Imagine a doubles tennis tournament where instead of training and competing with a specific partner, the pairings were continuously randomized throughout the tournament. How would that affect your tournament strategy? How would you relate to the other competitors?
This is exactly how it works in the FIRST Tech Challenge, where every game is played with an alliance of two teams (and their robots) facing off against another alliance of two teams. Since the alliance pairings keep changing through the tournament, a team that is your opponent in one match may be your ally in another.
The result of this tournament style is that although the teams can get quite competitive with each other, there is always a larger incentive for teams to work together and cooperate.
To facilitate the inter-team relationships that make this cooperation possible, the Coalition partners with Pennsylvania FIRST Robotics and local teams to organize a series of events throughout the school year for teams to get together, collaborate, and learn from one another. Adult mentors and volunteers are also on hand at every event to support the teams and ensure that the events run smoothly.
Workshops are staffed by volunteers from the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition, Pennsylvania FIRST Robotics, the Central High School RoboLancers, and the host teams.