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Aaargh - Developing Muscle Memory Is So Hard

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Milestone Just hit 30 WPM average in typeracer.
Started the day doing very bad/cold on typeracer. Went from 29 WPM down to 25 WPM.OUCH.

Decided to go back to basics.

Went over to Sensetype and did 11 lessons.
Shorted the characters to 100 and did lesson 1-2 times depending on whether I was over 20wpm.
Then played 1 game of meteor, on average setting, after each lesson.

Came back to typeracer and started to get scores in the 30s. Finally hit average of 30 WPM and I'm done for the day.

I sure hope that I don't start tomorrow Cold!

Last edited by TwoLeftThumbs (05-Feb-2017 10:04:17)
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In the spirit of 'perfect practice makes perfect' as opposed to plain old 'practice makes perfect', I've just gone back to amphetype following a reinvigoration from misterw and dr. dre

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Milestone- Wednesday February 8 exactly 29 Days into it I just hit 33 WPM average in typeracer.

It was really tough, for two days I've been maxing out at a 32WPM average. Just couldn't get over 32wpm

The short words and common letter combos are starting to be remembered in muscle memory and this is propelling progress forwards.

I suspect that the next 7 WPM increase to 40 WPM is going to be a real biatch.

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Friday Feb 10, 31 Days since I began.
34 WPM Average in Typeracer
This is a 5 WPM increase over last week or a 17% increase

As I suspected the increase in speed is going to be much less from now on.

According to this site
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/good-typ … 71789.html
Average typing speed is 38-40 WPM
Since in typing, I'm pretty average, within a month I've worked up to be 10% below average.

My goal is modest I 'll be satisfied to hit that 38-40wpm average.

Not bad,  I've almost shaken over 40 years of qwerty habits and muscle memory in  in a month.

Last edited by TwoLeftThumbs (11-Feb-2017 04:57:24)
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Good luck! I'm confident that due to the relearning you're going through in addition to getting a better layout, you'll find yourself at 50 WPM shortly. ;-)

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another tip while learning: LOOK DOWN AT THE KEYBOARD

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hang on - isn't that the opposite of what you're supposed to do?

all hell breaks lose when I look down at my keyboard as none of my keycaps do what they say on the tin..

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bph said:

hang on - isn't that the opposite of what you're supposed to do?

all hell breaks lose when I look down at my keyboard as none of my keycaps do what they say on the tin..

Who cares what "they say" you're supposed to do. When piano players are learning, you think they don't look down?

Yes eventually you want to be able to not have to look. But while learning, there is no harm. In fact, you should probably look down until you have it so ingrained in your memory. Then practice 'visualizing' it to see if you can do it from memory. And then practice not looking

You're either practicing your mistakes, or you're practicing doing it correctly.

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misterW said:
bph said:

hang on - isn't that the opposite of what you're supposed to do?

all hell breaks lose when I look down at my keyboard as none of my keycaps do what they say on the tin..

Who cares what "they say" you're supposed to do. When piano players are learning, you think they don't look down?

Yes eventually you want to be able to not have to look. But while learning, there is no harm. In fact, you should probably look down until you have it so ingrained in your memory. Then practice 'visualizing' it to see if you can do it from memory. And then practice not looking

You're either practicing your mistakes, or you're practicing doing it correctly.

If I look down to the keyboard and legend matches the keys I just unconsciously start hunt-and-peck.
Your recommendation doesn't work also because for me "visualization" is QWERTY but "touch typing" is Colemak. I never learned how to touch type in QWERTY and not planning to.

Last edited by ckofy (14-Feb-2017 20:34:06)
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i'll have to respectfully disagree with misterw on this one. If one is attempting to learn colemak on a keyboard where the keycaps are still qwerty, to look down at the keyboard, O, that way madness lies..

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Lol if you think that I meant you should look down at the wrong letters on your keycaps, you have serious misunderstandings. Same with visualization.

You people would learn Colemak 100x faster if you actually put the correct letters on your keycaps and actually looked at it. But who cares anyway. Do what you like

Last edited by misterW (15-Feb-2017 03:38:28)
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When I learn a new piano piece, I don't look at the keys. I'm busy looking at the notes! :-) I don't think I've looked at the piano keys since I was an absolute newb. Maybe in the very beginning it's okay.

