FIRST in Michigan FTC

General Event Format for Teams

Welcome!  Our event hosts look forward to hosting your team!  This is intended to be a general outline.  The roll out of a specific event may vary, especially scrimmages and off season events.  League meets will not include Judge or Elimination Rounds. Hosts will provide event-specific information to their participating teams.

Team List
Event Preparation
Pit Area
Practice Field
Opening Ceremonies
Robot Match Procedures
Closing Ceremonies

Team List
MI Middle School FTC Team List, including event placement, is posted here:  MI FTC Team List.
Teams must be comprised solely of Michigan middle school grade/level students in order to compete in FIRST in Michigan FTC events. High school student may serve as mentors to a middle school FTC team but may not function as team members.

Team Names

Multiple teams from the same school/organization ("Sister Teams") are asked to have a unique Team Name for each of their teams. "Sister" teams with the same team name make it difficult to distinguish between the teams at the event. If your sister teams all have the same Team Name (i.e. RoboBuilders), please consider adding a numeral or other unique identifier to the team name (i.e. RoboBuilders 1 or RobotBuilders Blue) to make it unique.

All teams - please let your event host know your team name, especially if it has changed recently.

Event Preparation
The FIRST national site has many team and mentor resources available to assist teams with event preparation.  The FTC Game Manual - Part 1 has dedicated event section.  Visit the Preparing for Competition page on the FIRST national site to learn how to prepare for an event - inspections, judging, and on the field.  Every robot must pass inspections in order to compete! Knowledge is power - know the rules!  Game Manuals and Season Materials

Additional resources are available at the following links:

Gracious Professionalism is the foundation of FIRST robotics.  It is expected that teams demonstrate this at all times.

All team members and their guests are expected to behave in a safe manner and obey all safety rules.  Safety glasses must be worn in the pit area, around the practice field and around the competition fields.   Teams are required to bring enough safety glasses for their members, coaches, mentors and visitors.  A limited supply of safety glasses will be available to borrow at the event; these are intended for the general public.  Long hair must be pulled back and closed-toe shoes are required at all times.  

Teams must provide ONE volunteer at each official event in which they participate.  If this is a hardship for your team, a volunteer can be supplied for a different event.  All volunteers can sign up to volunteer via their FIRST Account. Per the FIRST Youth Protection Program (YPP), event volunteers will be screened as part of the process. Many FTC event roles do not require any specialized skills or training. Volunteer Step-by-Step Guide (with screenshots).

It is important for volunteers to register well in advance of the event.  Please supply your event host with the name/email of your team’s volunteer as well as preference of assignment, if known. Note that team affiliated volunteers cannot serve as judge or referee at events where their team is participating.  

Resources for FIRST Tech Challenge Volunteer training and development:

Event Schedule
Sample for a 32 team event; check the “Event Agenda” link on the FIRST in Michigan FTC site under FTC Events for your team’s particular event roll out.  

7:00 - 9:00 PM; Optional team early check-in and inspections (where applicable)


7:00 AM

Team Check-in at the event

7:30 - 10:00 AM

Judging and Inspections (all teams)

10:15 AM

Drivers Meeting with Head Referee

10:30 AM

Opening Ceremonies

11:00 AM

Match play begins

12:30 PM


1:00 - 4:30 PM

Match play

4:45 PM

Alliance selections

5:00 PM


6:30 PM

Awards & Closing Ceremonies

7:00 PM

Load out

Event Check-in 
Teams (all members) should be on site right when the doors open for the event. One team representative will check-in the team upon entering the venue.  For events where it is applicable, teams can take advantage of early check-in and inspections on Friday evening. Check the roll out of your particular event for details.

Roster & Consent & Release forms:    

  1. Dashboard produced roster - for teams comprised of students who are all 12 or older.  The Lead/Coach Mentors for the team can produce a team roster via the Team Dashboard under Team Contacts/Roster>Contacts Options>Print Team Roster. Example of a Dashboard produced Team Roster.
  2. Team produced roster - for teams comprised of students who are all younger than 13.  Team must also turn in the completed paper-copy FIRST and FIRST in Michigan Consent and Release forms for all of the team members.  Downloadable Team Roster Template.
  3. Hybrid - Coach writes-in the names of any students, who are younger than 12, on the Team Dashboard  produced roster.  Coach must also turn in the completed paper-copy Consent and Release forms (FIRST and FIRST in Michigan) for the all team members younger than 12.

Event Registration Fees:
At check-in, teams will pay the event registration fee directly to the host.  Hosts will provide teams with specific information on how to remit payment. Receipts will be available at check-in, if needed. Note that the event fee is not covered by any
FIRST FTC, FIRST in Michigan FTC grants.

Plan to be on site as soon as the doors open to teams!    FTC events start early with doors opening to teams around 7am.  Inspections and Judging rotations can begin as early as 7:30am.  Teams will receive their Driver Buttons, judging timeslot, and other tournament information at event check-in..

