FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, Coopertition®, and Gracious Professionalism® are registered trademarks, and Sport for the Mind™ are common law trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). ©2014 FIRST. All rights reserved.
This section provides a general summary regarding safety, mascots/uniforms, recommended items and equipment for teams to bring to competition events. You will also find information about Pit rules, generic event schedules, robot inspections, replacement parts, and competition manners. The following section provides a "feel" for competition schedules, event check in procedures, practice times, and matches. Please familiarize your team with this overview so all team members know what to expect.
Participants and team mentors must review the FIRST safety policies and the FIRST Safety Manual located at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/safety-video-and-manual?id=470. It provides sound safety practices for your workplace and FIRST events.
Every team should know, understand and follow the safety rules found in the FIRST Safety Manual.
At events, the pure anticipation and excitement can sometimes overshadow common sense and safety fundamentals. One safety area teams sometimes overlook is the need to wear appropriate clothing when working or being around the robots. In addition to the ANSI-approved, UL-listed, or CSA rated safety glasses required for eye protection, FIRST highly recommends that team members and mentors:
Please remember that fire extinguishers are available at the Pit Admin station and near the playing field. Please stay within your team’s Pit or move to the competition viewing area. If the Pit area becomes too crowded for teams and their machines to move back and forth to the field safely and quickly, FIRST will request that some team members leave the area.
See the FIRST Safety Manual for more information.
To protect team members from muscle strains and other injuries as they transport the robot between the Pits and the competition area, we strongly recommend team members use a cart. Please keep the following in mind:
NOTE: Carts must be safe. They must be easy to control and maneuver, and pose no risk to bystanders. Carts identified as unsafe by Safety Advisors must be made safe before they will be allowed to be used.
Refer to the FIRST Safety Manual for robot lifting techniques. By practicing these safety techniques, your team members will also develop a quick, fluid routine.
Throughout the competition, the easily recognizable, green-shirted Safety Advisors will continuously tour in pairs to observe activities in the Pit, practice field, queue line, and playing fields to observe the safety habits of the teams. This includes observing the uncrating/unbagging of robots and transporting them between the Pit and playing fields. The Safety Advisors will rate safe performance in three key areas:
See the FIRST Safety Manual for more information on the Safety Recognition Program.
Please help to make guests feel comfortable and welcome. Provide your team with the site restrictions and rules so everyone can work and compete in a safe, sportsmanlike and friendly environment.
At events, staff and volunteers will wear badges clearly marked with their title. Should your team members or mentors have questions or a problem, staff and volunteers will help you find the answer – especially your friendly Pit Admin staff!
This section provides general competition information and necessary details regarding scheduling, robot inspection, practice times, safety, rules, regulations, and suggestions for teams.
Your event check-in envelope should contain the Practice Match schedule. If the Practice Match schedule is not in your envelope, check with Pit Admin. Practice matches take place on the competition field. The Schedule will indicate the field you will practice and with what teams. TEAMS CANNOT SWITCH PRACTICE TIMES.
All teams will receive a comprehensive list of practice times. Your team must be at the field and ready to practice at the designated times. If your team/robot cannot be ready for your practice time slot, don’t forfeit your team’s practice time entirely. Send in your human player (if a human player has apart in the current game) to practice alone. Your team members may want to scout other teams and their strategies during practice and the actual competition matches.
Although teams may not switch practice times, there will be a designated Filler Line at each competition. Teams whose robots are ready for practice may join the Filler Line, IF THEY HAVE PASSED FULL INSPECTION. Teams from the Filler Line will be used on a first come, first served basis to fill empty spots in practice matches left by other teams that do not show up for their own practice match. Filler Lines will be limited to, at most, six robots, but the number is dependent upon space at venues. Criteria for joining the Filler Line are as follows:
In order to make the most of practice time, there will be specified teams on the field during an assigned practice slot. Each team must be respectful of the other teams sharing the field. Friendly interaction between machines is acceptable, if all teams are willing. Unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of a team during practice could result in loss of practice time or other unfavorable action.
Once your team robot passes Inspection and receives its official sticker, you are eligible to compete.
Before the Pit opens on the morning when Qualification Matches begin, the Pit Admin Supervisor will place a copy of the Qualification Schedule on each team's Pit table. This list provides information as to when teams will participate, with whom and against whom. The list is final and the schedule will not be altered.
