Coach’s Corner with Kyle Hughes

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Basic Info

  • Name: Kyle Hughes
  • Current Team: 27
  • Seasons as Coach: 1998-present
  • Day Job: Mathematics and Technology Teacher

How did you get involved in FRC?
Thought it would be a great capstone project for an engineering class. Wow – didn’t realize that the class would be over 18 years later and I am still doing it!

How would you define your role as coach?
As a drive coach, my role is to make sure the strategy is sound and we are ready/prepared to work with our alliance. Once we get on the field, I am the last set of eyes, looking at what the others are doing – trusting my drivers are staying true to our plan ahead of time. I call the final shots – if something goes wrong, I take the fall. Even if my drivers make mistakes – or make decisions that did not result in our favor, I take the hit and discuss with them later.

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How would you define your coaching style?
Not sure … competitive, intense, desire to be the smartest one out there… don’t know what kind of “style” there is. I am very competitive, intense and believe that it may not be the best robot or the best driver, but the smartest one out there that can win. I believe if you have put your heart and soul into something as long as we have, you need to give it your all or walk away.

What is the most challenging part of coaching?
Time. I want to practice as much as possible but time is an issue. The other challenging part is not getting the robot (your athlete) to practice with until the first day of competition. That is intense. “Waiting” for mechanical/programming to be done is very challenging and frustrating.

What was your greatest moment as a coach?
After 18 years, there are a few. One specifically was in 1999 when RUSH got selected by 71, Team Hammond. That day at lunch, Bill Beatty, Brian Beatty and I met for lunch to determine our strategy. I learned so much in that day. I felt like I had been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Scouting! To take the game and break it down so mathematically was amazing to me. They turned scouting and strategy upside down – it wasn’t how to you beat them on the field, it was how do we prevent them from scoring more than we could to win – entirely based on the math. It was incredible!

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What characteristics make up a good coach?
Quick thinking, sharp – thinking outside the box, competitive, patient, professional – MUST UNDERSTAND GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM!

What advice would you give to a new coach?
Know the game. Know your robot. Know your drivers. Begin a “language” with your drivers so they know what you are saying/yelling/shouting/screaming during a match. Communication is key. Set levels of “success” prior to competition. Maybe just moving across the field is a goal that can be achieved. Each match, raise the bar. After each match, evaluate what went right and what the drivers can do to improve. Shave time off of actions. Practice. Play. Watch. Listen. Learn. Take ALL blame and responsibility for the actions of your drivers. YOU are the leader, take the lead.

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Article Content Provided by: Kyle Hughes (Mentor/Coach FRC27)
Special thanks to Daniel Ernst for the photos.

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