Pit Area
Each team will have assigned a rectangular table to serve as their pit area.  It will be labeled with your team number.  This is your home base for the day.  Teams may decorate their pit to reflect their team spirit.  Please do not infringe upon another team’s pit area.  Power will be provided to each pit.  Teams should bring an extension cord and a power strip.  Label all equipment.

Teams should bring their parts, hand tools, engineering book, everything they need to tweak the robot throughout the day. Extra (charged) robot batteries and battery/phone chargers are important to help ensure good robot connectivity throughout the day.

Any work that is likely to create significant dust or debris (like drilling) should not be done in the pit area.   Any work likely to cause sparks (dremel) or strong odors (gluing) will need to be done outside of the venue.  Teams may bring battery powered screwdrivers, as long as they are not used to drill or grind.

Safety glasses must be worn in the pit/competition areas.  Teams are responsible for bringing enough safety glasses for their team members/mentors.

Practice Field  
Practice fields will be available for use by all teams.  Use of these fields will be self-regulated.  Teams will utilize their own computers to establish communication with their robot.  Please be considerate of others while using these fields.  Everyone near the practice fields must wear safety glasses.

Inspections will occur in designated areas usually by the competition fields.  For events where it is applicable, teams are encouraged to take part in early inspection on Friday.  Teams that pass inspection on Friday will have a more relaxed time Saturday morning.   Teams are also asked to share their sizing boxes for use during Hardware Inspections.  Please label your sizing box with your team number and drop it off at the Inspections area.  

FTC Robots are required to pass Robot and Field inspections before being cleared to compete. These inspections ensure that all FTC Robot rules and regulations are met. A copy of the official FTC “Robot Inspection Sheet” and “Field Inspection Sheet” are linked below and are located in Game Manual I.  The “Robot Inspection Sheet” must be used by Teams as a guide to pre-inspect their Robot.

The following resources are available to enable teams to prepare for and pass inspections:

1) Robot Inspection:  During Hardware Inspection your robot will be reviewed to ensure that it meets official size and material regulations. Please see Game Manual 1 for details.

Check for these key inspection points:  

2) Field Inspection:  The Field Inspection is independent of Robot Inspection. The Field Inspection generally takes place at the Competition Fields in order for the Team to demonstrate that the Robot functions as it should per the Game Manual Part 1 rules. Teams may do Field Inspection first if they find the line too long at the Robot Inspection station (and vice versa). The Coach and at least one driver should report to Field Inspection.

Driver Station Software Inspection The purpose of the software inspection is to make sure the Android Device has the correct settings. The Field Inspector will have to check to ensure:  

Robot Performance Inspection The Robot performance inspection is a vital test to ensure a Team can successfully connect the Driver Station Android Device to the Robot Controller Android Device. This inspection ensures that the Robot is programmed to start and stop when commanded by the Driver Station. These are important safety features and it is vital to ensure the Robot functions properly. Once the Field Inspector has confirmed that the Driver Station has connected with the Robot Controller, they should run a very brief practice match (30 seconds is adequate) with at least 4 teams on the Field. Ideally, the Field Inspection process should involve multiple Teams on a Field to simulate what would happen in a real Match.

Teams are expected to conduct a self-inspection of their robot before competition day.  

After passing the robot and field inspections,  teams will receive “passed inspection” stickers to place on the robot. Note:  Teams that make additional modifications, at any point, will need to do a brief re-inspection.


Note: League Meets do not include a Judging component. For FTC, judging rotations occur in the first two hours of the event and can begin as early as 7:30am. It is important to be on site as early as possible. Teams will have an assigned judging time. Teams will most likely receive their judging time at registration.  Please arrive 5 minutes early for your judging session; a missed time cannot be made up easily and causes delays for the whole event.  Judging will take place in an area separate from the competition/pit area.  

Teams will have 15 minutes with a panel of judges. Teams should bring their Robot (not powered), Engineering Book, Control Award Content Sheet, any applicable displays (optional) to their judging session.  Teams will be given the opportunity to do a short (less than 10 minutes) presentation to the judges which will be followed by a 5 minute Q&A period. If the team does not have a presentation planned, have them let the judges know to proceed directly to the Q&A. Two coaches/mentors may accompany the team into the judging room but must be silent observers of the session.


Judging Clarifications

There have been questions recently about rules regarding sister teams that build identical robots and have identical engineering books:

Per the FIRST FTC, there is no rule prohibiting teams from having identical robots or engineering books. In judging - if affiliated teams have identical robots and/or engineering books and are in consideration for a judged award where those items are key elements to the decision process, judges will try to discern (as time allows) how the  "twinning"​ teams produced these deliverables. If it cannot be determined which team "owns" the deliverables, then both teams could be removed from consideration for the awards where the those deliverables are a key element.

