Practice is one of the most important components needed to improve at anything. Speedcubing is no exception to this and relies heavily on practicing for multiple reasons, such as improving recognition, muscle memory, solution efficiency, and getting faster by doing. Through regular practice, speedcubers tend to become better at turning and recognizing cases that would otherwise not come firsthand to them.
All this is good in theory but the harsh reality of the situation is that most people don’t practice in the right way, causing them to see lower levels of improvement over time. This leads to demotivation and loss of interest, which could even cause one to stop cubing! Getting faster and climbing up the ladder of rankings is something that takes practice, dedication, and perseverance!
So, let’s get into the crux of this blog. The main goal of more efficient practice techniques is to recognize your bad habits and actively work on them as you keep solving them. It is far more important to work on fixing your bad habits in the long run, since you’d only be strengthening your good ones and ignoring the bad ones until then. Also, you may end up reinforcing certain habits you don’t even know are bad and commit them to muscle memory, making them very hard to get rid of.
What Should You Do?
Here are some ways in which you can mitigate these habits and work towards getting faster, helping you feel more motivated in the long run as well.
Turn slower to get faster? What does this even mean? If this question pops into your head, you’re not alone. It is hard to understand, but turning slower actually helps you to understand the importance of having efficient solutions. By turning slower, you allow your brain to capture each moment of your solve and understand how it processes the solution.
Also, turning slower helps you to pause less and be more smooth in your execution. This means that you also work on improving your turning accuracy and finger tricks, which is an added bonus to improving your solution efficiency. Once you get comfortable without pausing at a certain solve speed, you can try pushing it up a notch and turning slightly faster, because your definition of ‘slow’ is now slightly better.
With this, you will start to see improvement really quickly, making slow turning an underrated technique to get faster.
Untimed solves don’t even have to be at your normal cubing location, say your desk or the living room. You could be absolutely anywhere, but whipping out a puzzle and solving it can help with practicing without the constraint of a timer running. This is the whole idea, to remove the pressure of thinking about your solve time.
This helps by clearing out your thoughts to help you focus on solving, at any speed you wish, and eventually facilitates better turning and figuring out creative ideas for random cases! In fact, most algorithms at one stage that are intuitive can be found just based on discovery through untimed solves, since you just stumble upon them at times.
Recording Your Solves
This may be the toughest one to incorporate into your cubing practice routine. Recording solves, in any way possible, and watching them back after is the best direct evidence to see which aspects can be worked upon and improved. Even if you do this once every few practice sessions, it is very beneficial and really does wonders for rapid improvement.
Explaining Your Solutions To Others
Communicating your ideas and thoughts to others who you are comfortable with is a crucial part of improvement. By doing this, you can get feedback from those that are faster than you and may end up helping someone who isn’t quite at your level yet. It can be a great two-way benefit for both people, and results in a confidence boost!
By getting constructive criticism, you learn much more quickly about where to improve and you can also take on the advice of professional cubers, considering how friendly and helpful the community is. In fact, you could also start a YouTube channel and share your solves with the public if you want to, making your feedback more varied, which could help out more!
Explore 3x3 Cubes Collection
This method is more effective for bigger and more intricate puzzles since the amount of pattern recognition is so much more. This means that the amount of repetition needed is higher, in order to improve your turning speed and execution efficiency.
However, mindless grinding is not helpful at all, and you need to be on the active lookout for places you can improve during your solves. In fact, you may find that for smaller cubes, grinding in any form ceases to help after a certain point. So, work actively on the areas that need improvement, and you will see the benefits of doing thousands of solves!
So, this is your cue to go and begin that focused practice, create a routine for yourself, and work actively on learning new things. You should aim to pinpoint the areas that need work and the points where you are tending to be inefficient during your solves. Before you know it, you will notice a learning curve beginning to develop and understand how to get faster consistently!
The beautiful thing about a learning curve is that it is exponential, and getting faster becomes harder as you get faster. However, as long as you keep your head up, the only way is forward, and that’s the best thing about speedcubing with dedicated practice!
Looking for guidance? Check out Cubelelo’s exclusive CubeXprt program here!
Akshaansh Chilakapati is a speedcuber from Hyderabad who specializes in big cubes. He started cubing when he was 15 and has 5 years of cubing experience. He loves to play sports, and music and has a passion for astrophysics. He has attended 20 competitions and won a total of 64 podiums with 16 gold medals. He is also ranked 13th in India for the overall Sum of Ranks (SOR).