It is important to have a structure for practice, as well as knowing what to practice. That alone can help you get faster, and this applies to any event.
In this article, I’ve covered some of my best tips to help you improve at any event.
There are two stages of improving at any event - the analysis, and the implementation. Let’s dive into both:
Cube Solve Analysis
Before you actually improve, understanding your areas of improvement is essential.
1. Start by recording 5 solves, noting down the times of each solve. This is more commonly known as an average of 5.
2. Now, take a look at your solves and at first try to figure out where you’re going wrong on your own. Make a list of what you observe, something you can refer to later on.
3. You can also get some faster cubers to take a look at your solves. This is generally a great option since they are more experienced and will understand your key weaknesses better, including some you may have overlooked yourself. This is known as solve analysis.
4. Try to take a look at solves of some cubers faster than you, or those who have already achieved the goal you are aiming for. You can find such solves on their social media handles or YouTube channels.
5. Observe and understand what they are doing better in their solves. Generally, walkthroughs and reconstructions are great for this, as they help you understand their thought process during the solution. If it is a speedsolve, use the playback speed controls on YouTube to slow down the video and help you follow the solve better.
Now that you’ve set your goals and understood your solves, here are a few tips to help actually improve using them.
This is where practice comes in. But it’s very important to have structured practice that specifically targets each weakness.
There are four components to be practised for any event - efficiency, lookahead, turning and timed solves. Though the last one is the most common form of practice, each of these is of the essence when it comes to improving.
1. For efficiency - Being efficient in your solves is about being able to form the best solutions. Efficiency can simply be practised by doing slow/untimed solves. While this method is more beneficial for bigger cubes, doing untimed solves can help in shorter events such as pyraminx and 2x2 as well.
2. It is important to note that you should focus on trying to find the best solution - one that comprises doable finger tricks and lesser moves. Target your weaknesses with this technique. Find better solutions for that F2L pair, or a way to solve that center with fewer moves. It’s all about focusing on the specifics and solving better.
3. For lookahead - practice by looking at anything but what you’re solving, and understand that as a rule. Another technique could be turning as fast as you can while maintaining lookahead, and slowly increasing the speed.
4. For turning - You can fine tune your turning by learning the most finger tricks -friendly algs, ones that suit your turning style. As for solves, focus on cube timer pickups as well as competition simulations for best results. Of course, don’t forget to do casual solves, as these are arguably the best part of practice sessions.
General Tips To Improve At Speedcubing
1. Practice religiously, like you would with any other sport. Try to allot a certain time each day for your practice sessions. Personally, I find doing 30 min sessions during parts of the day suits me best. Schedule them in a way you would schedule a workout, and only cube for that particular time. This cuts down on buffer time if you’re low on time, and helps improve your practice in general.
2. Utilise resources well. There are tons of walkthroughs and reconstructions available on Youtube for free for each event. Cubeskills is another great website that helps and guides you through getting faster at multiple events.
3. Take advantage of CsTimer’s features. Not only does cstimer come with inspection, there are other various features dedicated to each event. These include subset specific scrambles such as last layer for 3x3, last slot + last layer for megaminx and so on. Cstimer+ now also comes with a metronome tool to help with lookahead, making it much easier
4. Believe in yourself! If you hit a plateau, reach out to a cubing friend or a faster cuber. Don’t ever think you can’t do it.
In the end, it all comes down to being persistent. Stick with your goals, and the results are ought to come! All the best, and happy cubing :)