Kickoff. Every FRC team’s deciding moment, the moment that announces the new game and determines what the team must do to win. With our team composed of half rookies, kickoff also happened to be one of the most exciting and important team bonding experiences that we’d ever experienced.
The week before kickoff, our team had conducted a practice kickoff, basing it off of 2018’s game, FIRST PowerUP! We split everyone into randomized groups with veterans and rookies alike, all of whom had different areas of expertise. Each group convened, shy at first, unwilling to talk until a veteran team member started insightful conversations about robot strategy, robot design, or even better, cats. Through the practice kickoff experience, we bonded as a team, providing a much-needed foundation for the upcoming season.
On the day of kickoff, we split into the same randomized groups, each group now more sure of how to properly strategize an FRC robot. With proper team bonding, more creative questions were asked, ensuring that we created the perfect strategy for the upcoming season.
“What do we use the sustainability bonus for?”
“Is it legal for us to have an arm that extends out of both sides of the robot?”
“Is it legal to have a circular chassis?”
As soon as we’d decided on a strategy, we picked the subsystems we wanted to work on, splitting up into IPTs (integrated processing teams), such as drive train, arm, or claw. We immediately began prototyping, each IPT thoroughly focused on ensuring that the robot gets built in a timely and safe manner. Following kickoff everyone was at practices, dedicating every second of their time to building this robot; CADing and programming at school, home, and robotics; and stalking other team’s prototypes and robots to ensure that what we planned to do had the potential to be effective. Kickoff week was more fun than we could’ve imagined, giving us the opportunity to become more well-rounded as individuals, and as a team.