Every cuber must have dreamt of being skilled in multiple WCA events to improve their sum of ranks, but when it comes to working on multiple events at the same time, most people fail to work efficiently to achieve their goals.
To improve at multiple events at the same time, one must follow a structured plan to see results. This blog will help you do so with some tips and techniques used by professionals to improve at cubing!
Practicing events that have similar algorithms and structure
Antoine Cantin, a former world record holder, and a great all-rounder used to preach the idea of practicing events that are related to each other. This technique involves practicing events that are slightly different from each other but use similar techniques and solving approaches. An example of this would be to practice 7x7 to improve at 5x5. Both of these cubes have a similar structure but the 7x7 is a bigger puzzle. Solving a 7x7 takes more focus and patience which helps a cuber's lookahead and turning. This would bring a drastic change in the approach of the cuber's 5x5 solves and would help him/her get better while practicing fewer amounts of 5x5.
Practicing megaminx and 3x3 together is also a wonderful way to improve at both events at the same time.
Megaminx can be considered as a bigger 3x3 with a ton of faces. Practicing megaminx helps to improve lookahead and turning accuracy which transfers to a cuber's 3x3 solves too. Practicing 3x3 on the other hand helps to develop high turn speed and quick recognition skills which help a cuber to solve a megaminx faster.
Therefore, combining two similar events together helps in improving at both of them at the same time. It also makes practice more fun as you get to learn a variety of new algorithms and get to learn new things about the world of twisty puzzles.
In the sport of powerlifting, athletes take a short break to recover from training to help them improve at their lifts. This is known as a de-load.
A cuber can use a similar approach to help them improve at several events. Taking breaks and focusing on technique, turning accuracy and algorithmic knowledge will help cubers improve at multiple events in the long term. This will also help a cuber's brain to recover from extensive amounts of training and practice
To not lose the flow of cubing, one must practice other side events or some other events that you're not too serious about. This will help you to stay in the zone while taking some active rest.
An example of this situation would be to practice pyraminx 2-3 days before a really important NXN competition. This will help the cuber to stay in the zone while taking a break. Doing so would refresh the mind of the cuber and help he/she perform better at the day of the competition.
Most professional cubers don't practice for long periods, instead, they use short and quick sessions with competition-style training to prepare for big competitions with multiple events. Efficient practice is one of the key things which can help a cuber improve their sum of ranks. Doing 15-minute sessions of the events one wants to improve at with competition simulation is an effective way to become fast at multiple
events. This also saves time and helps a cuber practice more events. But one must make sure that they are focused and ensure that they are giving their 100% to every solution.
Back when I was a new competitor, I used to practice for hours to get better at multiple events but after sometime I realized that even though I was practicing for hours, I wasn't giving my 100% to every solve. I wasn't paying attention to what I did and kept solving mindlessly. This really changed my approach towards cubing and life in general. I started practicing while giving my 100% to every solve and kept a track of the areas I was weak at and kept learning new things.
I also started learning new algorithms instead of solving cubes for hours. This helped me to improve a lot without investing a lot of time into actual solves.
Almost all of the new speedcubers who might read this blog are most probably not practicing as hard as they should. This is a common problem among beginners as they are new to the world of speedcubing. A tip I have for all of the newbie speedcubers out there, is to practice with proper attention and track where the pieces are going and constantly look for the next pieces for your solution. This is a game changing tip which I used to get amazing results at home and at competitions too. So, the next time you sit down to do solves, ask yourself if you're giving each and every turn your 100%. If you do so, I'm sure that you'll improve at speed cubing extremely quickly.
Keeping a target in mind is also key to improving at multiple events at the same time. You must know which events you need to prioritize and practice the hardest. Keeping a list of aims is extremely keystone if you actually want to improve your sum of ranks. Whether it's learning a new algorithm set or practicing look ahead, you must keep a proper schedule of things to allow your mind to learn everything gradually and improve at several events.
One must experiment with these techniques to find the ones that work for them. Training frequency and volume are subjective and one type of approach may not work for everyone. So, it is better to experiment and learn about yourself.
Improving at multiple events takes time and patience so one must use their time efficiently and practice smartly to improve at multiple events quickly.
Arush Singh is a speedcuber from Bhiwadi with 2 National podiums and is currently ranked 2nd in India for Megaminx. He started cubing when he was 11 and it has been almost 5 years since his cubing journey started. Along with cubing, he also loves programming and art and is also fond of conducting research. He is currently a researcher at the New York Academy of Sciences and has been awarded by Google for his research in machine learning and biomechanics. He has attended 14 competitions and has won a total of 30 podiums with 13 gold medals. He was also top 50 in the world for Megaminx in 2019.