Starting A Team

Are you interested in starting an FTC team? If you are, and want to know how to get started, this is the page for you!

Of course, the best resource is firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc/start-a-team, since it is the official website. However, we still have a few tips for teams just starting out or those who are aspiring to do so. Below is a list of 4 basic steps that can help you stay on the right track.

4 BASIC STEPS TO HELP YOU START AN FTC TEAM

1. Get a Team Together

Before you do anything, you have to make sure you have a team to work with! Find people who are interested in doing FTC and are willing to do their share of the work. It's ok if there's not that many-once you get the hang of it, more people might want to join! About 4-5 other people would be a good starting point, since teams usually have 10 people and consist of the building and programming team. Now is also the time to figure out who is interested in doing what. Team members should have specific skills and qualities, such as past experience or working well in a group. This is a long-term commitment, so make sure they will fulfill their responsibilities and do their part to help the team succeed.

2. Work Out Resources and Parts

Now that you've made sure you have a team to work with, you can figure out how you're getting your supplies to build and program. Everyone should pitch in, since it is a team effort. Many companies offer to sponsor FTC teams, which most commonly means they give you money to help buy supplies, sending resources to you directly (companies like Actobotics, etc.) or even just giving you a place to work. Once you've purchased everything, there's no going back, so the team needs to be serious about doing FTC. At this point you should also register, and try getting more team members.

3. Learn/Practice

With your Team

You can't just build a robot without knowing how! The team should spend a good amount of time researching and practicing, whether it's building parts of a robot or how to program with Java. The team coaches should help you learn during this process, and make sure you have a good understanding. This should also be done before parts are purchased and after, to make sure the team is capable of managing their responsibilities and engineering the robot. It should probably be encouraged to do some research at home, so that meetings are more fruitful. If you or somebody else is having trouble, it's okay! Give them some extra help and time, and it'll become easier as you go along.

4. Start Preparing for the Competition

Now that your team has gotten the hang of it (hopefully), you can start preparing for the competition. Build a robot with attachments specific to the tasks, and start programming it as well. It's easier to start with teleOp, since it's a basic program that allows the controller to move the robot. It also helps you practice using Java, which will help you when you do the Autonomous after. Try including sensors on the robot, even if you are unfamiliar with them, because it will make the Autonomous period a lot more effective. Work with your team, keep your engineering notebook updated, and everything should be fine. Even if you don't win all the competitions, it's still a good experience and will really help you if you decide to keep doing FTC the next year.