Teams often use the Qualification Schedule to scout other teams to watch their strategies and robot capabilities. This is especially helpful when choosing alliances, should your team advance to the Elimination Matches.
Make sure your team is on time and in place if you have an early match on competition days. If your team is scheduled for any of the first four matches on those days, you must queue up before the opening ceremony. Matches begin immediately after the conclusion of the opening ceremony.
Please note that there will not be audible queuing at the Championship. As such, teams must queue up a half hour prior to each designated match.
Print the event-specific agenda from the web site for each event you will attend. This information can be found at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events?id=430. Bring it with you so your team will have the event’s agenda.
As Championship approaches, important event information will be posted at: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/championship-event
Don’t know what Bag & Tag means? On ‘Stop Build Day’ - Feb 18th, all teams must stop work on the robot and seal it in a large bag (using a tag) that will be included in the 2014 Kit of Parts. Teams record when the robot is sealed on a Robot Lock-Up Form. Teams then transport the robot to and from the event on their own. Please check the public agenda for robot drop-off times. The robot may not be unbagged, and no work on the robot is allowed until the Robot Lock-Up Form from has been reviewed and signed off by an inspector.
See FRC Administration Manual Section 5 - Robot Transportation for more Bag and Tag details.
For Championship, teams will ship their robots to the event in a crate. See Administrative Manual - Section 5 - Robot Transportation for more details.
For convenience and to help ensure safety in the Pit, five (5) people from each team will be allowed to uncrate and work on their robot on Wednesday evening. See Championship Agenda, when published, for specific times. At least one of the five team members entering the Pits must be a post-high school adult (the others may be either students or adults).
The priority tasks for team members are to uncrate their robot, have their Robot Lock-Up form signed off by an Inspector before they unbag their robot, and move their crate to the aisle so that it is accessible to Shepard Exposition Services (SES) for removal. Teams can then set up their Pit and get the robot INSPECTED. No work on the robot is allowed until the Robot Lock-Up Form has been reviewed and signed off by an inspector. The rules for Wednesday night Pit entry at the Championship are as follows:
SES (Shepard Expo Services) Desk personnel will be on hand to help during this limited opening.
Event check in takes place at the Pit Admin station the first morning of the event at the Regional Competitions, and Wednesday evening and Thursday morning for the Championship. At each event, an adult member of each team should check in by no later than noon on the first day of the event.
Prior to attending your event(s), please download the Agenda and review other important information specific to your event. You can find agendas and other information on the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Events page: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events
We highly encourage all FRC team members to submit their Consent and Release forms electronically.
FRC Team Mentors registered in TIMS will submit in TIMS: https://my.usfirst.org/frc/tims/site.lasso. Student team members will submit via the FIRST Student Team Information Member System (STIMS) at: https://my.usfirst.org/stims/site.lasso. Having your team members and mentors submit their Consent and Release forms electronically will make things much easier for you—no excess paperwork to collect and keep track of!
Please note if a team member decides to submit their Consent and Release form electronically, it will cover the team member’s attendance for the entire season – from Kickoff through Championship. However, if a team member chooses to turn in a “hardcopy” of the form (i.e., printed out from the website and signed) he/she will have to provide it at the Kickoff event (if attending) and at every competition. Details on the Consent and Release form process are available here: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/first-student-team-information-members-system-and-consent-form.
Upon receipt of your team's consent and release forms, each team will receive a registration envelope containing:
Teams, volunteers, FIRST Staff, and guests spend a lot of time in the Pit area. Get to know other teams, help each other when you can, and keep the aisles clear. Time is short and help is very often right "next door" in the adjacent team Pits.
Children under 12 MUST be accompanied
in the Pit by an Adult at all times!
The Pit Admin station is centrally located in the Pit area. FIRST staff members and/or volunteers run this area to check in teams and help teams and visitors. Come to the Pit Admin station to:
These are the areas where teams work on their robots. These numbered spaces help organize team placement and help team members, judges and visitors find teams easily. These areas are set up to be as equal as possible. Each team's Pit will have a table and power outlet.
For safety and because of insurance regulations:
FIRST personnel, event management, and/or local committee members will require teams to remove any Pit structure that is deemed unsafe or outside specifications.
