This thread almost turned into a ''who can land in the wind the best'' session, or I can pee farther than you can.
Some key things that helped me so much during my learning to be a better pilot was:
1. Do as much research as you can and learn as much as possible.
2. Choose what you really want to do as each person's advice is usually based on their ''style'' of flying and may not be acurate.
3. Don't take one person's advice over the rest until you have proven it to be the best advice in your situation.
4. Make sure you have a well balanced and mechanically trimmed out airplane, then get all radio trim correct, even the thrust for your style of flying makes a difference.
5. Fly your aiplane enough to know every characteristic about it. I have seen pilots fly planes that folks would not think would do the things they can do with them because they have logged the stick time and know their airplane.
6. Have some sort of plan even it is a plan to just burn up the sky having fun. It is like this, if you never use the rudder and don't have a plan to, you never will - get the point? Plan to do things it brings more fun into it.
7. Don't let others discourage you about what you can do. After all they are not you and this is about you becoming a better pilot.
8. Totally enjoy this hobby as it can give you loads and loads of fun and rewards.
A side note for those interested - no you don't have to crash all the time, whoever said or teaches that is totally full of it and should think about what they are saying to fellow flyers. I just don't get why folks say you will crash, expect it to happen. Some say if you don't crash you are not flying and that is bull hocky too.
I know guys that have flown thousands of times with minimal if any mis-haps. Yes, sometimes it happens by a freak accident - that is a given. I have flown over a thousand flights myself with hardly any mis-haps and at times I have been extremely agressive in my flying.
One guy I know logs every flight and has over 1700 flights now and such a small amount of failures it is almost unreal. I have watched him fly often. His secrets? One thing is that he keeps his planes and equipment in tip top shape by replacing parts before they becomd potential failure points and doing good inspections. He is maticulous but it reduces his risk of crashing and is evident in his large amount of flights.
I have learned much by observing his methods and I have reduced my failure rates by becoming more aware of problem areas. We can learn from others and we can also learn bad habits from others which usually lead to problems.
Hope this is good info for someone out there[8D]