(Transcript from video)
Today we are going to talk about what to do to transition from being a beginner to intermediate cuber. Now those terms are a bit vague and everyone will have a different idea as to what a “beginner” is and what an “intermediate” cuber is.
I am going to consider a beginner as someone who can solve a cube uses layer-by-layer method and is around 25-seconds or slower in times. This will be focusing on transitioning from Layer-By-Layer method to CFOP/Fridrich method. Of course you can use Roux or another method as well but we’ll leave that for another day.
Lets start at the cross. Now there are two things that you should be working on once you start solving the cross. The first one is to figure out what you need to do to solve it and do that without looking at the pieces. It may take awhile to figure out what you are going to do, and you might need to work on solving two cross pieces without looking followed by the other two cross pieces until you get better at memorizing the pieces. The second thing is to start solving the cross on the bottom layer. You will need to flip the cube over if you solve the cross on top which doesn’t take too much time but it prevents you from finding other pieces for the F2L stage until it is flipped. If you solve the cross on bottom and get to the point where you are solving it without needing to look at the pieces you can start tracking the pieces for F2L.
For F2L, most likely if you are using a beginner method you are going Layer-By-Layer (LBL) where you insert the corner and then do an algorithm to insert the edges. One thing you can do is keyhole method that I went over in the last video and you can find a link in the description on how that works. What you should be working on next is inserting the corner and edges at the same time with F2L. What I did was learn a few algorithms, but it didn’t feel like they were algorithms, but instead just was what you do to insert the pair. For example, I first worked on learning how to manipulate the way pieces were facing. As long as you still have at least one corner unsolved you can bring it up, spin the top layer and bring it back down without messing up any solve F2L pairs or the cross. This was a very slow process at first, but really helped me understand how the cube worked and how to manipulate the pieces. What I would do is get the corner piece in top layer with the bottom color facing the side and put the matching edge in the top layer as well. If the two top colors were matching I would pair them up intuitively and insert it with either R U’ R’ or L’ U L depending on which side it was on. If the top colors were opposite I would put the corner on the front side with the edge on the back, line the corner up with where it needs to be inserted and again either do R U’ R’ or L’ U L depending on which side it was on.
Now there are some algorithms that I learned from other videos, and of course there will be much shorter and better ways of inserting the F2L pair than what you will do when first figuring out how to do it intuitively, but it will come with time and personally I feel much more rewarding than just trying to learn one algorithm after another.
Speaking of learning one algorithm after another, let’s talk about the last layer. What you might be doing at this point is making a cross on the top layer and then flipping each corner with the algorithm R’ D’ R D. Now when I first did that it took me awhile to realize is that you need to move the top layer and not the entire cube as you do that algorithm. Also you will do the algorithms either 6 or 12 times total. There are a lot of possibilities for the cube to be in, but there are also patterns like that you will see.
The next step with this is to learn 2-look OLL and 2-Look PLL. There are not a ton algorithms and some are quite similar. After that it would be learning 1-Look PLL, and end with 1-Look OLL. I put them in that order just because 1-Look OLL has the most algorithms. Learning 2-Look is not delaying 1-Look since the algorithms in 2-Look are used in 1-Look when you have that specific OLL or PLL pattern. Now, there are multiple algorithms for each case and honestly, reading the notation made it hard for me to really visualize what was going on. CrazyBadCuber has a great video where he is going over the algorithms in slow motion which helped me the most.
Now instead of just going over every single algorithm, try to figure some out intuitively. For example I found that doing a certain move known as the “sexy move” in-between F and F’ allowed me to solve some OLLs and brought me back to the start after 6 moves. Here is an OLL case that is F (R U R’ U’) F’, F (R U R’ U’)2x F’, F (R U R’ U’)3x F’, the only issue you might find like I did is that I then taught myself to solve this F (R U R’ U’)4x F’, instead of doing the easier reverse of it F (U R U’ R’)2x F’ and this F (R U R’ U’)5x F’, instead of the reverse F (U R U’ R’) F’.
Now like I said, don’t get bogged down with trying to memorize the notation in your head, or worried about having to memorize them all. What will happen is that it will get into your “muscle memory” and although you might not know the notation though letters your fingers will be able to do the algorithm. Think of it as being able to type a word either on a keyboard or a phone without actually thinking about what letters are in it, the fingers just move to them because you have done it so often. It took me months to get the main algorithms for OLL an PLL down, and that was with constant daily work going through a few algorithms repeatedly. Don’t rush it, people learn things at different rates, and some learn better with written algorithms while other like me seem to learn better with visual assistance like videos.
Now the biggest factor. No matter what anyone says will make you faster, it is not a specific cube, or a specific step, it is practice. Don’t forget to have fun. Your goal should not be to break a record. If you do, awesome, but striving to be the “best” might only lead to frustration towards something that should be enjoyable. Practice will increase your muscle memory, your finger speed, as well as your control over the cube. I still have fun finding and looking up new algorithms. Some OLL cases I have multiple algorithms for in order to skip some or all of the the PLL step, so there is always more to learn and enjoy.
Don’t worry about how fast or slow your times progress, don’t worry about what other people think is fast or not. This is how I progressed from just picking up a cube and taking about 5 minutes to solve it to now solving just over 10 seconds and still getting faster. I don’t get frustrated when I cannot beat my record times because they are just that, they are records. I cube for the joy of solving a puzzle that keeps bringing more surprises. This video turned into a but of a motivational speech, but I see many people daily on the forums and Facebook groups asking how to get better stating that they are stuck when most of the time it is besides these steps which helped me, patience and practice is what is truly necessary.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below. For those that are starting out feel free to ask questions, and for those that are a bit more advanced what helped you the most?
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