Getting Started

For Rookies

Getting started can be difficult, but not impossible. Here we’ve compiled a list of FIRST Robotics information that can help every rookie team and mentor hit the ground running. Some are well-known resources; others are special-edition tips from FIRST Team 1816-The Green Machine.

Get Started!

FRC Home Page -- Your first stop when it comes to FIRST Robotics, these pages include need-to-knows about the FIRST Robotics Competition, a brief summary of what’s involved, logistical information, and best of all, a step-by-step guide to starting your very own team. Keep Up with FIRST by keeping an eye on the season calendar.

Just Add Mentors

FRC Team 341-Miss Daisy, Ambler, PA, offers teams their “Team In a Box.” Packed with many how-tos, the series is now available on YouTube.

Look for mentors outside the technical, computer programming and engineering realm via NEMO (Non-Engineering Mentors Organization). This site provides insights and tips for your FIRST team’s non-engineering mentors, as well as information on how to find and recruit mentors. NEMO also has special lists of things to think about for rookies, including 18 Hints for Rookie Teams and Competition Tips.

Fundraising and Sponsorships

Participation in FIRST Robotics comes with a hefty price tag, but there are community and national resources a click away. Check the FRC website for FRC Grant Information, the FIRST Fundraising Toolkit, a wide variety of resources from FIRST teams nationally. Look for information about Team 1816’s “House Party” and Cargill Grant.

Marketing Your Team and FIRST

Before you put the FIRST logo on all your team gear, pit banners and robots, it’s a good idea to study the FIRST FAQ on Marketing on how to get your team’s name out before the public and make the home office in New Hampshire proud.

Scouting: Red or Blue? How about Both?

When it comes to things robot scouting, The Blue Alliance, is a favorite. Excellent for scouting reports and strategizing, TBA provides statistics on all FIRST teams in official competitions as well as video of matches. Exercise caution, TBA can be addicting.


Safety in the workshop, safety at competitions, safety while traveling. You’ll be asked about safety practices when you’re at FIRST competitions. We highly-recommend that every person read the FIRST Safety Manual and watch the Safety Videos. Be sure to check out the page of Safety Resources compiled by Team 1816. Always remember, Safety FIRST!

Still Need Help?

If you’ve hit a wall, or just don’t know where to start, contact us! Send an email to and your questions will be answered pronto!

Minnesota FIRST contacts are also really good about answering team questions, whether it's how to register for a Regional event or how to host your own off-season event. These are the folks who know:

Mark Lawrence, Chairman, Minnesota Regional Planning Committee (

Ken Rosen, FIRST Regional Director-Minnesota (

Susan Lawrence, FIRST Midwest Operations Director, (

Evan Hochstein, Minnesota Senior Mentor (

Laurie Shimizu, Minnesota Senior Mentor (