Every cuber’s dream is to become a speedcuber and so was mine. Are you dreaming of being in the top 5 cubers nationwide? Do you see yourself playing against national record holders? I too did when I started cubing. And today it is a reality and I am one of the top 10 cubers in India.
However, when I pursued speedcubing I was not provided with a platter of essentials for becoming one. Over the years I learned through experience and today I'd like to share the key essentials to becoming a speedcuber. There are a lot of algorithms, tricks, and techniques that you can learn to solve a Rubik’s cube. While learning to solve a Rubik’s cube is essential, there is much more to getting yourself ready to zoom your way into competitions.
In this blog, I am sharing with you the essentials - gadgets and techniques that will help you in embarking on your journey in speedcubing.
i. A decent 3x3 Rubik's Cube
MoYu RS3M 2020 3x3 (Magnetic)
Beginners typically buy cubes from local stores which are generally used for casual solving. To become a speed cuber one must invest in a good speed cube. A good speed cube will make the learning process a whole lot more fun.
Characteristics of a good cube
- Good corner cutting which makes the cube easier to turn
- The layers are not hard to move, which makes you build good finger tricks right from the beginning.
- They have magnets that click into layers so the cuber need not worry about turning accuracy. Even the fastest speedcubers use magnetic cubes which is a testament to how good they really are.
I would recommend the MoYu RS3M 2020 3x3 (Magnetic) to anyone who wants to become a speedcuber as it is budget-friendly and performs very well.
When you transition to a speedcuber, it is always good to explore different brand speed cubes (GAN, MoYu, QiYi, etc) and lock into the one as your main cube that best suits your fingering skills and flexibility. Always remember to clean your cube from dust regularly so it does not affect your performance. Once you get friendly with your speed cube you can improve its performance by trying different lubricants and customizing it, so that it gears up for your speed rush.
CSTimer - It is an online timer where you can time your solves. This will help you to analyze and track your progress. It shows your average of 5,12 and even 100. Cstimer provides both WCA and non-WCA scrambles. You can analyze your performance trends through different statistics and charts offered by cstimer.
Cube Timer - it is a physical timer which is used in WCA competitions. This will help you to simulate the competition environment.
Lubricants - These will make your cube much smoother and faster which enhances the cube’s overall performance.
Mat - This will prevent scratches from appearing in your cube.
2. Algorithms and Techniques
i. Beginner method - The beginner’s method is the basic method that one needs to learn by default for solving a Rubik's cube. With this method, you can clock sub-30 seconds solves.
ii. Finger tricks - Finger tricks are defined as how you move your fingers to turn the cube. Good finger tricks are the key to executing algorithms well.
iii. Color Neutral - Being color neutral means that one can start the solve on any color ie. make the cross on any color. If you are just starting cubing, then I insist you start solving on all colors. The more you get used to non-color neutrality the harder it gets to switch to color neutral. I myself have been practicing to get color neutral recently.iv. Advanced method - After getting pretty good with the beginner’s method, you should start learning advanced methods like cfop, rouz, and zz. World-class cubers also use one of these three methods. I personally use the most popular one-cfop. When you start to learn this method you will be much slower than when you use the beginner’s method but trust me once you practice a lot you will be probably about 10 seconds faster than the beginner’s method!!
3. Practice and Improve
i. Practicing on your own - Self practice is one of the best ways to excel. You will be much more focused than when you are cubing together with friends which will make your solving times much better. It is also the best way to judge your performance against your previous session. To become a speedcuber, fix a timeslot of 2 hours a day or 200 to 300 solves a day. You can make it more interesting by listening to your favorite upbeat music as you solve the cube. Remember this is allowed only when practicing but not in competitions :)
ii. Practicing with friends - Practicing with friends is the most fun way of cubing. You get to know a lot from others which will be helpful to improve your performance. You can use letscube.net for these sessions. This website will provide scrambles common to all. Personally, I got an opportunity to be coached by most of the top cubers in India through these sessions.
iii. Participation in events - Participating in events is the best way to assess your progress. There are several online competitions that are free of cost. Cubelelo speedcubing unlocked has played a key role in my journey to become a speedcuber. Never fear or hesitate to take part in unofficial/official competitions. WCA website tracks your single best and average across all the official competitions you participate in.
That makes it to the end and here are the speedcubing essentials on a platter for you. Hope the blog is helpful and thank you for reading till the end. All the best for your speed cubing journey.
- Ashwin Narendran