Similarly, after a little while I found that I preferred to have an on-screen or by-screen layout helper image instead of looking at the actual keys. PKL has a neat on-screen image (that I've customized).

Last edited by DreymaR (15-Feb-2017 13:54:43)

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While I agree with the consensus that in general it's best to avoid looking at the keys, I do think where misterW has a point is this: while you are learning, having the keys incorrectly labelled may hinder the learning process. Even if you are supposed to not look at the keys, I think you are bound to from time to time. Also I think it helps, psychologically, to know that your keys have the correct labels. When I was learning, I used temporary stickers for this reason.

Learning a new layout is hard enough already, so anything you can do that helps you feel more comfortable with it, is to be welcomed.

Last edited by stevep99 (15-Feb-2017 14:20:24)

Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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I would agree that having correct letters on keycaps will give a peace of mind.
I actually passes through Tarmak looking to relabled keycaps, that was my way to learn Colemak and do not affect productivity at work. Because I never touch typed in qwerty, there was no other use of Tarmak for me.
But here is the problem, having correct Colemak labels you start to forget qwerty. I've switched my phone to Colemak as well, and after couple month found out that I'm not so fluent in qwerty "visualizing" any more, so I've switched it back.
Not been fluent in qwerty in this qwerty world would be treated as a professional incompetency.

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incorrectly labelled keys is a huge nuisance, but sometimes a necessary evil

sometimes you can't physically move keycaps how you want them

sometimes it beggars up other things, like the fn layer on my minila

I'm strongly considering getting a set of filco blanks

but then there are instances, i.e. typing passwords and odd shortcuts where you sometimes need a visual cue

its not super easy getting a set of colemak keycaps, i.e. you have to go massdrop  or somesuch

all in all - its a non-trivial problem

(stickers aren't the long term answer either)

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DreymaR said:

When I learn a new piano piece, I don't look at the keys. I'm busy looking at the notes! :-) I don't think I've looked at the piano keys since I was an absolute newb. Maybe in the very beginning it's okay.

if you already know where the keys are, then fine. this guy is typing at 30wpm. what do you think he is? an absolute newb. he will improve loads by looking down and ingraining muscle memory that way.

davkol said:

lol, no.

Memorizing the layout is only a minor part of learning to type on a keyboard. As Gentner noted, each keystroke is affected by multiple preceding/following keystrokes. That's all about muscle memory.

yes, and creating muscle memory is a lot easier when you can SEE the preceding/following keys that you need to press, instead of having to remember where they are first. i'm relearning to use left index for qwerty 'c'. you think i don't know where 'c' is on qwerty? of course i do. but i need the muscle memory for the other keys as you mentioned: ce, cr, ct, cv, bc. looking down helps me ingrain many repetitions of that, mistake-free. if i dont look, i just practice ingraining my mistakes. bad. in a short period, then i no longer have to look

not looking while learning is putting the cart before the horse. its like saying, "basketball players don't look at the ball when they dribble it, so don't look down!" duh: eventually you want to get to that point. but if your hands/wrists dont have the coordination yet, you better be looking down. then once you are at a certain level, THEN you practice not looking.

Last edited by misterW (15-Feb-2017 17:12:31)
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I do not think that looking to the keys correlates with touch typing technique. You cover the home and bottom row with your fingers most  of the time while touch typing, to see the legend you have to rise hands from the home row, which creates bad habit. Also, not looking to the keyboard allows to concentrate to the screen or the text you type.
I unconsciously start hunt and peck with 4 fingers when I see the keys.
I know that it is possible to type 130 wpm with two fingers, but I'm always curious how fast these people could perform if they do not share their attention between screen and keyboard.

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I guess dakvol would have brand new piano players learn the piano by placing a cover over their hands so they can never look down at the piano keys either.

Just lol.

As a self proclaimed long term keyboard hobbyist who types at 60wpm, you may want to be less rigid about your stances regarding getting better at typing.

I'm 100% certain that you too would get better if you spent some time looking down while practicing. At your ability, there's no where to go but up. It can't hurt to try, can it? But then you may have to come back and admit that it actually works to help you get better.

Last edited by misterW (15-Feb-2017 21:22:46)
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At the beginning I didn't look at the keyboard at all, I printed a Colemak layout and taped it to my monitor. Since most keys are
covered by my hands. I needed to use the diagram because my knowledge of key placement was nil. You can't see through your Fingers.

