This is past me, on November 4th, 2022 to be precise:
My current PB is 39.93 seconds and my average solving time over the last 100 solves is 53.71 seconds
At the time of writing, my PB and average solving time over the last 100 solves stand at 27.75 seconds and 39.91 seconds respectively. This is a drop of ~13 seconds for both 🥳.
Pick up where we left off
After learning “2-look OLL” and “2-look PLL”, but still using an “advanced” beginner method, I drilled the algorithms I knew to the point where I didn't have to think about them anymore, it was all just muscle memory.
That’s where my average time dropped to ~47 seconds, but that is also where it stagnated. I already mastered the C, O, and P of CFOP, so I decided it was time to learn the F as well.
The dreaded F2L
F2L stands for “First 2 Layers” and is the step where you solve the corner and edge pieces of the first two layers with one algorithm.
F2L is the most important part of the solve. From beginner level to pro level, F2L is usually the step with the most room for improvement because it requires recognizing and tracking multiple pieces at once, while having quite a lot of freedom.
As my go-to place for cubing tutorials is J Perm’s YouTube channel, I naturally also used his tutorials to learn F2L. I started off with his “Learn F2L in 6 minutes” video:
The first solves were really slow and hard. I felt like I was back to square one as my times went back up to 1 min 30 secs.
After practicing these basic moves (top layer — pair — insert) over a short period of time, I started looking into “advanced F2L”. The tips that improved my solving speed the most were:
- Use any unsolved slot to pair
- Insert into the back
- Reduce top layer — pair — insert to pair — insert
Based on this video, I created the following reference chart on how to solve the most common F2L pairs:
It took me a long time and a lot of solves (probably 100s) before I got back to my average of 53 seconds, but when I did, my average started dropping to what it is now: 39.91 seconds.
A very good tip I read on r/cubers is to sometimes take it slow but steady.
Try to spot the pairs and solve them with the algorithm you learned, but do so in a way where you keep the same pace of turning.
In other words, don’t always try to solve your cube as fast as possible. Relax and get that muscle memory working.
How to go from here?
As F2L is probably the step where I have the most room for improvement, I’ll be focusing on this step rather than learning full OLL and full PLL.
My “look ahead” is terrible and the number of cube rotations I do, is way too high. Don’t even mention predicting the first pair during inspection… I still have a long way to go 🤓.
Currently, my goal is to get an average of 30 seconds, but we’ll see how things evolve… I’ll try to keep you guys up to date!
This approach worked for me and I think it can work for you as well, but this is certainly not the only or best “route” to learning CFOP