This section is intended to help parents understand what their student is doing and why. It is also intended to help parents understand what they can do to help their student, teams and the volunteers to have a great experience.
First off something fun written by FRC 453’s 2023 business team as their idea of what they wanted parents to know about FRC competitions.
And now for the more serious stuff…
Every team is required to provide Parent Volunteers at every competition to help the event staff. There are many jobs available ranging from making sure people are wearing proper PPE to helping teams queue up for matches. If you are interested in volunteering at a competition, please contact your team’s lead mentor or the event staff. You can also register to volunteer at the event on the FIRST website. Some positions require additional training and/or background checks and therefore may not be available to all parents.
Positions like the Robot Inspectors, FTA, and FTA Assistants are not available to parents. These positions are reserved for mentors and other volunteers who have been trained and certified by FIRST.
You are the main cheering squad for your team. You are the ones who are most excited to see your team and kids compete. Now imagine if some loud, rude person was trash talking your team’s robot or your team’s performance. How would you feel? Probably a bit defensive, angry and ready to fight. This is NOT battlebots, this is not an NFL game with beer and swearing. This is a competition for kids. Keep things friendly and positive. If you have a question or concern, please talk to your team’s lead mentor or the event staff.
Parents should not Boo the referees or event staff even if they make a mistake. The referees and event staff are volunteers who are doing their best to make sure the competition runs smoothly. Students on the drive team have the ability to speak with the referees in the “Question Box” and this is the best way to get a question answered. If you have a question or concern, please talk to your team’s lead mentor or the event staff.
The awards ceremony previously took place at the end of the day directly after the final matches ended. Now the awards are sprinkled during the playoffs and the final Semi-Finalist and Finalist awards are given out last. Do NOT leave the competition area until the awards ceremony is completely over. If you leave before the awards ceremony is over, you could miss the awards for your team. It is also just plain rude to leave before the awards ceremony is over. Even if your team is not competing in the finals, you should stay and cheer on the teams that are. They would do it for you!
If you have to leave early, please let your team’s lead mentor know because they must know if you A. are leaving with the student and B. if you are leaving before the awards ceremony is over so they can make sure to be sure to get an extra medal for them. Again this should only be done for emergencies and not as a way to get out of watching the awards ceremony. It’s understandable that you want to beat the traffic, you and the family are tired, and you have a long drive home. But so do most of the other parents and teams. Please stay and set a good example for your student and the other families. As adults the students will behave the way they see you behave. If you leave early, they will too.
Whatever you are doing while at an event, whether it’s in the parking lots, the stands, or the pits, you are a role model for your student and the other students. You are also a role model for the other parents and volunteers. Talking with profanity, yelling at referees, or being rude to other teams or volunteers is not acceptable. Even if you think you are alone in the parking lot, you never are. Students are like invisible cameras and they will tell their friends and family what they saw. If you are not sure if something is appropriate, please ask your team’s lead mentor or the event staff.
Coaches, students and volunteers are under a tremendous amount of pressure on competition day. More than just competition jitters there can be emergencies in the pits, accidents on the field, and other things that can cause the need for split second reactions and following directions from people in charge. Please be patient and listen to the coaches, students and volunteers. Many veteran students and parents have been to many competitions and have learned what works and what doesn’t. Always be willing to listen to their advice and suggestions.
TBA is an open source database for FRC competition match, awards and team information. It is the most up to date source of information for FRC competitions. You can find the TBA app for iOS and Android in the app store. You can also find the TBA website at https://www.thebluealliance.com/. TBA also offers up an API so teams can make custom applications that can be used to display information about the competition or your team!
The main feature parents will want to use is myTBA and adding their students team. Once a team is added you can setup notifications for upcoming matches, match scores, view the live stream and more! Parents who typically work during the day can setup notifications to be sent to their phone when their student’s team is playing. This way they can watch the match live on their phone or computer. You can also find the matches linked from the FIRSTinspires youtube channel by clicking on a specific team’s match.
Someone at the competition must have all of the answers right? This is probably the event coordinator or sometimes also the Pit Admin. If there is an emergency or something that needs to be addressed, please talk to the event coordinator or Pit Admin. They will be able to help you with any questions you may have. They will know all emergency procedures, probably have a radio and be able to put you in contact with the right people. They often are found at tables in the pits or near the stands. Teams will check in with the Event Admin or Pit Admin upon arrival so your Coach should be able to point you in the right direction.
Coaches will be given an event itinerary that will include the event schedule, parking and more usually before the event. If you are a coach and have not received this information, please contact your event coordinator or program delivery partner. However the match schedule is not determined until all teams have checked in with Pit Admin. This means that the schedule is not available until the first day of matches. If your coach has not received the schedule you should be able to get a copy from the event staff and you should let the coach know as well or get two copies!
Judging is stressful for students and parents alike. It is important to practice and discuss the judging process with your student. They will be alone in the case of Dean’s List and this can feel overwhelming if you haven’t practiced and planned for it. Recently some of the awards names have been updated and FIRST released an updated PDF guide about “Best Practices for FRC Judged Awards” you can find below.
TODO: Add information about the game rules
TODO: Add information about meals, snacks, and drinks
TODO: Add information about planning the day
TODO: Add information about getting parts from the hardware store