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Page history last edited by Mark Fussell 10 years, 4 months ago


Some coaching tips from the BananaBots 2009 coach:


-          I have not used any books.  The lego software is pretty straightforward to learn the programming.  The kids will figure it out.

-          Some websites I find useful are:

o   The Lego League forums: http://forums.usfirst.org/forumdisplay.php?f=24  This is really good for programming info, Lego League rules and strategy, starting a team, etc. 

o    My team enjoys going on Youtube to see all the varieties of FLL robots and to get ideas.  We even posted one of our runs from last year:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfkraWqAY34&feature=related

o   Here is the Northern California FLL site: http://www.norcalfll.org/   In the year you compete, it is important to check it daily since events and deadlines get posted without much early notice.  A sister site: http://norcalfll.ning.com/

o   Here is the national FLL site: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll/smartmove1.aspx   Here you will find the rules and documentation for the competition.  The Q&A section is quite interesting.

-          I personally find a team of 4 kids is about right.  More can be a handful and difficult to work if you only have one robot.

-          My teams meet once a week, either Saturday or Sunday from 2-5:30pm in my garage where we set up our table.  Sometimes the kids work independently one day after school as well.  We started in early September and will go until the final tournament (December or January).  I have a heavy work schedule, but I manage to keep the weekends open for the Lego teams.  It is doable.

-          I find having team meetings in my garage is better than at a school.  Less to set up, fewer distractions, secure, can meet on the spur of the moment, weekends, etc.

-          I recruit the parents to bring snacks and to help drive to events.  On one of my teams, I am the single coach.  On the other team, two of the other dads really like being hands-on, so they attend the practices and help the kids.  Either way works.

-          I find it takes about $800 to run a team each year, so I ask each of the four families to pay $200.  This covers the FLL registration, first tournament, field challenge kit, custom t-shirts for the team, spare parts, pizza, etc.

-          Sometimes I set two kids up on a PC to work on the project while the other two work on the robot; after an hour or so, they switch tasks.

-          It sounds like you started a team a month ago…I guess this is very early start for next year’s challenge.  I think most teams form and begin meeting in August-September which is when the year’s challenge is announced.  Schedule: https://gofll.usfirst.org/pages/schedule  That is great you started so early.

-          You will want to build or acquire a challenge table, and possibly some teams may have a spare one to give away between now and February.  You can post a request for a used table and Smart Move field setup here: http://norcalfll.ning.com/  Even if no one gives you all the lego models, probably many teams will give you the mat for free. 

-          Between now and next August, your team can try building and programming a robot which performs the previous year’s missions.  You can have a very relaxed schedule.



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