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Los Altos Robotics Team Requirements

The page provides information for coaches on the requirements for participating in Los Altos Robotics FLL.

Participating in Los Altos Robotics FLL

Please read all of this page before trying to register your team.

Team Formation

Los Altos Robotics does not assign or place children on teams. Parents and coaches are responible for grouping children into a team, and then registering the team with Los Altos Robotics. Parents and coaches can use the NCaFLL and Tigerbots mailing lists to find teams or team members. Los Altos Robotics supports team formation by providing parents information about other participants at their child's school. We also provide training and other resources for coaches. We recommend that each team is made up of both a coach and a team manager. The coach should focus on coaching. The team manager should deal with all team finances, registration, and scheduling.

We ask that all parents check with their children to make sure they want to be on a FIRST LEGO league team before signing them up.  It is clear to the coordinators that several of the children in past years have been less than enthusiastic about being on a team.  They end up playing with the LEGOs and detracting from the experience of those that are excited about being on a team.  Worse yet, they may prevent others from being on a team because we run out of space.  So please don't sign them up because it will be "a good experience" for them.  If they are excited about being on a team, we are excited about having them on a team.  You may also want to visit the frequently asked questions page.

Each parent and child should print out and complete the Los Altos Robotics player and parent contract. You need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Coaches will typically collect these documents at the first team meeting. Coaches must also submit the Coaches' Promise at the scrimmage or tournament.

Expenses

The National FLL provides a sample team budget Note:

  • Generally, team fees are paid by the team manager up front and reimbursed by dividing the amount among the players.
  • The registration fee referenced in that budget refers to National FLL registration.
  • The (required) Tournament Fee is $50, payable as the registration fee to Los Altos Robotics. This fee is due after Los Altos Robotics notifies you that your team has a slot in the November Tournament and before September 30th. (Note: This notification is not the same as the immediate confirmation issued by our Web site when you submit your team registration.)
  • If your team advances to the Northern California regional Championship, there is a $75 fee payable to the Northern California FLL organization. This fee is typically collected in January.
  • Your team needs one or more Mindstorms kits to participate, but you don't have to use the kit sold by National FLL. If a team member already has an RCX or NXT set, that's fine to get started with. The kit sold by National FLL has some extra sensors and pieces, but you can buy these on the Internet as needed.(e.g. www.bricklink.com) As of the 2008-09 season, Los Altos Robotics is discontinuing its kit leasing program.
  • Although the table is listed as optional, each team needs access to a table. Los Altos Robotics offers "Ofiicial Tables" for $40, the cost of materials. If you want one, contact (TBD) before September (TBD) The National FLL provides plans and instructions for building a table yourself. Your team can potentially share a table with another team if the teams meet at the same location at different times.
  • Los Altos Robotics offers optional T-shirts for $16. T-shirt orders and payment are submitted with your registration fee. Alternatively, many teams design their own T-shirts.
  • The "Other Expense" listed at the bottom of the budget refer to supplies needed for the Challenge research project and for conducting team meetings. $20 per team member is a reasonable estimate.
  • Registrations

    Registrations are limited at the national and Los Altos level, therefore, register as soon as you know that you are going to have a team. You don't have to have your team roster finalized.

    1. The team must register with the national FLL organization The registration fee is paid at the time of registration. We recommend registering in early-mid August so that you receive the Field Setup Kit by early September. If you have not registered by Sept. 15, you are likely to miss the season because you will not receive your Field Setup Kit in time or because the available National FLL team slots are filled.

    2. The team must register with Los Altos Robotics. Registration does not guarantee a place at the LAR tournament in November. Our capacity is limited to ~24 teams, and we may be oversubscribed. If we are oversubscribed, Los Altos Robotics will select teams based on order of registration, Los Altos residency, event support commitment, and/or timely payment of fees. Registration fees for teams that are not accepted will be refunded. The $50 registration fee for an accepted team is due after acceptance and before September 30th.

    3. The team must register with the Northern California FLL organization (NCaFLL) . NCaFLL coordinates the local tournaments, and will place any teams that Los Altos Robotics cannot accommodate. Registration opens around September 30th and is free. When you register, indicate that you want to participated in the Los Altos Robotics qualifying tournament.

    Event Support

    In order to put on the October scrimmage and the November tournament, Los Altos Robotics needs support from each team.

    1. All teams participating in the scrimmage or the November tournament are expected to provide one worker for each event. There are a varienty of positions available to suit different time schedules and interests. Most require only a couple hours of time. They're easy, they're kind of fun, and they directly contribute to the kids' enjoyment of the event. See the team registration form for more information on these volunteer positions. Indicate your position preferences on the team registration form.

    2. All teams are expected to provide a table and Field Setup Kit for one of the two events. Los Altos Robotics can provide transporation help. Indicate your event preference on the team registration form.

    Your support is as important as your registration fee in enabling Los Altos Robotics to conduct the scrimmage and the tournament. Los Altos Robotics reserves the right to deny participation at either the scrimmage or the tournament to a team that has not provided support for that event.

    More Ideas for Organizing and Starting a Team


    Do you have any more specific ideas to help our child be on a team this season?

    • First of all, you are not alone! Many parents trying to form a team are going through the same confusion. Most of us have had experience with youth sports, like AYSO soccer, and are used to having teams formed by the league. Most first year coaches have the same confusion. While it is a little more work to form a team for robotics, there are some big upsides. You have the choice of players which means they can participate with friends. The teams are much smaller and more manageable. Here are some things I can think of to help form a team:
      1. Ask your kids the names of their 3 best friends. Call the parents of each and see if they want to do robotics.
      2. Ask your kids who in their class likes science. Call those parents.
      3. Sign up to be a coach! Seriously, finding coaches is harder than finding players. If you really want to make sure they are on a team, be their coach. The whole philosophy of Lego Robotics is to let the kids do the work. You don’t need to be an engineer to coach, and there is lots of guidance and support available from the National FLL and Los Altos FLL. Just be willing to spend some time with the team, help with organization, and have lots of positive energy.
      4. Use your mailing lists… past sports teams, other activities like dance, music, scouts… you probably have the e-mail address of 100 kids in all those messages. Send out a short message letting everyone know you are interested in forming a team.
      5. Split the coaching job. Often busy lives or travel schedules prevent people from volunteering to coach. Find another parent and offer to split the duty. Another way to split the job is to have one parent host the meetings and another coach.
      6. Come to the parent meeting Tuesday September 2nd, 2008 at 7:30 at Oak School. You may find other parents without a team there.

    Good luck. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.

    Michael Schuh 650-965-8037 (Home)

    Los Altos FIRST LEGO League Homepage.

    Changes Log:

    29 Aug '06 Updated it some for '06 season.
    21 Aug '04 Clean it up and clarified some text.
    26 Aug '03 First cut.

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