As I progressed I've used the diagram less and I do occasionally look at the keyboard. Now I don't use the diagram at all. As I have almost everything in
memory.

At the office I switched the keys. At home where my Computer is shared I put Colemak stickers on the keyboard. This is especially useful for the symbol placement.
My goal is not to look at the keyboard and I hardly do.

But I've found it useful to look at it when I type my first letter or letters. Seems like I'm always cold on my first letters and than I warm up.

My advise: Use a diagram at the beginning and when necessary look at the keyboard. But the goal is to do all from memory and not use charts or the keyboard.

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I never felt the need to put a diagram on the monitor. I know where the keys are. The layout is getting learned in a first week or so. Problem is not to remember where is the key, but to press it correctly without seen, that exact key, not the neighbor one and not in between of keys, and do it quickly.

Last edited by ckofy (16-Feb-2017 00:01:37)
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ckofy said:

I never felt the need to put a diagram on the monitor. I know where the keys are. The layout is getting learned in a first week or so. Problem is not to remember where is the key, but to press it correctly without seen, that exact key, not the neighbor one and not in between of keys, and do it quickly.

With respect, your memory and typing skills are probably better than mine.
Possibly you  forget how hard the first weeks were.
I'm just Joe average mediocre typist and the needs of an average or below average typist may be different than a superior caliber typist.

I never could have learned Colemak at the beginning without a chart (easier)
and didn't mark the keys until my second week.
.

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Wednesday Update,
Wow once I hit 34 WPM on Friday every letter up in typeracer is an extreme struggle.
Finally I hit 36 WPM yesterday and 37 WPM today.

It took   two  days to go from 34 to 35.
another two days to go from 35  to 36
And next day 37.

I think tomorrow I have to go back to basics if I'm going to reach 40wpm+
going back to basics mean doing a typing test from first lesson to last and playing Meteor on Senselang.

One of the pitfalls of typing tests is the danger of making the same error over and over again.
thus reinforcing the errors.

Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!


On a different note I've noticed is that even though I'm practicing hours a day along with my
regular office typing,  I'm not feeling finger or hand strain.
Colemak is truly easier on the hands than QWERTY

Last edited by TwoLeftThumbs (16-Feb-2017 04:36:47)
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misterW said:

As a self proclaimed long term keyboard hobbyist who types at 60wpm, you may want to be less rigid about your stances regarding getting better at typing.

I'm 100% certain that you too would get better if you spent some time looking down while practicing. At your ability, there's no where to go but up. It can't hurt to try, can it? But then you may have to come back and admit that it actually works to help you get better.

Down, boy? ;-) We're discussing a matter here, not attacking each other. The kind of cockiness I'm perceiving in the above is counterproductive. You cannot with certainty say what would help Davkol pick up speed, and your suggestion is therefore mere conjecture. And a needlessly belligerent one at that. Surely there's no need or use for that?

As for your claim, I'd guess that someone staying at ~60 WPM for a while won't in fact likely benefit from a visual aid. When I typed at that speed (I'm not that much faster now, 60–75 WPM is my normal speed range), I knew perfectly well where each key was positioned! I've been there both with QWERTY, Dvorak and Colemak so I guess I should know. What made me faster from that point, was training (while looking at the screen). In particular, normal typing and Amphetype.

Last edited by DreymaR (16-Feb-2017 13:58:43)

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TwoLeftThumbs said:

Wednesday Update,

[...]

One of the pitfalls of typing tests is the danger of making the same error over and over again, thus reinforcing the errors.

Nice progress, Thumbs! Looking good.

A tip about the error reinforcing: I've taught myself to delete errors with Ctrl+Back (which can be typed easily using Extend+T+O!) so the whole word with the error is deleted and I have to type it again in its entirety! This may actually be faster in many cases, as you don't have to mash the Back button the right number of times and then pick up mid-stream. It feels easier on the brain.

But more importantly, it enforces typing that word correctly! So if you mistype certain words a lot, you'll at least end up typing them correctly once for each mistake, and your last typing experience of those words will always be typing them right! I believe you may need more drilling to actively unlearn an error pattern if it's become ingrained, but I think this trick may help you along the way at least!

Last edited by DreymaR (16-Feb-2017 10:01:26)

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can i second the motion - the colemak forum is a pleasant, respectful online environment with plenty of positive outcomes

lets aim to keep it that way

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