How to Start a Team

Supporting future STEM standouts!

How to Find Help for New Teams and Rookies

If this is your first season competing, welcome to our group! Your rookie FIRST Tech Challenge robotics season can be particularly exciting and overwhelming but there are many resources available to make the experience worthwhile. If you are new to FTC or FIRST, please check the corporate website for game manuals, resource ideas, how to fundraise, and helpful hints for mentors:

To learn how to start a FIRST Tech Challenge team, please click here.

Below is a sample schedule to get your team started.



  • Read Robot Tuesday each week for announcements
  • Read emails coming from FIRST for mentors and pass them along to your team members and mentors
  • When available, Stay tuned for the SoCal / Greater Los Angeles (LAFTC) KICKOFF EVENT in September!
    • Game Reveal
    • Workshops
  • Sign up for League Play — Register with FIRST and then register with LAFTC (watch emails for instructions) 
  • Continue recruiting students and subject-area mentors (engineering, Java programming, CAD, PR, fundraising, etc.)
  • Continue fundraising and sharing your progress with your local community
  • Re-READ Game Manual Part One!
  • Read Game Manual Part Two (released on Kickoff Day)
  • Continue your Engineering Notebook
  • Strategize how you want to “play the game”
  • Weekly read the Game Forum for your game questions
  • Start scanning Reddit and YouTube for other questions and strategies being shared by teams across the world
  • Brainstorm robot designs using your strategy


  • Build your robot using your chosen design
  • Find 1-2 local teams that are not rookies to visit and learn from
  • Spend a little time learning CAD (PTC, Inventor or SolidWorks).
  • Program your robot
    • Autonomous: First 30 seconds of the match when the robot runs on programming only and no driver control
    • Tele-op: Final 2 minutes of the match when the 1-2 students are driving the robot
  • Test your robot design and programming. Does it do what you want? If not, re-design and re-build.
  • Journal everything in your Engineering Notebook on a regular basis with different team members
  • Drive your robot – practice really helps
  • Scrimmages are great opportunities for teams to learn and work with other teams – watch Robot Tuesday for possible scrimmages
  • Fill out the Robot Reliability Checklist. Is there anything you need to focus on?