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COMPETITION PREPARATION

TEAM UNIFORMS / SHIRTS

One of the best ways to bring your team together at a competition is have them look like a team.  With the regional competitions about one month away, now is the time to determine what your team “look” will be.  One of the simplest ways to create a look is by having team shirts.

Not only do they enhance the team look, shirts also create an identity for your team.  If your shirts / uniforms are distinctive, it may stick in the minds of the teams who are selecting alliance members for the elimination rounds. (If you are not one of the teams picking yourself!).

Steps involved include:

  1. Select a color that your team plans to use (typically, these are school colors, but your team might agree on some other colors).

  1. Choose a name for your team that you want printed on your shirt.  You should also plan on including your team number printed large enough for other teams to recognize you.

  1. If your budget allows, you may want to put team member names on the back of your shirts.  If the budget does not allow, duct tape can be torn / cut to create makeshift names.

  1. A team shirt is a great opportunity to acknowledge sponsors.  If you have room, you may want to include your sponsor's logo, if they have one.

  1. Take your shirt design and all the information to a local sporting goods store or graphic arts specialist.  Ask if the merchant would like to sponsor your team, also.  You can get good deals on shirts with sponsorship.

TEAM GIVEAWAYS

Giveaways are limited at competitions, but are a real important part of FIRST team bonding.  The simplest and least expensive type of giveaways are buttons.

Buttons offer a wealth of creative options for graphics phrases.  They can include photos of your robot, team, or text including team phrases, robot name, team name, etc.  Buttons can also be personalized for team members.

Button-making also offers a key team activity for students whose robot-building tasks are complete or who simply want to take a break.  

If interested in buttons, badges, and more, there are many vendors to obtain materials.  One we have used is www.buttonsonline.com.  

Our team orders Dr. Don’s buttons.  There are many other places on the web to purchase button machines and materials.  Enjoy and have fun.

 

YOUR TEAM NUMBER IS YOUR FRIEND

Up until now, most of your accomplishments and interactions have been internal to your team.  From now on out, the internal decreases and the focus becomces the external interactions with FIRST and other teams.  Your group of scrappy, sleepless roboteers will now have a group identity - your team number.  Treasure your team number.  Should your organization get totally hooked on FIRST and, hopefully, sustain a long-term program, your team number will remain constant and will be a large part of who you are as a team.  Use your team number wherever possible as you advertise your team (in addition to your team name and other facets unique to your team).  

TEAM BANNERS

Another way your team can distinguish yourself is via a team banner.  These banners can be displayed in certain areas of the competition venue.  Banners can contain your team name, team number, robot name, special cheer, and a list of your key sponsors.  This is a great way to thank your sponsor(s) for the assistance that made this whole experience possible.

TEAM MASCOTS

 An exciting mascot can add a lot to your team spirit.  There are often opportunities for the mascots from various teams to get out on the field during a break in the action to interact and dance to rev up the crowd.

 Give one of your really outgoing team members a great costume or a puppet to represent your team.  Maybe your school already has a mascot costume you can use.  

 Keep in mind that the mascot costume must be very portable and not too hot.  Many of the venues get real warm and you don’t want your mascot keeling over from the heat!

TEAM SPIRIT

 Competing as a TEAM in FIRST Robotics competitions is FUN as well as rewarding.  Team spirit establishes a team’s identity in many different ways.  The FIRST organization encourages and, in fact, flourishes on teams who make team spirit part of their culture.  

Start with selecting a team name or acronym, one that characterizes your teams mission or school, sponsor, regional roots, attitude, purpose..any number of sources can establish your teams theme.  Stylize with logos and team colors that can be printed onto T-shirts, buttons, hats, costumes or uniforms...you are limited only by your creative imaginations!  

Sounding like fun yet?

 Then there can be team cheers, dances, songs, cheerleaders, banners, posters...anything to make your team more fun and recognizable.

 At competitions it gets even better and more fun.  FIRST competitions are sporting events.  All teams are there not only to seriously compete, but also they recognize that the competition itself is FUN.

 A lot of work went into the design and building of the robot and preparation for the events.  Celebrate your success!  Win or lose, it IS how you play the game!  Show your pride and your colors, be visible and be heard.  Let all of the other teams know that YOU are there.  It makes the events much more memorable and rewarding.

 

SPIRIT TEAM

GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM

Unlike many other sports, FIRST competitions celebrate efforts of all teams to come up with their robotic masterpieces.  Cheer for your favorites and do not boo anyone.  Help those who need it.

Having spirit doesn’t mean you just cheer when your team is doing well.  Each time you cheer for another team you are really showing support for what FIRST is doing, inspiring youth interested in science and technology.

TEAM BANNERS

Another way your team can distinguish yourself is via a team banner.  These banners can be displayed in certain areas of the competition venue.  Banners can contain your team name, team number, robot name, special cheer, and a list of your key sponsors.  This is a great way to thank your sponsor(s) for the assistance that made this whole experience possible.

TEAM MASCOTS

 An exciting mascot can add a lot to your team spirit.  There are often opportunities for the mascots from various teams to get out on the field during a break in the action to interact and dance to rev up the crowd.

 Give one of your really outgoing team members a great costume or a puppet to represent your team.  Maybe your school already has a mascot costume you can use.  

 Keep in mind that the mascot costume should be very portable and not too hot.  Many of the venues get real warm and you don’t want your mascot keeling over from the heat!

CHAPERONES / TRAVEL LOGISTICS

CELL PHONE NUMBERS

Make a list of all team member cell phones.  See that more than one team member keeps a copy of the list handy.  

EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

Make sure at least two people have emergency contact information for team members.  Emergencies happen.  It is best to be prepared.

FIRST RELEASE FORMS

Before your initial competition of the season, be sure to have each of your team members complete the official FIRST Release form located on the FIRST website.  You must hand in these forms as you check in at your regional.  If you do not have these forms, you will not be able to practice or compete with your robot.  We forgot our forms when we arrived at the Chesapeake Regional in 2003 and had to call to have them faxed to the event so we could compete.  Learn from our mistake - remember your completed sheets!

OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT COMPETITION VENUE

The FIRST website will have current information available on each competition venue.  Read this information and start thinking about the logistics of getting your team to the event and then to and from the event venue and where you will be lodging.

BEST OF LUCK AT THE REGIONALS!