their real practice time comes up.
                  b. Teams that aren't pitted next to the singles line have a disadvantage.
                  c. There will be teams waiting just around the corner to get in the singles line.
                  d. People will be working on their robots in the singles line.

                  Here is a possible solution.

                  What if the rules say that teams have to be standing inline with their robot 2 rounds before there normal practice match otherwise they forfeit that match and another team would get their spot. This would give you enough time for the team taking the spot to go get their robot. This would allow the singles line to be people instead of robots, thus taking up less space and being safer.

                  The singles line could consist of 2 people from each team. One team member goes and gets the robot and the other stays to hold the teams spot. Or as another option the first 2 teams in the singles line could have there robot there and the rest of the line consists of 2 team members from each team.


                  • #10
                    Re: Practice Day Poll


                    Just saw the new practice match policy in At the Events, 3.6.1. Nice job. This should help teams get more practice time and reduce amount of that time that is wasted due to no-shows on Thursdays.

                    Thank you.


                    • #11
                      Re: Practice Day Poll

                      As a lead queuer for the past 10 years, I am really in favor of Option 2. Since many teams do not/cannot show up in the morning because they are not ready, it doesn't make sense to have a schedule. In the afternoon they have to have passed inspection to practice, which encourages getting through inspection. Having them on a schedule for practice encourages them even further. If it was open all day, they would wait as long as possible to even attempt passing inspection.