FTC-Iowa: Coaches

Coaches are integral to the FIRST Tech Challenge team.  The students must  build, design, and program the robot,  but coaches can offer suggestions and help. Coaches can show team members how to do things, although often the students show the coaches how to do things. Coaches do not need to have a technical background, as FTC is a learning process for all  involved. Successful coaches are hands-off, provide a safe location, arrange meeting dates and times, and serve as the primary method of communication with FTC-Iowa.

FIRST has many resources for coaches and teams. We suggest you bookmark these sites and use them frequently. TIMS (Team Information Management System)is the place for coaches to register their FTC team with FIRST and order TETRIX parts at a discount. Have you missed a FTC team email blast? Check out the archive of FTC Team Email Blasts and the FTC blog from Ken Johnson, Director of FTC. FTC is on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

FTC-Iowa also has information for Iowa teams. And we send email to Iowa teams. The primary email is ftc.iowa@gmail.com, so please save it in your contact list, as many schools and organizations filter out @gmail.com addresses. Review the archive of FTC-Iowa team blasts. We are also social! FTC-Iowa on Facebook and Twitter

Teams Contact Information

An element to Gracious Professionalism is working together to build a better community. The best way to do that is for teams to collaborate with other teams - either nearby or across the state. During the build season, teams are responsible for hosting their own scrimmages/workshops, which provide great opportunities to connect with other students.

Field Options

Teams are not required to have a complete FTC Competition field for practice. Many teams have been successful with a portion of a FTC field. However, if your team is interested in building a full field, but does not have the funds to cover the cost of an official field perimeter, there is an option for a Low Cost Perimeter. Also, FTC recommends that teams build their own sizing box to make sure their robot will pass the size portion of the robot inspections.


FTC-Iowa has implemented a League Tournament Structure. Teams who wish to compete at the FTC-Iowa Championship must compete at a League Championship tournaments to advance to the FTC-Iowa Championship. Many teams in Iowa receive special grants to get started. Many of these grants have a requirement for teams to compete in at least one tournament; a qualifier tournament fulfills this requirement. Don't forget the consent forms. Please review the pages about FTC-Iowa League Tournaments and be aware of the FTC-Iowa Cancelation Policy.

Field Items

  •  "Game Specific Field Elements"
  • "Extra Robot Parts"

Teams have the flexibility to purchase items that are needed beyond the kit-of-parts. Coach Dan Niemitalo (#4150) has compilied a list of robot parts (including link to vendor websites) and an explanation of the part recommendations. Please keep in mind, these are the recommendations from an experienced FTC coach. They are not requirements.

Professional Development

In July, 2016, we hosted a professional development for FTC coaches. We plan to host another one in Summer, 2017.