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Older cubers discussions

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I find it very difficult to 'see' the pieces I need for my F2L pairs as everything seems to blend. This leads to some very long gaps in what should otherwise be a smooth process as I go hunting around the puzzle. I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
 
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from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
No it doesn't actually, F2L in less than 20 seconds if you've been cubing for less than a year should be pretty obtainable. I have some friends who have only learnt to solve the cube in less than a year and they are sub-30 already.

The easiest advice to give would be to do a ton of solves. You'd naturally get better(and faster) at what you're doing. I did this for a long time, getting to about 30 seconds using a crappy easy-F2L hack I made myself when I started.

Some other advice would be watching example solves and focusing on how the person solves each F2L case. Its very hard to explain what to do to improve your F2L in a short paragraph anyway since I don't know much but these are what i use to get sub-10 F2L. Not very fast but I think my opinion still applies.
 

mark49152

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I find it very difficult to 'see' the pieces I need for my F2L pairs as everything seems to blend. This leads to some very long gaps in what should otherwise be a smooth process as I go hunting around the puzzle. I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
Age is certainly a factor. Kids can improve very quickly, but it took me (in my 40s) a year to get sub-30 then another year to get sub-20. I didn't have time to sit and solve all day every day, but I wasn't limited to a few solves per week either. I did put in a reasonable amount of regular practice to achieve that rate of progression - several thousand solves, plus a lot of targeted practice on steps like F2L and cross, and drilling algorithms.
 
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I suppose I could try that for F2L, always starting with red, blue for example, but being neutral about which F2L pair I'm going to insert first is faster, isn't it?
No that's a pretty bad technique for 3x3 i think, it works for megaminx because there are so many other pieces its hard to be 'f2l neutral', most people have a set solving route. For 3x3 you shouldn't do that, because you might be fixed on solving only one pair which may take a longer time to find if a corner or piece is in your blind spot which is what a lot of people who have bad f2l (me included) suffer from. Fluid cross-F2L transition may take a long while to do, but what I have been doing recently is tracking your first f2l pair while doing your cross slower than normal so at least the pause isn't so significant and you already tracked an f2l pair beforehand giving you even more time to work with your other f2l pairs.

I would also say to solve the blind spot first which for most people would be either the back left or right slots depending on you, i heard this from somewhere on the internet before but I'm not sure who originally said this but it helps if you can't really see it.

Blind solving F2L can help but you have to put that into use when you solve, it is good if you can solve f2l pairs blind which gives you confidence but while you solve them you should be looking and tracking a white corner or an edge. I kind of randomly got the hang of it so sometimes i can spot another f2l case while solving my first and cancel into the second one straight away without pausing.

Also look up algs for hard cases if you haven't done that yet, and watch walkthrough solves to learn some tips and tricks, try to watch ones near your skill level and not what i did, i tried to watch some advanced colour neutral walkthrough solves when i was a slowpoke and got some bad info that wasn't applicable to me.
 
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I find it very difficult to 'see' the pieces I need for my F2L pairs as everything seems to blend. This leads to some very long gaps in what should otherwise be a smooth process as I go hunting around the puzzle. I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
Some people ease into lookahead really easily, I've been rather slow developing it. Youth has a couple advantages with faster reflexes and typically more practice time but I'm still kinda slow getting my lookahead going even by "seniors standards".

I'm 51, took up speedsolving a little over 3 years ago, and my F2L has been under constant refinement along the way. Early on I intuitively generalized the cases and I've gradually become more specific in dealing with them as I've improved. I find a case or two that are slowing me down or taking too many moves, lookup or discover a better way to deal with them, get them incorporated into my solves, repeat (most cases should be 8 moves max, 11 for some exceptions). This process is still going on for me: right now my focus is cases where an edge is in the wrong slot and then I have the cases with a corner in the wrong slot to work on after that.

Blind-pair exercises are designed to help you make the execution automatic with the goal of looking for your next pair while solving the current pair. When my lookahead isn't working well it hurts me at least two ways: I'm not even looking for my next pair until I finish the one I'm solving and spotting pieces tends to be easier when they're moving vs. when you've stopped. More enlightening to me than blind pair exercises has been doing slow solves where I'm just looking at what's happening while solving a pair. Not even trying to spot the next pair, just watching things move... anything except looking at the pair itself. In my best solves that's what's going on, I just "see things" and never seem to have to look for anything. If only I could catch it and bottle it.
 
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I am by no means an expert at F2L. In fact, when I use F2L right now, it takes me about as long to solve F2L as it takes me to complete the entire puzzle using LBL, so using F2L results in times that exceed by LBL solve times by pretty much the whole last layer.

That said, I find the corners MUCH easier to spot than the edges, and I find that I spend a whole lot less time "hunting for pieces" if I find an edge that is already on top when I'm finishing my cross and then find its corner (rather than the other way around).

I am good enough at the right hand and left hand insertions that I can normally find another edge while inserting the pair. I'm not sure why I feel like this is easier, but try it. As you finish the cross, see that (for example) the red and blue edge is on top. BAM. Decision made. Where is the white - red - blue corner? For whatever reason I can normally find it instantly. Pair them up. During the R U R' or L' U' L sequence find another edge. As soon as you see it, just be done. That's your next pair. For me, that tends to make things much quicker than trying to find multiple pairs, assess which might be easiest, then execute. And for some reason it's WAY easier (for me anyway) than picking a corner that is on top then hunting all over the cube for the edge that goes with it.
 

Mike Hughey

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@openseas : Are you really going to be at the Korean Championships this weekend? Just curious how you managed to swing that.

I'll be at the Indiana competition in Fort Wayne this weekend. Life at home has been pretty hectic with 2 of my kids moving into their own apartments out of town this past week, so I haven't had the time to practice I'd like (or the time to sleep, which is really important for the BLD events!), but I guess we'll see how it goes. I will try to get some good sleep tonight, but not sure how it will go - still a lot going on. :)
 

h2f

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I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
In my opinion, age doesnt matter for being sub15.. Yes, you need few years to master your f2l, but for sub30 solves it's enough to practice and used to 41 basic cases. Of course young people has a greater ability to learn new things needed in speedcubing - like TPS - but for sub30 you dont need TPS. What kids have is a lot of free time and they can practice a lot.
 
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