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Having troubles getting and staying sub 20

iTz Dr Pepper

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Dec 17, 2011
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Recently ive been stuck at the 20-21 second barrier. Like 3 days ago I did like 300 solves and the mean was sub 20. Now I can barely get a 19 second solve. Here's most of my problems.

1- While inserting F2l pairs I often forget to try and look ahead and I just look at the pair I'm inserting. Usually I get 17 second solves when I don't look at the pieces I'm inserting, but its a bad habit and I'm trying to stop it.

2- If I get 7 sub 20 solves in a row, then all of a sudden I get a 22, its hard for me to recover from that and the next solves following it are really bad.

3- If I get a really good cross (say 3 moves) and it takes like 1.5 seconds, I often find it hard to find the first pair. But in general its hard for me to find the first pair I usually just end up rotating :(

4- When I'm not timing myself, looking ahead is easy and PLL and OLL recognition is very easy. But when I start timing myself everything really goes downhill.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated!
 

iTz Dr Pepper

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Usually F2l is average 13-15 seconds. LL is about 6. But these times change can vary 2-3 seconds because I am not very consistent.
 

ottozing

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i was having trouble getting sub 20 a while back aswell. when i started pratcicing one hand solving it forced me to go slower and thus i natuarly looked ahead more (i think i did like 2 weeks of just one handed solving). then when i started doing two handed solving again i was averaging 17 seconds consistantly. i hope this helps =D
 

tozies24

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I wouldn't do 300 solves in a day. You could develop bad habits from doing lots of solves when tired. You could take a break for a day to let your brain recover and then you will probably be able to improve. Also, I always end on a good solve (sub 20 in your case)
 

skeletonboy

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Recently ive been stuck at the 20-21 second barrier. Like 3 days ago I did like 300 solves and the mean was sub 20. Now I can barely get a 19 second solve. Here's most of my problems.

1- While inserting F2l pairs I often forget to try and look ahead and I just look at the pair I'm inserting. Usually I get 17 second solves when I don't look at the pieces I'm inserting, but its a bad habit and I'm trying to stop it.

2- If I get 7 sub 20 solves in a row, then all of a sudden I get a 22, its hard for me to recover from that and the next solves following it are really bad.

3- If I get a really good cross (say 3 moves) and it takes like 1.5 seconds, I often find it hard to find the first pair. But in general its hard for me to find the first pair I usually just end up rotating :(

4- When I'm not timing myself, looking ahead is easy and PLL and OLL recognition is very easy. But when I start timing myself everything really goes downhill.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated!
You really just have to nick the habit. Do the F2L pair blind, it is very easy to do it blind. Force yourself to lookahead. Although forcing too much may worsen it.

And I always have the cross problem too, I try to find the easiest F2L pair's pieces and track them when I do the cross.

If it's only 3 moves, it shouldn't be a problem to track 2 pieces within 3 moves. But don`t forget, when you are done with the cross and tracked the first F2L pair that you found, you would normally just execute the pair. But many not so experienced cubers (me sometimes) feel very "pro" when they get a good case, and they FORGET to lookahead.

We go like "OH YEAH, suppa easy case, WHAT NOW! ...... oh crud, I forgot to lookahead" ........*bad time* -_-"

So if you get an easy cross, track the first F2L pair with it and execute the first F2L pair while tracking the 2nd pair. All 3 things in one flow. That's why you don't see professional cubers stall, instead of having 3 things in one flow, they make the whole solve in one flow; but that wont happen without at least a year of practice.

And yes, this always happens, pressure because you're racing against the time. Just forget about the timing when you are solving. Be like, who cares, I can have 2nd tries.
 

cmhardw

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General tips: clicky

3- If I get a really good cross (say 3 moves) and it takes like 1.5 seconds, I often find it hard to find the first pair. But in general its hard for me to find the first pair I usually just end up rotating :(
Try doing your cross slower each time. I don't mean like a little bit slower, I mean at like half the speed you're probably doing it now. I'm only just on the cusp of sub-15, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but this is one of those things that I never expected to help as much as it does. It feels, to me, like I'm doing my cross wicked slow each time, but that's what you need in order to always have GREAT lookahead to the first pair and to generate that "I'm doing very well!" momentum right from the start of your solve.

Just try it and see what you think. Half speed cross. It's totally worth it, even though it sounds like the stupidest idea ever. For me it works quite well.
 
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applemobile

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Is your sig out of date or are you completely the wrong person to be giving sub-20 advice?
Can an Olympic trainer run sub 10 second 100 meters? No. Just because you cannot do something, does not mean you do knot know the theory behind, and the correct methods to point others in the correct direction.
 

skeletonboy

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Is your sig out of date or are you completely the wrong person to be giving sub-20 advice?
Hey, what's wrong with that? Just cause I'm even worse than the person I am trying to help, doesn't mean the advice I give is blatantly false and incorrect.
I'm just trying to help him with the knowledge that I know of. And cubing knowledge can come to anyone at anytime. Even a very strict non-cubing math teacher, can learn sub-20 knowledge just by learning from others such as experienced people or the internet.
 

