Robotics for kids

8 Best tips to win at VEX Robotics Competition

Every one of us wants to be successful in whatever it is we are involved in such as jobs, relationships, hobbies, and obviously competitions too. But, how to win a robotics competition? In this post, I have compiled the best tips and tricks to win at the VEX Robotics competition. 

Before diving inside let’s have a look at some basic information about VEX Robotics competition. 

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1. Robotics Starter (Age 8+)

2. Robotics Explorer (Age 11+)

3. Robotics Champion (Age 14+)

4. Coding Champion (Age 14+)

5. Coding Starter (Age 8+)

6. Coding Explorer (Age 11+)

7. Drones Starter (Age 8+)

8. Drones Explorer (Age 11+)

9. Drones Champion (Age 14+)

What is the VEX Robotics Competition?

For those who don’t know about the VEX robotics competition, it is a fun robotics competition for students to make them excited about technology. In this competition, students will not only build robots but also compete with other teams to complete an objective, develop a robot to participate in games and many more. 

Also, this competition helps students to gain lifelong skills in leadership, teamwork, communication and many more. 

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Benefits of participating in VEX Robotics competition

  1. Make New friends - Kids who participate in the robotics competition share a common interest but each of them has different strengths and weaknesses. When Kids find people of similar interest they grow their peer groups and build confidence and social skills. At VEX Robotics competition kids will make new friends and build healthy ties through the successes and failures that move along with the competition.
  1. Improve STEM skills - STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may sound like a list of school subjects but these are the base for all the advanced technologies. To build a robot successfully kids engage in innovative and critical thinking as they get hands-on experience with STEM subjects. 
  1. Scholarships - Skills that kids get through this competition will help them in securing a better career. Most of the robotics competitions offer their own scholarships, as a reward for the hard work of kids.
  1. A Non-traditional team activity - Normally people consider that sports are a traditional team activity, but not every kid is interested in sports practices and competitions. Robotics and STEAM competitions provide the benefits of being on a team, just with robots and tools instead of sports equipment. Kids still learn cooperation, leadership, emotional regulation, and how to work through the highs and lows of competition.

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8 Best tips to win at VEX Robotics Competition

1. Be Organized and set goals - Manage your time and don’t waste time and money on something that is not worth it. The build season is a very short time to do what you all are doing. Nobody in the industry works that fast, but you have to. There is no time to waste and you have to be efficient if you want to be good. 

Remember to set measurable goals, with deadlines. Each prototype – should have a leader. This will make team members take responsibility, develop leadership skills and improve everything your team does. Your team must have a team leader, who is taking responsibility when stuff goes wrong and makes sure things are set straight. This individual has to know to make a decision that hurts from time to time, and my personal recommendation is for him/her to be an adult mentor.

2. Take shortcuts - Most of the teams will not manufacture all the components on their own. And to be honest, it is no longer necessary to make your own gearbox in order to be good. You can buy COTS products from VEX and AndyMark to make the building process fast. 

If you are able to build the best robot then train the best driver. A good driver can make a bad robot win. Make your driver practice regularly, a minimum of 100 hours of practice before the first event will make them ready. 

3. Reduce complexity - While in the field, complexity kills many of these robots. Moving parts jam, electronics overload and fail, and robots don’t work as intended.

As you may imagine, many teams lose matches simply because their robots break, not because of any other factor. You can avoid yourselves getting into this situation by reducing the complexity of the robot and conducting as many as tests before the competition. 

4. Don’t forget to raise funds - Funds play a major role in winning a competition. Tools, fabrication, materials, travelling to events, registration, COTS parts, manpower, all cost money, and all are important in order to make your robot better. Expecting money to just come your way will probably not work, and crying about it might make things even worse.

5. Be dedicated and work hard - Nothing is easier to do. Also, Hard work never fails. Put all the effort in building the robot and watch it winning the competition. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work to build the robot within the given time frame. 

6. Get to know the rules - There are a lot of rules to building a competition robot, and although the actual game that the robot plays changes from year to year, many of the robot rules do not. Knowing the competition rules will always keep you ahead of your opponents. 

7. Be a safe team - Be careful while working with power tools, batteries and more. In the robotics competition, there is also a safety award. This is given to one team at every competition who employs the best safety practices and promotes their use throughout the competition. This award can help your team achieve higher levels of competition if you are in a region on the district system.

8. Don’t forget to enjoy - Get to know each other. The team will be working closely with each other for an extended period of time, and a strong team bond is critical to success. Engage in fun activities such as laser tag, ice breakers, or anything a high school student might enjoy. Hold weekly meetings to give each other updates and make plans for upcoming team events.

This should give you some insights on where to start to make your robot better. Just dive into it and you’ll see that you like some of the tips more, and some of them a bit less. Keep what you like, discard what you don’t and build your own recipe for success.

8 Best tips to win at VEX Robotics Competition
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2022-05-16

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