FTC-Iowa: How Do I Start a Team?

You've decided to take on the challenge of having an FTC team. Congratulations! Welcome! Buckle your seat belt and enjoy the ride! You are considered a rookie coach of an FTC team.

Having an FTC team is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have with young people. Through your involvement you are impacting the future workforce of America. You are making a difference in a child's life. This is some amazing power you have.

Team Size

FIRST says the size of an FTC team should be 5-15 kids. Below is the breakdown of some of the essential roles and how many students should be assigned.

  • Builders (2-3 students)
  • Programmers (2 students)
  • CAD Expert & Communications Specialist (1-2 students)
  • Drivers (1 + one who is a programmer)
  • Student Coach (1 student)
  • Fundraiser/ Team PR person (1, could also be a builder)
  • Engineering Notebook Recorder (1-2 students)

Each coach should assess the students' interests and assign roles to the students at the beginning of the season. Assigning roles benefits the students and makes the team stronger. In the course of a season students may play multiple roles.

Schedule Team Meetings

Teams who are successful understand the commitment at the beginning of the season. They schedule meeting times for the entire season in September. Having a schedule shows the coach's dedication, tells the students when and where the meeting will be held, and helps avoid conflicts that may occur during the school year.

Ask for Help & Use The Resources

There are many resources for FTC teams. The first point of contact should be other local teams or FTC-Iowa.

  • An FTC team from Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, NJ, published a book with tips, tricks, strategies, and secrets, titled: "FTC Robotics: Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Secrets". It can be purchased on Amazon.
  • Do some YouTube searches. Keywords: FTC, (the game name), and year. You never know what teams will post on YouTube.
  • Use the information provided on this website. We have resources for LabView, RobotC, and PTC. We have information and tricks for working with TETRIX and Samantha,  how to keep a good engineering notebook, and ideas for fund raising opportunities.
  • Attend as many events as possible. FTC-Iowa Events work better when we have reached team capacity. Also, teams who attend events leave with a better understanding of the challenge, whether the event is a build day, a scrimmage, or a tournament.