​Also, sister teams should not combine for judging sessions and team members should not represent more than one team at a given event. In this case, the judges would not be able to view the teams as distinct entities for judging purposes.

Note that this is for judged awards where robot/engineering books are requirements and has nothing to do with the robot game.

Per the rules set forth by FIRST FTC, a judging panel may only bestow a core award to one team at the event. There cannot be two winners of a particular core award. 

Engineering Notebook

Teams turn in their Engineering Book to the judges at the start of the session.  Note that the engineering book is a mandatory component in the consideration for many awards.  Books will be available for pick-up at Pit Admin at the end of the event.  Please be familiar with the judging criteria.  These are included in Game Manual - Part 1.   Judges can visit the pit area to talk further with teams as part of the deliberation process.  Teams must attend their assigned judging interview in order to be considered for judged awards.

Engineering Book Resources:

Judging rubrics will not be passed back to teams at events.  The judging manual, with rubrics, is open source in the appendices of the Judges Manual: Teams are encouraged to utilize the Judging Session Self Reflection Sheet as a preparation tool.  

Description of FTC Awards and advancement criteria can be found in FTC Award Descriptions.  

Control Award - Note that a team’s wishing to be considered for the Control Award must apply for it by filling out the Control Award Content Sheet. This sheet is turned in at your team’s Judging Interview, along with your Engineering Notebook. Teams should provide pointers in the Engineering Notebook to where control related information is located. Control Award Instructions.

Opening Ceremonies
The pits will close and teams will adjourn to the competition area for the opening ceremonies.  The first match will occur immediately following the conclusion.  Teams slated for Match #1 will need to be queued up prior to the start of opening ceremonies.  

Robot Match Procedures
Once all teams have checked-in and passed inspections, the match schedule for the qualification matches will be generated.  These will be distributed to the teams and will be available for pick up at the Pit Admin.  Match times are estimates; matches can run ahead of schedule.  Please designate one person to monitor match progress on the playing fields. Follow instructions provided by Pit Admin or Queuers - they will help keep you on track.  

The team’s Drivers (max 2) and Driver Coach, wearing their identifying  buttons, should arrive in the queuing area for your assigned playing field TWO matches prior to the start of your match.  Pay attention to the action on your assigned playing field.  Move to your alliance station as soon as teams from the previous match clear the field.  It is recommended that the role of Driver Coach is filled by a team member.  Drivers must stand in the driver station assigned to them in the match list.  Controllers will be clearly labeled on the playing field.  

Pay attention to the instructions from the referees and the game announcer so that delays will not occur.  The game announcer will signal the start of the autonomous and driver controlled portions of the match with a countdown “3-2-1 GO!”.  

Starting in the 2017-2018 season, there is no longer be a hard stop following the autonomous period to transition to the driver controlled period of the match. Once the autonomous portion of the match ends, the emcee/game announcer will tell the teams to pick up their driver station. As a visual cue, the scoring system will display to teams that they must pick up their driver station. Teams will only have 5 seconds to pick up their driver station, so they should make sure to pay close attention! After the 5 seconds, there will be a 3-2-1 countdown and the driver controlled period of the match will begin right away.

After the match, referees will announce when teams may remove their robots from the playing field.  Please clear the area as quickly as possible so that the teams for the next match can set up.  Alliance Flags should be returned to the queuing area following every match.

Teams will participate in at least 5 qualifying matches.  After qualification matches conclude, the alliance pairing process for the Elimination Matches will begin.  Note: League Meets will vary with the number of matches played per meet and do not include Elimination rounds. For Elims, the number of teams per alliance will be determined by the number of teams in the division.  There will be a final elimination round between the winning alliances from each division to determine the event winning alliance.

Closing Ceremonies
Following the final matches, the closing ceremonies will occur.  Our qualifying and championship events will be presenting the core awards.  Optional awards are at the discretion of the event host. Spring events and scrimmages can offer awards, if desired. There is no advancement component to off season events.

Each qualifier will advance a predetermined number of spots to the FIRST in Michigan FTC State Championship event.  See Game Manual I, section 4.8 and the MI FTC Event Process for advancement criteria and the number of allocated advancement spots per event, respectively.  FIRST in Michigan FTC omits the optional Qualifier Host Team advancement spot.

Medals and Game Pins:  FTC does not provide participation medals to teams.  Commemorative game-themed pins (max of 15 per team) are given to teams participating in our qualifying events.  Teams will receive their allotment of game pins at the first qualifier where they compete.

Event hosts will provide teams with specific information regarding concessions.  Please check with your event host on their rules regarding bringing food to the event.  Use of cooking devices by teams is strictly prohibited.  Proceeds from concessions go towards supporting area robotics teams.  They appreciate your support.

Please communicate any dietary or allergy issues directly with the Event Coordinator of the event(s) your team is attending. We appreciate your consideration and support in this matter.