What makes a person fast? The first answer that comes to mind is practice, and that is absolutely true, but the answer isn’t just limited to that. When we look at top speedcubers we notice many distinct styles of solving varying from Ruihang Xu’s fast turning to Tymon Kolasinkis’s efficient solutions. They might be two very distinct styles of solving, but achieve the same goal of getting faster solves.
Practice is obviously key to getting fast, but HOW you practice is also important. As you grow older, the time you get to spend practicing reduces, but that doesn’t mean you stop getting faster. Efficient use of your time is very important in getting fast. 1 hour of deliberate practice is often more effective than 3 hours of mindless solving.
Utilization of time
To properly make use of your time while practicing, you must identify what stage you are at in a certain event. A pretty handy graph explaining pretty much everything about our current stage of knowledge is also surprisingly accurate about cubing. When you are at a beginners level, you understand a small amount of how the cube works, but you know there are better methods in front of you, but you might be unaware of the complexity of those methods. Even for an advanced solver, there are still some things that they themselves aren’t aware of, or don’t notice.
The first key in practicing effectively, is figuring out what to do next. A good habit is to analyze your own solves, or ask someone else to help you analyze them. Comparing your solves to someone who is slightly faster than you, can give you a good idea of what to work on next. Realizing what steps need to be taken next, and working on them one step at a time is the key to getting fast fast!
Another factor in people getting faster is a driving force – specifically friends! Having friends who you compete with to get faster often motivates you to practice harder. This is especially true for me with Rushil Dalal, who is much faster than me in 3x3. Thanks to him, I have the motivation to practice, and I’ve smashed my old PRs for 3x3 and still am looking for ways to improve. Trying to find a rival or setting small goals and milestones are a great motivator to practice harder.
The final two things that could make a person fast are quite interesting and contrarian. The first one is your mindset. The mindset you have when cubing really affects how you perform. If you are obsessed with results, small slip ups weigh much heavier on your mind and can further worsen your performance. This is just a small sneak peak into what's coming in another blog about mentalities! Moving on to the second point, and often overlooked is; Luck. Luck is a major factor in getting good times, especially for events like 2x2, Pyraminx and Skewb. 3x3 and bigger cubes are also affected to some extent, but in general the faster the event is, the more luck affects it. An iconic line in the cubing community ‘Getting lucky isn't a crime’ is especially valid for this and sometimes the stars align and give you that perfect comp PB. But this doesn't mean luck can carry you all the way to being world class. Getting lucky in comps often happens to people who compete more often, and have more chances of a lucky solve, so all there is to it is to keep practicing and keep cubing!