Rookie Central

Why Join FIRST?

You’ve learned things today through this competition that will serve you for the rest of your life no matter what kind of work you choose to pursue. FIRST isn’t just an opportunity, it’s an experience! Team KAOS’ robotics members can proudly say that FIRST has made a huge impact in the direction of their future. This eccentric benefit does not just apply to our team; it applies to the world. There are hundreds of teams that have taken the big step of joining this prestigious competition. It allows high school students to build robots, learn about STEM related fields, have fun, build long-lasting relationships, meet engineers and inspirational leaders, travel to remote locations, but most importantly, build self-confidence, determination, and a passion for success. It truly is not just about the robots, it is about the experiences shared and built as a team.


How To Start a Team

Step 1 – Register on TIMS

Register your information on-line on FIRST’s Team Information Management System (TIMS). By registering your information, you will become a part of the FRC Community and begin receiving communications from FIRST. You will also receive a temporary team number in preparation of event registration in the fall. Please note that completing this stage of the process does not commit you to becoming a team. You are only considered a registered team after your team has selected an event (during the fall registration period). You may withdraw and receive a refund any time up until you take delivery of your kit of parts.


Step 2 – Register for a Regional

Get in touch with the Regional Director in your area. The Regional Director and/or Senior Mentor know the teams, schools and businesses in your area. He/she can help you form a plan for getting your team funded, organized, and in touch with other teams in the area for mentoring assistance.


Step 3 – Read FIRST’s Key Documents

Read the following key FIRST documents:

  • Starting an FRC Team Outline – outlines what you need to get started and lists resources to help you on your way.
  • FRC Handbook – How to guide your team through the season. Includes tips on recruiting, team organization and sample team budgets.
  • FIRST Mentoring Guide – We”ve compiled some tips on how to be a great resource for your team.

Step Four – Community Resources

Familiarize yourself with these Community Resources:

For a complete list of our resources visit our Links and Resources area.


What To Expect

Build Season

Every FIRST team is allowed six weeks to build their robot. During this time, you will find that this competition is an engaging opportunity to grow, learn, and succeed. Team KAOS has prepared a view points of advice that teams should keep in mind during the build season.

  • Pace yourself: It is important that teams completely plan out the six weeks.
  • Organizing groups: By grouping students, there is higher chance that teams will optimize performance and eliminate duplicity.
  • Embrace everyone’s opinions: Usually, two heads are better than one. By listening to others’ ideas, teams can usually combine or incorporate different ideas onto a robot.
  • Talk to other teams: There is one known fact about FIRST, there are hundreds of teams out there, odds are that one of them has an answer to your question. It is also good to socialize and get to know local teams, as they may have good tips regarding building robots and competing at local regionals.
  • Use the internet: One of the most precious tools around today is the internet. There are countless Q&A pages, forums, and tutorials online designed to help all types of teams seeking information.
  • Prototype: By using cheap and reusable materials to evaluate concepts, teams will save their limited resources for the final robot
  • Use CAD: Teams that create Computer Aided Drawings prior to building, usually have a better sense of understanding whether different mechanisms will function correctly.
  • Find sponsors: If teams are facing a lack of funding for resources and materials, it is a good idea to present to nearby companies and businesses offering money for good causes.
  • Inspection: One of the worst things that can happen to a team is not passing inspection at a regional. It is a good idea to continuously ensure that the robot does not break any inspection regulations.
  • Have fun: It is importing to ensure that all team members are having fun while building. At the end of the day, a happy team, is a successful team!


Regional Competitions

This is exactly what you have been waiting for. After the extensive six weeks of design, build, and preparation, it is time to demonstrate how hard work pays off. There are approximately 70 FIRST Regionals throughout the United States, and as FIRST continues to expand, remote regionals are uprising, such as a few in Canada and one in Israel. Regional Competitions allow robotics teams to showcase their skills through robot qualification and elimination matches, Coopertition, Gracious Professionalism and so much more. In addition, there is more way to competition than just the robots, teams are allowed to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the season, how the have impacted the community, and how FIRST has impacted the team. Regionals last three days and end with an awards ceremony in which awards range from “Most Spirit” to the most prestigious award a team may earn, the “Regional Chairman’s Award.” As many teams have heard before, “Good luck and see you at the competitions!” Below are a few tips that may be useful to teams at FIRST Regionals.

