Scramble: R2 F2 L2 D' B2 D' R2 F2 U B2 U2 L' D R' U2 B' F U' B' R2 L2
I got a PLL skip at the end and only had to do a 2x AUF after OLL.
I have been struggling to permanently break through the sub-30 barrier for months, some days I'd have a good session that is barely sub-30, sometimes I'll average like 32 seconds, it all depends.
I tried to learn full PLL a couple times but got frustrated at the hit my average was taking, and with an upcoming competition I didn't want to go through the process of getting fast at all the new PLL algs. So I continued using what I guess I'd call 4LLL and a half.... I use 2-look OLL, and all PLLs except E, and the Rs, Vs, Gs, and Ns. So it wasn't learning full PLL that cut my times... so what was it?
I've been thinking about learning some tricky F2L case algorithms.... but I didn't.
I've been meaning to do some slow solves and try to practice looking ahead... but I haven't.
Something in my brain just clicked a few days ago, and suddenly I'm a better cuber. For the last 3 days I've been shedding 1 second off my average each day, and I expect to be sub-25 by the end of this week now. These are the kinds of gains I haven't made since my early days of cubing.
I have however, probably been doing about 4x as many solves per day as normal. This is the answer... PRACTICE! If you are above 30 second average and wondering what you need to do to improve, looking for complex new things to learn, special training techniques.... adjusting the tension of your cube thinking it will make a difference... learning full OLL... don't.... just practice your butt off!
When my times suddenly plummeted, I laughed. I didn't feel like I did anything differently, I didn't feel like I was trying any harder, I hadn't learned anything new... it just kind of happened. I laughed at how simple it seemed, and how bad I must have been before to not realize how easy it was. All that stuff I thought I needed to learn to improve, I didn't.... it's all just F2L. You can F2L your way down to sub-20. You don't even need to be efficient at F2L, I'm still horribly inefficient and I can see where the inefficiencies are while I'm doing it. I just don't take a 1+ second pause between every single pair any more. I can see how horribly inefficient my 3-5 second cross is. These things aren't even my priority any more, because I know there is so much more to learn before I need to get to that point. I'm not even going to bother learning the rest of PLL until I get as close to sub-20 as possible.
What has contributed to my sudden drop in time I wouldn't even call look-ahead, it's more just like prediction and awareness. My brain is automatically ruling out places I don't need to look, so I only have to check 1 or 2 places for the piece I need. Stuff is just automatically pairing itself up without me thinking about it any more.
This reminds me of one of the most popular guides available for the PC game Dota 2, called Welcome to Dota 2, You Suck.
The realization I had when I laughed to myself, is that I suck at cubing, and I'm okay with that. This isn't to put anyone else down... solving the cube in itself is a big accomplishment and you should be proud at whatever your goal is. But if you want to be a world class cuber, then you need to realize that currently, you are awful.
I thought I was getting decent at cubing when I got sub-1minute.... I wasn't... I sucked. I was only slightly better than people off the street who have never solved a cube in their lives. After 9 months, I still suck... my 3x3 official average is ranked over #17,000 in the world. I suck so much, that I cannot currently even conceptualize how much I suck... but I know later it will seem so obvious in retrospect. But this is great, because once you realize you suck, you can work to improve it. I know I won't even be an average cuber until I'm sub-20... this isn't just me being hard on myself, pull up the results from any competition and you will see that you need a sub-20 average to even make it halfway up the list. Only once I'm sub-20 can I even start to work on becoming a good cuber. Everything before that is basics and baby steps. This PB of 15.77 that I posted, a lot of you reading this have global averages better than that. 15.77 might be a disappointingly bad solve to you where you got really unlucky and messed something up. To me that's funny.
Again, in no way am I encouraging you to tell other people that they suck... I think we should be encouraging each others accomplishments. But if you want to be the best, then you need to be honest with yourself.