I sympathize with Leadchucker.
We all do get along! The ABQ soaring club is pretty good (but almost everyone but me is retired
E-Gliders, who cares? Launch to a few hundred feet and motor is out of the equation. Just shut it off - then we have a pure glider. Simple, right? I cut my teeth on a Radian and don't regret things a bit. A friend and I both launch to same altitude, cut the launch mechanism, and glide to see who flies longer.
Soaring is awesome. You can never achieve perfection. Always a student of the skies. My basic thermal suggestions are:
1. The airplane knows how to fly. Let it do that.
2. Don't f**k with the plane while it is doing what it does. All you have to do is point the thing in the best direction. Don't touch it until it tells you it wants to be touched (almost like a woman
3. All you have to do is put the plane in lift. Keep it there. There is no magic (although I certainly feel it is magical almost every day I get to fly).
4. Wing goes up, turn into it.
5. Hesitation will kill you. If you think there is lift, turn into that thing. If it don't pan out, no biggie, if it does, have fun at 1000'
6. There is so much literature out there - read that s**t.
I would put this at "7" but I'm not sure it is warranted. The best pilots I have seen tend to be those with full-scale experience. I think most of the advantage here is the knowledge that maintaining proper airspeed is key, regardless of attitude or apparent rise/fall rates. Just keep that speed up and DO NOT STALL. It can be hard, our meager minds [mine at least] tend to pull up when we sense getting too low, the opposite reaction is seen in seasoned pilots. Keep speed where it needs to be so "the airplane can do what it does." I struggle at times, especially low to the ground.