Scouting is an incredibly important part of FRC that many teams overlook. Who you chose to play with in eliminations can be the difference between walking home with a nice, shiny blue banner or walking home empty handed. Some teams are notorious for their in-depth, custom scouting systems, but the truth is, scouting can be as simple as hand writing on some printed scouting sheets.
In this scouting process/ database guide from FRC team 2614 MARS, you can learn about some of the different methods of scouting as well as what a typical schedule would look like at a competition. If you are still a little bit overwhelmed, I’ll go one step farther and direct you to the “2018 Poor Man’s Scouting System” from FRC team 180 SPAM, that you can literally just print out and bring to use at your next competition! (Posted on Chief Delphi here)
If you already have the paper scouting system down, you may be wanting to try something more complex. If that sounds like you, my first recommendation would be to look at Tableau, a data analyzing software available for free to FRC teams, that allows you to do some pretty cool data analysis and visualizations. On their website they even include some basic tutorials to get you started.
If you really want to go even one step further, you can check out of the Scouting section of the FRC Survival Guide to check out how teams such as FRC team 1678, Citrus Circuits created their own completely custom scouting systems.
Now if you come from a smaller team, you may be saying “Hey Kristin, all of these systems require at least 6 people to be scouting at all times, but my team does not have enough people to do that.” If this is the case for you and your team, try buddying up with another team! Ideally you should try and find another team that is attending the two district events you are going to, and your teams can work together to create a system that works for the both of you. Even if the other team is large enough to have a full set of 6 scouts, it is still worth asking them to partner up and create a scouting rotation.
At the end of the day, scouting is something all teams should do, whether you chose to do paper scouting or create a custom mobile app. Find a student or group of students on your team interested in data analytics to head it up, because the skills you learn from analyzing scouting data are super applicable to real life data analysis!