5 years ago
Since the Rubik’s cube was invented, people from all around the world have come together to discuss the question almost as old as the puzzle itself - “Sure, I can solve it, but what now?”. By far, the most common question that I’m asked online each day is something like this: “Hi Feliks, I’m a speedcuber who averages XX seconds, do you have any advice or tips for me?”.
Before I created CubeSkills, I was never able to give a comprehensive answer to that question, because it is different for every single person. I’ve designed this website to answer this very question and act as a self-service platform for all speedcubers wishing to improve their ability.
I’ve decided to write up this blog post to supplement the video tutorials and act as a point of reference. This overview of how to get faster is quite succinct, and in all cases, the video tutorials should be your primary source of speedcubing tips and techniques. The hardest thing about providing a general answer to this question is that I receive it from people of all different skill levels. For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll separate my advice into sections for beginner, intermediate, and advanced solvers.
Average: >60 seconds
Method: Beginner’s method
If you’re a beginner solver, improvement will come pretty easily. As you work to lower your times, think about your fingertricks and whether they are comfortable, as it’s important to avoid developing bad habits which will make your life harder later on. Take a look at my fingertricks video to assist you with this. Practice performing your algorithms, and make sure you can do them quickly without mistakes, even if that means just drilling them if you need to. I also have a series of helpful videos in the ‘Optimising the Beginner's Method’ module which cover some tips and tricks to help speed up your solves.
You’ll find a common piece of advice in all three sections, which is to simply practice. If you practice with good habits and solving techniques that I outline, you should get your solve times down to around 1 minute using the beginner’s method. You have to do the work, I can only help so much.
Last but certainly not least, become colour neutral. I believe every cuber should try to become colour neutral, and it’s far easier to do it now rather than later on. This is all probably a lot to take in, but take your time and you won’t be too overwhelmed. Once you’re ready you can move onto your next big challenge: learning F2L pairing.
Average: ~15-60 seconds
The intermediate bracket is where the majority of speedcubers sit, and can remain in for quite some time. I view the intermediate stage of cubing as the period of time you spend learning the basic CFOP method until the point at which you’re comfortable with F2L, and know all of the OLL and PLL algorithms. Throughout this stage you will develop your understanding of how pieces move around the cube and how to solve more efficiently.
When you’re learning F2L for the first time, I highly recommend learning how to solve it intuitively as per my video tutorials. It will be quite difficult to begin with, and you’ll find that doing F2L pairing in your solves will actually slow you down for a little while, so it’s important to be patient. With F2L, you really just learn by doing, and I have some example F2L videos off which you should try to model your own solves. Once you have a basic understanding of F2L, it’s again important to avoid falling into bad habits. The Intermediate Cross and F2L module is designed to ensure you stay on the right track, and highlights common mistakes as well as provides some good practice drills.
With regard to learning last layer algorithms, it’s all pretty simple, but it can certainly be a bit of a grind. Learn the PLL algorithms first, followed by the OLLs. Ensure that you learn good algorithms so that you don’t have to re-learn any along the way.
In terms of other general advice, slow untimed solves are great and help enormously to boost your lookahead and efficiency. To make casual solving most effective, ensure that you focus on reducing your F2L movecount. Try to get involved with the speedcubing community, whether that be online, or via attending competitions. And of course, watch all of the intermediate tutorials in the modules marked as intermediate, as I am able to cover specific topics in far more detail in those. Enjoy the ride.
Average: <~15 seconds
Most cubers tend to finish learning their OLLs and PLLs at around the 15 second mark, but it does vary wildly. By no means must you average 15 seconds in order to learn more beyond OLL and PLL. There is an entire new world of algorithms and F2L techniques to explore.
My high level advice at this stage would be the following: Continue to improve your F2L efficiency and lookahead (see Advanced F2L section for plenty of specific advice), learn easy algorithms from a variety of algorithm sets (including WV, VLS, COLL, OLLCP, BLE, etc.), and just practice hard. Check out all of the advanced modules on the tutorials page for all my thoughts on practicing, algorithms, and other tips and tricks.
Constantly assess your weaknesses, remembering that F2L is the most important part of the solve. Watch example solves from fast speedcubers, including the ones on CubeSkills. Your learning can definitely be less structured from this point, and you’ll find that you may discover things on your own as you improve. Above all, focused practice will help you to implement the things you learn. Watching tutorial videos will only help you to the extent that you put the advice into action.
I hope this guide was useful, and I’ll see you over in the tutorials section! If you have any questions or thoughts about this guide, feel free to shoot me an email or comment.