Each team is allotted approximately the same amount of workspace at an event, usually about 10’x10’x10’; however, the size will vary from event to event, and in many cases the space is smaller. Be sure your equipment will fit in a space smaller than those dimensions. In all cases, the height cannot exceed 10’. This includes the height of signs, flags, banners, etc…
Keep your equipment and team members within your assigned area and do not “grow” into the aisle or undesignated space. If your team is too large to fit into the allotted space, encourage your team to leave the area to scout other teams and/or to watch the matches.
Don’t add to your space by setting up in another area!
Spare parts will be available at the events.
Batteries & chargers WILL NOT be available at any event unless you have made prior arrangements with FIRST (email FRCParts@usfirst.org for more information). NOTE TO NON-NORTH AMERICAN TEAMS TRAVELLING TO USA EVENTS – Batteries will be provided to you at the Spare Parts Station and will be labeled with your team number. Please DO NOT ship batteries within your crate.
Teams are responsible for all items required at events. If a team needs a replacement high-value item, LOANERS will be available under restrictions that will be published after Kickoff.
To ensure all robots are safely constructed and fall within the FIRST rules, there is an official robot inspection at each event. Certified inspectors will be on site. Inspectors can sometimes help find problems and/or provide suggestions during an early inspection. Go to the Inspection Station, shown on the Pit map. Read below for criteria and caveats:
Some events have a machine shop to help teams with repair and fabrication either sponsored by NASA or local organizations. While the machine shops vary, FIRST strives to have welding and a variety of high-powered tools available at the shop.
The staff and volunteers in the Pit Admin station will be able to tell you how to make use of the machine shop.
In most cases the machine shop is on site and readily accessible to all teams. If a team attends an event where the machine shop is off-site, volunteers should be in place to help transport the robot to and from the machine shop. Team members are not allowed to travel with the robot. The team will fill out a Machine Shop Request Form that travels with the robot, so the machine shop staff and volunteers can follow their directions. The event should set up a method of communication between the venue and off-site machine shop, in case there are any questions.
Teams can travel to the off-site machine shop on their own, either by walking or using their own vehicle. Remember that Teams cannot be driven by the Machine Shop Shuttle Driver. All students must be accompanied by an Adult Mentor at all times. If an Adult Mentor accompanies students, we recommend have a second Mentor or minimum of two students, in order to be in line with Youth Protection guidelines which will become policy in May 2014.
Pit/Machine Shop Hours:
Specific hours are necessary to provide teams with equal work time. Please be aware of the opening and closing hours of the Pit/Machine Shop posted on the agenda event specific agenda which can be found on the FIRST website.
FIRST welcomes team provided mobile machine shop facilities/trailers at events, but the proposed facility has to comply with FIRST and venue requirements. The mobile machine shop/trailer sponsor must adhere to the following two sections.
Although FIRST may approve a local machine shop use at any Regional, there are local restrictions such as fire codes and venue approval that you must consider as part of the process. FIRST will do its best to convey any relevant needs and work on your behalf to gain venue approval through a professional, legal process.
In addition to the above, the sponsoring team(s) must:
When using tools in the Pit, be sure to use them properly, in a safe and controlled manner. Unsafe operation, especially those that endanger others and your team, will be subject to scrutiny by the event staff and safety reviewers. Their findings may result in team caution or event expulsion.
Please adhere to the following safety rules regarding Pit safety and tool use:
We suggest you bring the following:
There will be a first aid station in the Pit to assist in the event of injury and illness. Mentors and the Safety Captain should refer to the Pit Map for the location and alert team members. Notify the Pit Admin Supervisor of any injuries or illness and fill out an incident report. Bring a travel size first-aid kit for minor injuries.
At each event, there is a predetermined traffic flow pattern to maximize efficiency of the team/robot entrance and exit and to maintain safety to the competition area. Refer to the Pit Map for the flow. The queuing team maintains this pattern at each event. Please obey the traffic rules to ensure an efficient lineup for practice and competition.
It is extremely important to keep aisles clear for safety, judging accessibility, robot mobility, courtesy and for maintaining competition schedules. Please keep chairs and equipment out of the aisles. Please sit in the audience, not on the floor or in the aisles. Judges/Safety Advisors will notice noncompliance.
We make every effort to keep noise down and announce only important items and scheduling, so PLEASE do not ask the Pit announcer to make frivolous announcements.