  • Wake up early: Arrive at the regional on time in order to ensure enough preparation for inspection and the practice rounds.
  • Maintain a safe and appropriate work area: There is nothing more frustrating than coming back from a match to find an unsafe and messy PIT. Avoiding hazards is a key at all times.
  • Assign roles: By providing all team members with specific roles and duties, duplicity will be eliminated and the team will find an increase in efficiency. Usually, two heads are better than one, but at a competition, when a team has a limited amount of students and resources, one is better than two when trying to complete a simple task.
  • Socialize: Get to meet teams from all over the world. FIRST is a culture-rich program that allows different people to interact and share advice in a fun way.
  • Systems Check: Three years ago, Team KAOS began to perform “Systems Checks,” which means that the team must fully inspect the robot after every match. There is a pre-made checklist that must be followed in order to ensure that the robot is in working condition.
  • Have fun: At times, teams may find themselves a bit overwhelmed. Don’t worry, that is completely normal as the competition may get somewhat tough. However, do not let that get in the way. Go out, meet other teams, talk to other people, ask questions, and go root for others, you will find that stress is reduced and problem solving will become easier to perform.
  • Get help, give help: At times, teams may be in need of assistance, many teams are willing to help others in need. In addition, if you have a few spare members that have extra time, go out and offer help to those who are in need.
  • Exhibit Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism: FIRST is all about the spirit of the game! All teams should work together, whether alliance members or opponents in a match, or the PIT right next to yours, implementing these values is a must.
  • Revise the match schedule: Ensure that all of the matches the team will be playing are highlighted in the Match Schedule List that all teams receive. It is crucial to know when it is your team’s turn to play a match. Not participating in a match can cause some damage points. If the team’s robot is malfunctioning, ensure that a human player is sent to the field, which ensures the teams with points.
  • Scout: All veteran teams know this very efficient role which is crucial during the elimination process. Teams should assign a few members to scout other teams and check out other robots. If you find youreslf in the middle of the field and it is your turn to select an alliance, you definitely want to know who you are going to pick.
  • Winning: Teams that work hard will receive awards and recognition as they embrace their success and realize how fruitful it may be. However, winning isn’t everything. It is all about the journey that teams embark on and the relationships, knowledge, and experience that is gained along the way. Remember, you don’t have to be FIRST to be a successful FIRST team.


FIRST Robotics Competition Championship

This is what it all comes down to… the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship! Due to Team KAOS’ two Regional Chairman’s Awards, the team has been able to attend the FRC Championship twice. The team can affirm that this is the most fun students will ever encounter during their education. Teams may receive an apprehension for the magnitude of Championship through the derivation of the equation shown below:

Teams are automatically eligible to attend the FRC Championship by winning the Regional Robot Winner Award, Regional Chairman’s Award, Engineering Inspiration Award, and/or the Rookie All-Star Award. Teams may also attend the Championships by registering directly with FIRST, however, there is a twist, please visit FIRST’s Championship Eligibility page to have a clearer understanding of the eligibility requirements. The FRC Championships offer students with the ability to meet other students from all across the world, compete with teams from other regionals, learn from others, receive great tips from professionals, and ultimately have fun at the trip of a lifetime. Last year, FIRST shocked everyone by holding a surprise concert by Willow Smith and The Black Eyed Peas. Let’s see what FIRST surprises us with this year. :) The following excerpt was written by Sergio Silva, whom was one of four KAOS members who attended the 2011 FRC Championship.

When I first joined the robotics team, I never expected to be attending the championships. It was something that you would hear other teams talk about, but never expected to attend. When our team won the Regional Chairman's Award at the Lone Star Regional last year, it never hit me that we were eligible for the championships until our mentors told us when we went back to school. I was super happy! The team was very hyped and couldn't wait to attend. Unfortunately, TAKS testing (state mandated testing) was taking place the same week of the FRC Champs. The team was told not to get too excited as there was a big possibility that we wouldn't be attending. After much delibiration, presentations, and help from FIRST Team 118: The Robonauts, our high school and district made arrangements to allow four students to fly to St. Louis, MO for the event. I have been on many air plane rides, however my three other teammates had never even stepped foot at an airport. It made me so happy to see them board the plane and receive their first time flyer wings. When we stepped through the doors at the championship, I was amazed. There was so much going on, there were teams walking everywhere, companies showcasing upcoming products, and a stadium full of spirit. Our robot was a good performer, but not the ultimate best. We tried our best but came out short from both the robot award and Chairman's award. However, we didn't let that bring down our spirits. When we found out that the Black Eyed Peas were performing, that is all we would talk about. We are all huge fans and know all of their songs. In addition, when we were told that we were going to be on the floor, we almost died! We were so happy!!! Overall, the 2011 FRC Championships were a huge success and made a huge impact in my life, it was definitely an event that I will never forget.