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A message to anyone who averages between 20 and 30 seconds on 3x3


Jul 23, 2019
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Hey guys, so I've seen a lot of people who average between 20 and 30 seconds on the forums who are looking for advice but seem to have a lot of misconceptions about cubing. I was thinking how less than 2 years ago, I was in that same boat, and I had a lot of the same misconceptions and problems. So this is essentially a letter to my past self, detailing all the things I wish I had known at that point.

Dear 20-30 second solver,

Here are the things that I wish I had known when I averaged the same as you, I hope they help.

You shouldn't get ahead of yourself.
The first step to improving is knowing your goal. If you average 25, then don't ask how to become sub 15. It's okay to have a goal, but don't get ahead of yourself. This also applies to improve at events besides 3x3. If you averaged 30 on 3x3 and 2 minutes on 4x4, then you wouldn't ask how to be sub 40, that would be ridiculous! Focus on the goal that's in front of you.

Finding your weaknesses is the key to improving.
I see a lot of people ask "I average X with X method, how do I get faster?" These questions won't help you improve. What you need to do is find what your weaknesses are, and then try to fix them. If you are sub 30 with CFOP and know 2 look OLL and full PLL, then it is almost certain that you have a lot of inefficient cross and F2L solutions. So watch example solves to see better solutions, and then implement them in your solves.

Simplicity is important.
This goes along the lines of the last one, but don't overcomplicate things. Don't try to learn OLL with the expectation that it will instantly make you sub 15. You can learn more advanced techniques and algorithms if you want to, but do so at your own risk. Don't expect them to make you any faster.

There are no shortcuts in cubing.
Nothing will magically make you faster. Every technique and concept in cubing requires practice. When I was trying to learn full PLL, I left out cases that I thought would be "hard" to learn and learned terrible algs for certain cases because they seemed "easier". If you want to improve, don't expect it to be super easy. That said, I think it is important to establish a difference between "hard" and "pointless". Full PLL can be hard for 20-30 seconds solvers, but it is far from pointless. Most people would consider it necessary to be fast. So don't try to make shortcuts for yourself as they will just be worse for you in the long run.

Make sure that when you read this, you don't just go "Oh that was nice" and forget about it. Reading this was pointless if you didn't act on it! Best of luck on improving!