white puzzle pieces for speed puzzle practice from The Missing Piece Puzzle Company
May 17, 2023

Optimizing Your Speed Puzzle Experience: Planning, Preparation, and Training

Speed puzzling has gained immense popularity among puzzle enthusiasts worldwide. To optimize your speed puzzle experience and elevate your performance in competitions, here are some valuable planning and preparation tips.

First, diversify your puzzle piece counts to challenge yourself. Time your performance with different counts like 100, 300, 500, 1000, and 1500 pieces, gradually increasing the difficulty level. This approach enhances your adaptability and quick thinking skills.  

Next, explore various puzzle cut patterns such as ribbon, grid, random, or with  puzzles with a consistent shape. If you're not sure what each of these puzzle pattern types are, a quick google search can help define them and familiarize them.  Each pattern presents unique challenges and improves your ability to recognize and connect pieces efficiently.  Knowledge is power.

Embracing different puzzle styles like landscape, collage, gradient, photo, and different art and artists is crucial. Mastering diverse styles enhances your overall puzzle-solving skills and prepares you for a variety of challenges.  While everyone tries to avoid the puzzles with similarly colored pieces, this is the time to conquer your fears and give them a try.

Familiarize yourself with many puzzle brands as well. Each brand has its distinct characteristics that can influence your speed and strategy. Keep a record of the brands you've tried and note your performance with each.  If you find one brand slowing you down, concentrate on where and why and try to improve with that brand.  Many puzzle competitions will ask the industry leaders to donate puzzles, so be sure to practice with them first.

Maintaining a speed puzzling log is essential. Track your efforts and results meticulously, allowing you to identify areas for improvement and monitor your progress over time.  You'll be surprised at how fast you can improve with the right tools (puzzles). Take notes of what works with a particular brand, type, and cut of puzzle so that you can reference the information to use for improvement.

Engaging with the speed puzzling community is highly beneficial. Connect with fellow enthusiasts to find swap partners, practice companions, teammates, and challengers. Sharing tips, strategies, and experiences enriches your speed puzzle-solving journey.

Participating in both in-person and online speed puzzling events is highly recommended. These contests provide valuable experience and expose you to competitive environments, ultimately sharpening your skills and fostering personal growth.  Many groups advertise and notify members of events in advance.  Doing a search locally, as well as on social media sites is beneficial to finding groups.

To gain further insights and techniques, watch contest videos from reputable sources such as the World Jigsaw Puzzle Federation, the USA Jigsaw Puzzle Association, and join groups that are dedicated to speed puzzling. Observing experienced competitors will offer valuable strategies and efficient techniques.  Learning from the best will enhance your skill level.

Devote practice time to mastering the crucial "flip & sort" stage at the beginning of puzzle-solving. This involves swiftly flipping the puzzle pieces right-side up while sorting the edge pieces. Focus on improving speed and accuracy during this critical phase.  I love to flip and sort the edge pieces and group by color.  Each person is different, and each technique may not be for all.  Find your comfort zone, practice, and improve.

If you know the brand being used in an upcoming contest, prioritize practicing with puzzles from that specific brand. Familiarize yourself with its characteristics to gain an edge in the competition.

Alternate between practicing speed puzzling alone, with a partner, and as part of a team of four. Collaborative practice enhances communication and coordination skills, while solo practice allows you to refine individual techniques and concentration.

Experiment with different genres of background music to find what energizes you and aids your concentration. Classical music may enhance focus, while fast-tempo music might increase your pace. Determine the music that optimally complements your speed puzzling performance.  If you are used to puzzling alone, getting used to distractions will help in a competition.

By incorporating these planning, preparation, and practice strategies into your speed puzzling routine, you'll develop a well-rounded skill set, increase your efficiency, and boost your chances of success in competitions. Remember to enjoy the process and embrace the community spirit of speed puzzling.
Try our white puzzles for practice:  We offer a 320 piece white puzzle that's a bear to assemble...  GET IT HERE!
Puzzle on, puzzlers.