The Pit announcer and queue volunteers must maintain the practice and match schedules. Your team should designate team members to be your queue captains and carefully watch the schedule and alert the team when its turn is near. The queue captain should:
NOTE: Check the schedule. If your team is in the first four matches of any day of competition, your team’s robot and competition team must queue up prior to the Opening Ceremony, on or near the field.
There have been occasions when items such as cameras and laptops have "disappeared" from the Pit or competition area. Use common sense and do not leave valuable items unattended. Neither the site nor FIRST is responsible for any theft. Take valuable items with you, or designate a team representative to remain with them in the team Pit or competition areas.
If you find an article or lose one, come to the Pit Admin station to fill out a "Lost Item Report" or to turn in an article you find. We will make every reasonable attempt to return articles to owners.
There are both Opening and Closing Awards Ceremonies. These ceremonies allow everyone to show honor and respect for their countries, sponsors, teams, mentors, volunteers and award winners and to provide everyone with the opportunity to applaud the successes of team members and mentors. They also give teams a chance to "meet" the judges, referees, MCs and other important persons and sponsors involved with the event.
At the Awards Ceremony, FIRST presents trophies and medallions to outstanding teams.
We encourage all team members to attend the ceremonies, on time, to show appreciation for the event and those people involved who are volunteering their time and efforts.
On Time: For many reasons, it is necessary that teams adhere to the Pit closing time each day. Many people working in the Pit are volunteers and deserve to have a set closing time met. Assign team members and mentors to the cleanup/organization of your team Pit.
Team socials may be held after the awards ceremony on the evening of the second day, and may include food, fun and an opportunity to unwind and get to know each other in an informal, relaxed and entertaining setting. These are NOT FIRST sponsored.
This event takes place after the Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening. Please refer to the Championship Event Information.
When deciding on a team name or acronym, consider how you can work a theme around it to make your team more fun and recognizable. Part of the pleasure of being a team member or mentor is the way the team stylizes itself.
Team numbers provide unique identification for FRC teams. We strongly recommend that you include the team number on all team T-shirts, trading buttons, hats, cheers and costumes.
Often teams bring small items to give away to others at the event. This is completely optional, but is certainly a great way to promote your team’s identity. The most popular item to give away is a button with your team logo and number.
Keep safety in mind. Awards acceptance often means descending and ascending stairs/bleachers. Please make sure that mascot and team costumes are safe for the wearer as to vision and movement and that they are comfortable and cool enough to prevent fainting and dehydration.
We ask that you bring attention to your team in ways that are in good taste and in the spirit of the competition. Please refrain from the following:
Please make sure your team Pit and surrounding area is clean when you leave the site.
Sponsors provide FIRST with banners so we can display them in specified areas as a way of thanking them for their generosity. We encourage teams to bring team flags and/or sponsor banners, but we ask that you adhere to the following:
Sitting together in a group during competition matches makes the game more exciting and fun. It’s where you can show support for your team. Since very often there is not enough seating to accommodate everyone, there has to be a policy regarding seating.
Teams are not allowed to save seating space.
With this in mind, it is not permitted to hang banners or ribbons to designate such an area. We will remove and discard any banners, roping, etc... Please take turns sitting in the bleachers, if seating is limited. Share the fun. When you see there is a crowding problem, leave after your team's match and return later for another few matches.
Please read the following common site restrictions and adhere to them in order to promote an orderly, safe, pleasant and exciting competition. Please refer to Administrative Manual - Section 4.2 FIRST Safety for additional site restrictions at your event.
You will often hear the expression Gracious Professionalism® throughout your involvement in FIRST. You can read Woodie Flowers’ definition in Section 1 – Introduction of the 2013 FRC Administration Manual. One of our main goals is to encourage all team members and mentors to conduct themselves with kindness, sharing and consideration of others.
Gracious Professionalism® is a central tenet of the FIRST experience. It is not acceptable to engage in hostile action, hostile/profane language or any other violent or antagonistic conduct. FIRST reserves the right, at its discretion, through the Event Manager or his/her designee, to arrange for any team, team member, event participant or other individual to be removed from participating or attending any FIRST event or program for engaging in such conduct. FIRST looks forward to everyone's cooperation in keeping our programs and events exciting, educational and full of Gracious Professionalism®.