CoryThigpen

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Okay, before a mob jumps in all I'm getting at is that it is without question better to get sub-20 advice from someone who is actually sub-20: they've gotten through it and know what it takes. I'm still trying to get there, but if all I did was take advice from sub-30 cubers then I'd be asking the wrong people. Your F2L advice was good, but it's more credible when you've proven that your advice "works" with fast times.
 

tozies24

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Another tip: just have fun and don't worry about your times. Your times will go down. You said that you will get 7 sub 20 solves in a row and then get a 22 and be flustered, well thats how cubing works (that's how everything in this world works). When you have an average, you are going to get times below average and above average. In my case, I might get a couple solves that are 2 or 3 seconds over my average. I say "oh well, that was just a bad solve" and I move on. Since for every really bad solve you have, there is bound to be a really good solve.
 

MWilson

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Mar 19, 2011
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Recently ive been stuck at the 20-21 second barrier. Like 3 days ago I did like 300 solves and the mean was sub 20. Now I can barely get a 19 second solve. Here's most of my problems.

1- While inserting F2l pairs I often forget to try and look ahead and I just look at the pair I'm inserting. Usually I get 17 second solves when I don't look at the pieces I'm inserting, but its a bad habit and I'm trying to stop it.

2- If I get 7 sub 20 solves in a row, then all of a sudden I get a 22, its hard for me to recover from that and the next solves following it are really bad.

3- If I get a really good cross (say 3 moves) and it takes like 1.5 seconds, I often find it hard to find the first pair. But in general its hard for me to find the first pair I usually just end up rotating :(

4- When I'm not timing myself, looking ahead is easy and PLL and OLL recognition is very easy. But when I start timing myself everything really goes downhill.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated!
You somewhat answered yourself there. You essentially said you need to work on (1) not looking at the pair you're inserting, but instead looking ahead to the next pair. (2) Stop worrying about your times so much. You can get a 40+ seconds solve and still improve as long as you actually practiced the thing you want to do, and not what you're already doing. (3) Practice following a pair or at least a corner when you do your cross. (4) Same as 2. So clearly you know what you need to work on. The problem sounds like you're not practicing those things specifically (deliberate practice). You may not feel complacent with your current ability, but you're practicing as if you are. That is, you sound like you are just solving the cube and not making serious effort to learn new abilities that will allow you to solve it more efficiently.

Imagine a person who types with just their index fingers. They may want to be a very fast typist in their head, and so they type often, but they continue to type with only their index fingers. A hundred hours of practice later, they will be much faster at typing with just their index fingers, but no better at all at typing with all their fingers. They are not complacent in their ability, they have the drive to improve, but they are practicing as if they are complacent in that they only try to improve at what they are already able to do and not what they know will be more productive.

You said you did 300 solves, and you are worrying a lot about your times so I take it you try to solve as fast as possible every time. It is much more productive to just be aware of some specific things you need to improve on, and just focus on those (again, deliberate practice). Difficult just means you haven't practiced it enough yet, but you need to make sure you actually practicing the thing(s) you want to improve at or they will remain difficult forever.

For example, if you find it difficult to follow a pair during the cross, or predict it before you start (both useful skills), then you need to force yourself to do that every solve. Even if it results in another ten seconds added to you current times. That doesn't mean want to do it and then just solve the cube normally a thousand times. If you solve the cube a thousand times and just run through the cross as fast as possible then start looking for the first pair, you will get faster at doing that specifically. You will not get better at following a pair during the cross, even after 1000 solves, because even if that's what you wanted to do that is not what you did and is therefore not what you practiced.

Scramble the cube, inspect the cross and memorize it. Pick a corner edge pair and turn super slow, like one turn every two seconds if you have to, and follow the pair trying to think as little as possible about the cross. If you can't stop staring at the cross as you do it, then practice just the cross without looking at the cube at all. Just always be aware of what thing, as specific as possible, that you need to improve on and practice in such a way that you are constantly attempting it.

For look ahead during F2L just do the same thing. Make sure you actually look ahead, no matter how slow you need to turn. If you can't stop yourself from looking at the current pair, then practice inserting pairs without looking at the cube until you don't need to look anymore.

When you're doing your last pair, keep turning slow ignoring the current pair you're inserting and watch the OLL as it forms on the top. Try to predict the OLL case as it forms. Don't do U turns to recognize it. Sit there staring at it for as long as you have to as long as you are attempting to recognize it without U turns. I can't remember if some require a U turn to differentiate it from another similar looking OLL, but I don't think so. Same for PLL. If you don't have a clue, then cheat for a moment and do U turns, but then turn it back to how it was and look at it as if you had

Bottom line is that you're struggling to get consistently sub-20 by practicing in such a way that will make you faster at what you're already doing. Allow your times to go back up as you acquire new skills, such as following a pair during cross, looking ahead fluidly in F2L, and trying to recognize OLL and PLL without U turns or cube rotations.

Since people are debating "advice authority" I'll add that I avg ~12s 3x3.

Right now I'm applying what I said above to my own solves and doing the exercise where I look at two pairs and then predict how the second one will end up when I solve the first. I've been doing that for two weeks now and it's starting to open my eyes up to multi-slotting and avoiding bad cases which I could never fathom before. An ability I would not be gaining if I had just kept solving the cube over and over.
 

Schmidt

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/\ tl;dr="URDOINITRONG" and I'm not even kidding.

That was a nice read. Of course everybody knows this, but not many take the time to do it right. That thing about the typer was so true. I will try* to apply this to my solves.

*
"No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."
―Yoda
 

cookieyo145

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I have a similar problem. I would work on the cross and be finished with your f2l at most at 13 seconds. From there, even using 2 lokk oll and 2look pll can get you sub 20. Thats what i use right now.
 
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