The FTC season begins when the new game is revealed, after that we spend several weeks building our robot, perfecting our programing, and interacting with other FTC teams. Then it's off to the competitions. There are four tiers of competition in USA: Qualifying, States, Super Regionals, and Worlds.
Travel to tournaments can take anywhere from half an hour to multiple days depending on where you're going, a typical tournament looks like this. You get there and go through software and hardware inspection and then get your judging time. You stand in front of a panel of three STEM minded individuals for 10-15 minutes, you describe your robot design scheme, game strategy, outreach and much more and are questioned by the judges. You have some time to practice and then you are randomly paired up with another team to play against an opposing alliance. Then the top four teams choose their alliance partners for the play offs, then the finals is where the top four teams play to see who wins the tournament. After that the awards are handed out.
In each match there are two alliances competing against each other, each alliance consists of two teams. during a match each team will have two drivers and a coach. Autonomous is the first 30 seconds of the game which is all pre-programmed. Tele-op is the two minutes after autonomous where the drivers are controlling the robot to complete tasks and earn points. The last 30 seconds of the game is called end game where there are other tasks that earn more points.