Start an FRC Team

There is no typical or FIRST mandated team structure.  Other than meeting the requirement of assigning adults to the official team roles of Main, Alternate and/or Shipping Contact - you are free to structure your team as best suits you!  Most FRC teams are comprised of anywhere from 5 to 100+ students (there is no set minimum or maximum) and can be made up of one or more high schools, home-schools, or youth and/or community organizations(s).  More information about team structure is available in the “FRC Administrative Manual.”

You should have at least one professional engineering mentor, adult mentors, high school aged students, sponsorship, a meeting place, access to tools and free time during the build and competition season.  Specifics and a season overview are available in the “How to Start a Team (PDF)” and "Start an FRC Team (Resources)."

The official FRC season starts with team and event registration in the fall.  The new seasons kicks off on the first Saturday of January, marking the beginning of the six-week robot design and build period which ends on the Bag-and-Tag deadline in February.  Regional and District competition events start in late February, continue through early April, culminating at the FIRST World Championship event held in St. Louis in late April.  All FRC season deadlines, including award submissions, are detailed on the “FIRST FRC Calendar”.  Deadlines and events specific to Illinois (and Northwest Indiana) are listed on the “FIRST Illinois Robotics FRC Calendar.”  

Steps to Success

Step One

Register information on TIMS

By registering your information on the “Team Information Management System”, you become a part of the FRC Community!  A temporary team number is assigned and you will start receiving communications from FIRST.  Your team becomes officially registered once a competition event is selected in the fall registration.  You may withdraw and receive a refund any time up until you take delivery of your Kit of Parts.

Step Two

Get help and advice

Starting a new team is both challenging and rewarding.  Not only will you be involved in the process of team formation, you will also be learning about FIRST and the FRC program.  Your Illinois Executive Director and Illinois FIRST Senior Mentor are there to help get you and your new team off to a healthy beginning by offering a wealth of information, advice and experience!

Step Three

Key documents and Resources

Familiarize yourself with the documents, guides, and links that FIRST has compiled for your use on “How to Start a Team.”  Here you will find information on key topics such as participation costs, budgeting, mentoring, grants, and knowing you community resources.  The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Non-Engineering Mentor Organization (NEMO) and veteran FRC teams have all contributed to this treasure trove of information.

Step Four

Get to know your FRC community

Rookies - you are not alone!  Many veteran Illinois (and Northwest Indiana) FRC teams are ready and willing to lend a hand and/or mentor rookie teams.  Need to borrow a part (or an engineer), ask advice, or help with the build?  Veteran teams are always eager to assist.  Workshops, clinics, scrimmages and off-season events are also held where you can meet, and befriend the members of your Illinois (and Northwest Indiana) FIRST FRC family.  A listing of teams can be found on “Registered Teams.”