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How to improve at solving many puzzles?

Megaminx 078

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I've been solving cubes for over a year now and I want to get faster at all of them.
How should long should I practice and should I practice solving one cube for a like a month or should I practice each cube everyday? Right now I'm learning the PLL algorithms for the 3x3 and at the same time i'm practicing my other cubes, which are: Megaminx,4x4,5x5,7x7, and pyraminx. How should i practice. Thanks.
 

jonlin

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If a way to practice everything so you would get faster at every single event were really that simple, than everybody would have, say, sub-15 3x3 averages and sub-50 second 4x4 avgs, etc.

Only about 2% of the general population who have attended a WCA tournaments have a sub-13 3x3 avg (not including those who don't have an average).

anyway, no one really can tell you how to practice, because there's not a one size fits all for cubing. If there was, everyone would be fast.
 

Chree

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One way I forced myself to improve at all events was keeping records for all my PB's. I record the dates for all my PB singles, Ao5's, Ao12's, Ao100's, etc. I concentrate on improving the oldest standing records for all the events that I actually care about. So I wind up practicing only 2 or 3 different events for like a couple weeks until I've got new PBs. After a while I sorta hit a wall and figured it was time to learn more advanced techniques in order to improve. For instance, my oldest standing PB right now is my 2x2 Ao5… which tells me it might be time to graduate from purely using Ortega and learn more CLL. One event I always practice no matter what, of course, is 3x3.

And if you want to motivate yourself, just set some goals. Nothing impossible, but some incremental progressions. For 2014, I set goals for the whole year: sub1 in 4x4, sub2 in 5x5, sub4 in 6x6 and sub6 in 7x7. I was less than a minute (sometimes less than 10 seconds) away from all of those singles and hit each one already. So now my goals are getting the same times but as Ao5's. 4x4 is done but the rest elude me. But now I know what my targets are… and once I hit one, I can move on to the next.

An interesting thing I noticed is that practicing certain events helps improve other events. Practicing 3x3 helped my F2L recognition in mega. Practicing 5x5 helped my lookahead in 4x4. Practicing 6x6 helped my redux in 7x7. So remember that even if you hit certain goals, you should still occasionally go back to those puzzles, because it all helps.

And just like Justin said... just practice the puzzles you feel like practicing. But practice all of them. The amount of time you spend on each is ultimately up to you... and a strict regimen kinda takes the fun out of the whole endeavor. Of couse, you don't HAVE to do any of this. These are just ideas and you can come up with your own spin on them to help you stay motivated.
 
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goodatthis

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I think a good way to go is to find out what you need to get better at for each puzzle, write it down, and then find out what core abilities (lookahead, TPS, etc) correspond to the things you need to get better at. Once you notice the similarities, pick the puzzles that help the most with those core abilities. So for me, I find that 5x5 is a really nice balance of turning as fast as possible, but also looking ahead to reduce pauses. If I do a 5x5 session, I often find that if I do 3x3 right after, my lookahead will be automatic and I'm hitting fast times. So what I would recommend is to keep on practicing 3x3, then pick another puzzle or two to practice alongside 3x3. For me I basically mix 5x5 and megaminx, and then 7x7, since they all require good lookahead to get better at.
 

Divineskulls

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Everybody pratices differently, and they in turn produce different results. There are a million ways to practice and a million results, you just have to find one that's yours.
 
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Megaminx 078

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I've read that you should only start look ahead for f2l when your f2l times are 20 seconds or better. My times have for the 3x3 range from up to 37 seconds to 25 seconds. Should I start look ahead now and will this bring my range of times closer together?
 

TDM

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I've read that you should only start look ahead for f2l when your f2l times are 20 seconds or better. My times have for the 3x3 range from up to 37 seconds to 25 seconds. Should I start look ahead now and will this bring my range of times closer together?
If I were you, once you've learned 4-look LL, you should start learning lookahead. You can never start learning to look ahead too early.
 

Megaminx 078

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I've read that you should only start look ahead for f2l when your f2l times are 20 seconds or better. My times have for the 3x3 range from up to 37 seconds to 25 seconds. Should I start look ahead now and will this bring my range of times closer together?
 

uberCuber

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I still have no idea what "learning lookahead" is.
How about "learning to look ahead"? Does that one make more sense to you? But then, when we write "lookahead" as a single word, it's being used as a noun, no? (e.g. "My lookahead needs work.") So it is the noun form of that skill "to look ahead." Then I see no problem with writing "learning lookahead," when "lookahead" is a skill that is, indeed, learned.

I hope you aren't implying that looking ahead isn't something that can be learned.
 

DeeDubb

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I hope you aren't implying that looking ahead isn't something that can be learned.
I think lookahead is something that IS learned, but not really specifically learned through training. It seems like something that naturally comes along as your current pair becomes muscle memory, you can naturally switch your focus to the next pair. The only training I've heard that kind of trains look ahead is blind solving pairs, but even that doesn't seem much better than just solving.
 

uberCuber

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I think lookahead is something that IS learned, but not really specifically learned through training. It seems like something that naturally comes along as your current pair becomes muscle memory, you can naturally switch your focus to the next pair.
It seems like you're describing that as if learning to look ahead is a subconscious action where, as you gain the ability to solve a pair with muscle memory, you just automatically start looking at other stuff simply because it is no longer necessary that you look at the pair you are solving. But if you aren't focusing, it's still really easy to keep watching the pieces you are solving even though you don't need to and never really lookahead at all. If you haven't yet learned to lookahead at a particular turnspeed on a particular puzzle, it will take a conscious effort to try to do so.

Here's the thing: there are some people here whose minds, for whatever reason, work in the right way for cubing lookahead to come very easily and naturally to them. They get fast really quickly, other people want to do the same and so ask them how they did it, and they say "lol I didn't really focus on learning look ahead, it just came as I did thousands of solves." But that's the very reason they got fast so quickly, and it doesn't mean that nobody should really focus on learning to look ahead. Such people are the exception to the rule. Unfortunately and counter-intuitively, those very-fast-improvers are actually some of the worst people to give advice to cubers struggling to improve.

For most people, if you are passively waiting for lookahead to just "naturally come along", you are limiting the rate at which you can improve. It's not just about "learning to look ahead," it's "learning to look ahead at a faster turn speed than you could before," and this more specifically-stated goal is definitely something that can be actively trained. Say you can successfully lookahead during F2L at 3tps, but no more. So you do a solve around, say, 3.5 TPS, actively attempt to lookahead, and can't because you are turning too fast. Then you keep doing more solves still turning this fast, not being able to lookahead very smoothly, until you start to realize that it is getting easier. Then, ta-da, you have learned to lookahead at this higher turnspeed by intentionally trying to do something that was difficult for you. I would call that training. This is where the idea of metronome-training for F2L came from, though the metronome is really just a tool to replace (make up for) your own (lack of) ability to focus.
 

TDM

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My question, how can I get faster at 2x2 and 4x4 at the same time.
scramble your 4x4 like a 2x2, your 4x4 times will drop to about 10 seconds and by solving it like a 2x2 you'll improve your 2x2!
Practise 4x4, and when you get bored of that practise 2x2, and when you're bored of that practise 4x4 etc.
 
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