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Don't think too much

Nestor

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#3
Happens to me also. When I'm sleepy and solve without focusing I get very good times. It is as if superior functions turn off and fully-automatic responses take over.
 
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#4
I've done better in comp when I've been tired/hungover before. But I think if you did a moving average of your average of 100, you'd find that your averages of 12 would gradually get slower the more solves you did. Hard to know exactly without seeing your times!
 
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#5
I find that this is both very true and very false at the same time. There are some times when my lookahead is great but my turning is trash, and when I start to actually make an effort and focus, I do badly. But then, when my lookahead is trash and my turning is great, if I actively pay attention and focus, I'll get some great times. For example, yesterday I got a 13 second single where there were absolutely no pauses, lockups etc, and I was focusing really hard. And then a few weeks ago, during an Ao100, I got a 11.5 NL single where my TPS was mid to low 5. I wasn't paying attention at all.
 
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#6
This may work for some people, but I find that my very best solves are the ones where I'm actively tracking every F2L pair and actively turning more smoothly so that I have almost no pauses. Those are my 11.xx or 12.xx times.
 
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Thread starter #8
After this answer, I also think it is a personally thing, which may occur but mustn't.

I totally agree with this:
Overall I think that you should focus, but not have to FORCE yourself to focus. Warmed up hands can really help too.
I think this is also a big problem to most of the people (including me) at competitions. You WANT TO BE GOOD at comps, therefore you force yourself to focus on the solve, which is very bad.
 

cmhardw

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#9
Dan Knights used to say that he got good averages when he was only slightly paying attention to cubing, and was multitasking for other things too. He once got a very good average for him while talking on the phone with someone (who knew he was cubing at the time).

In my best averages (high 13s) I always felt a sense of hyper focus, like I was looking ahead waaaay further than my normal amount. I also felt like I had to work to maintain that level of focus.

As far as competitions go, I find that I have to "pull it back" a bit so to speak. My adrenaline is always up real high when I am competing, so if I go at what feels in that moment to be 80% speed, my adrenaline kicks that up to about 90% speed. If I do it right I'll get a good solve.

I also believe very strongly in distraction training. I tell people who are in the room with me to never be quiet while I am cubing (even BLD) and instead to try to distract me. When I was still fast, my Dad would distract me during my solves but I could still focus on cubing. Try setting your alarm clock to go off 4-5 minutes into your AO12 and then don't turn it off until your average is done. That's very annoying but is good training.
 
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#10
I consistently solve faster when I'm "defocused."

I've found that these things help me get into this zone:
- back away from the cube. Just hold it 4 inches further from you than you normally would.
- open your hands. Don't hold your hands so close to the cube. Grab nearer the edges.
- trust yourself. Don't assume that you might have messed up that last move. Just keep going.
 
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Thread starter #12
Focus must be better. I might just be that when you are focused you turn too fast and lock up. when you aren't focused, you turn slow and don't lock up. Try focusing and not lock up.
The lock-ups may be a byproduct of the pressure which automatically comes with focus. In my case, the biggest problem is, that when I focus I wan't to find the F2L pairs as fast as possible and I try to look up too much. Then I don't find my pairs fast enough and the many possibilities confuse me (which sounds pretty dumb but I don't know how to subscribe else).
 
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#13
I do not solve better when I'm unfocused, but what you said makes sense and I can see why it would be true for some people.

Actually, let me amend that: I do not solve better if I'm extremely tired, or something like that, but if I'm at full mental/physical strength and I'm unfocused for a reason that is not simply inability to focus well (i.e. multitasking), I can often come close to my normal times.

Today at school, I did a few solves while taking a break from working on a project. I wasn't very warmed up or very focused, but I tied my PB AO5. That's the only recent instance of doing well while unfocused that I can think of.

I also believe very strongly in distraction training. I tell people who are in the room with me to never be quiet while I am cubing (even BLD) and instead to try to distract me. When I was still fast, my Dad would distract me during my solves but I could still focus on cubing. Try setting your alarm clock to go off 4-5 minutes into your AO12 and then don't turn it off until your average is done. That's very annoying but is good training.
Would you say it's good training for more than just doing well in competitions? I would rather create an enviornment that's perfect for getting my absolute best times, even if it leaves me unprepared for bad solving environments. Perhaps it's a training technique that benefits BLD more than sighted solves, and that's why I've never run into an instance where it's useful? I can imagine that with BLD, you would still run into significant distractions even in perfect environments.
 
