Start a FIRST Robotics Competition Team

FIRST Robotics Competition gives high school students and their adult mentors the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem. Teams of students are challenged to design, build, and program robots and compete for awards, while they also create a team identity, raise funds, hone teamwork skills, and advance respect and appreciation for STEM within the local community.

Beyond game play itself, students are rewarded by team achievements – in robot design and programming, demonstrating community outreach, Gracious Professionalism®, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.

What does every FIRST Robotics Competition team need?

  • 2 or more adult Mentors with both technical and non-technical expertise willing and motivated to “coach” the team through the build and competition season (and beyond)
  • Recommended 10 or more high school-aged students willing to put in time after school (and maybe some weekends) and to do any job the team needs to succeed (lots of jobs available for all skill levels and interests) *Ages may vary by region.
  • Suitable meeting location
  • A standard kit of parts and a common set of rules issued by FIRST
  • A community sponsor(s) that will help fund your efforts and provide other support
  • The desire to learn, explore, strategize, build comradery, share ideas and talents, make new friends, be inclusive, and HAVE FUN! 

Essential steps to starting a FIRST Robotics Competition team:

Find support resources
Contact your local FIRST Program Delivery Partner or  Senior Mentor. Your contact knows the FIRST teams, participating schools, and FIRST-friendly businesses in your area. They can help you form a plan for getting your team funded, organized, and in touch with other teams in the area.

Enlist Coaches & Mentors

Each team needs 2 or more adult Mentors with both technical and non-technical expertise willing and motivated to “coach” the team through the season. We highly recommended two or more other adults to help with administration, fundraising, community outreach, and other tasks.

Registered teams receive access to the FIRST Mentor Network. This complimentary resource helps teams find additional mentors for virtual or in-person support for one-time or season-long needs.

Register and Pay

Registering your team makes you a part of the huge FIRST Robotics Competition community. You’ll begin receiving communications from FIRST, along with a temporary team number. Create a team roster to submit with your registration. (Please note that completing this stage of the process does not commit you to becoming a team.)


Fundraising & Grants

FIRST believes all kids need equitable access to opportunity, relevant mentorship, and engagement to build a foundation for a bright future. We are available to assist teams in securing funding when extra help is needed. Recruit local businesses to sponsor your team. Many of them may already have a relationship with FIRST. We also have many fundraising opportunities you can explore. Registered teams also receive complimentary access to FIRST fundraising tools and resources to help teams create their own opportunities. Grants and sponsorships for teams may also be available provided locally, regionally, and nationally by many corporations.

Build your team 

Recruit approximately 10 or more students who want to be part of a robotics team (the easiest part!). Be sure to emphasize that no technical skills are required, just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Recruit all kinds of talents, not just engineering and electronics. All youth team members are required to register and complete the consent and release form on an annual basis.

As a team member, be prepared to meet at least a few times per week. Like any sport or other after-school activity, the more time you invest, the better you will become at your task(s). During build season, be prepared to also spend some nights and weekends helping your team (varies by team).

Learn about safety
At FIRST, student safety is always paramount.

  • FIRST Safety Manual: An in-depth overview of safety awareness at FIRST events, in your team’s shop, and in everyday life.
  • Youth Protection Program:  Every adult must become familiar with our Youth Protection Program (YPP). Take the time to watch our videos and read our youth protection materials.

Build Robots!

Part of the fun is designing and building your robot and FIRST provides a wealth of information. Find everything from technical guides, to fundraising ideas, or fun activities for your team.

FIRST does not match youth to existing teams due to our privacy policy. Teams form in local communities and recruit as needed. We encourage those looking for a team to contact local schools, libraries, or youth organizations that may have a team in place or an interest in starting one. An online search may also be helpful, as some teams share contact information through websites and social media pages.