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#14
Would you say it's good training for more than just doing well in competitions? I would rather create an enviornment that's perfect for getting my absolute best times, even if it leaves me unprepared for bad solving environments. Perhaps it's a training technique that benefits BLD more than sighted solves, and that's why I've never run into an instance where it's useful? I can imagine that with BLD, you would still run into significant distractions even in perfect environments.
I also believe that it's best to always solve in best possible environment. Because if noise is distracting at comps (especially during BLD but why not in normal speedsolves also) you can always use hearing protection.

I myself always use double hearing protection (earplugs AND those headphone type protectors, so I really can't hear anything at all.) while solving BLD. First I only did it if it was noisy around (so mainly at comps) but then I started training with hearing protection also, because it doesn't make sense to me to practise solving any differently than I would solve at competitions.

That way I can always create a (close to) perfect solving environment even in competition. Instead of just learning to deal with bad environments.
 

cmhardw

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#15
This is an interesting discussion. I've always found that competition environments are far from ideal. For speedsolving, you can almost always hear the audience talking as well as the competitors in the competitors area talking. Often the space is cramped and people are very close to you, walking right next to you as they leave their timer or go to their timer. I've always taken it as an assumption that a competition environment is far from ideal, and to train in not very ideal conditions in order to be ready for this.

However, my pb solves in all cases were done in "perfect" cubing environments where it was very quiet and there was no distraction.

I guess I value consistent, good performances in public more than I value personal best times. This is certainly not a value judgement that one is better than the other for all people, but that is how I view it.
 
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#16
my post will only be about solving at home in practice sessions; as i am far away of finding out how to get consistently good solves in competitions.
i find that talking about "focus"is the wrong approach here. this is what i have noticed:

when i have slept 10+ hours in the night and i am at my highest potential of thinking (quickly), it quite often happens to me that i think too much about the things i have to do well/the things i should avoid/my goals concerning cubing OR even completely different things.
whenever my thoughts wander to something important, my times get noticeably worse and i lose focus on the solve because my thoughts block my "flow" while solving. the reason why this happens is in my opinion that a perfectly preformance-capable mind just isn't needed at all to do proper solves. you only need a fraction of your thinking capacity for good lookahead. so when i sleep my average 7-8 hours and i worked at the day, solving in the evening while listening to chilled music, i tend to think about "nothing" and that is when the "flow" kicks in and i get my best times.

can anyone share this experience?
 
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#17
I sometimes get really good times at the bowling alley... For example, I got a 15.01 ao12 at the bowling alley (people were watching and talking to me in between solves btw) but my best ao12 at home is like 16.3x
 
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Fawn

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#18
I can agree with the idea that better times are achievable when you're not thinking too hard about the solve. When it comes to outside distractions, I don't have many. I'm afraid to cube in public unless I'm with friends, so the noise of crowds is not something I normally include in my averages. However, when I have small distractions, I can generally perform well. If it's somebody playing music in the background, I'm fine. If it's somebody calling my name, my train of thought completely derails.
 
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#19
I think this might be a misconception. I don't think good solves are about "not thinking" but are more about not putting pressure on your solves, which happens to be easier when you aren't thinking too hard about what you're doing or are distracted. But it isn't about doing mindless solves, it's just about being calm throughout the solve. You can certainly think a lot about what you're doing and remain calm, it's just difficult for a lot of people. So I think that people tend to associate thinking with worse times when it's really the consequences of thinking (anxiety) that can cripple your times rather than the actual "thinking" itself.
 
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Thread starter #20
my post will only be about solving at home in practice sessions; as i am far away of finding out how to get consistently good solves in competitions.
i find that talking about "focus"is the wrong approach here. this is what i have noticed:

when i have slept 10+ hours in the night and i am at my highest potential of thinking (quickly), it quite often happens to me that i think too much about the things i have to do well/the things i should avoid/my goals concerning cubing OR even completely different things.
whenever my thoughts wander to something important, my times get noticeably worse and i lose focus on the solve because my thoughts block my "flow" while solving. the reason why this happens is in my opinion that a perfectly preformance-capable mind just isn't needed at all to do proper solves. you only need a fraction of your thinking capacity for good lookahead. so when i sleep my average 7-8 hours and i worked at the day, solving in the evening while listening to chilled music, i tend to think about "nothing" and that is when the "flow" kicks in and i get my best times.

can anyone share this experience?
I can absolutely share this. Sometimes I cube and even if I do timed solves or if I try to concentrate, I automatically think about something very different to cubing, such as work, family etc. I didn't take attention to if I am very well-slept or if I'm tired when this happens but it also seems more logical that this happens when you had a good amount of sleep!
 
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