Speaking of lockpicking and practice, I actually have been practicing my lockpicking recently. I’ll bring a practice lock and a few picks with me to a coffeeshop or movie theater and pick away at it for small chunks of time or before the movie starts. Sometimes I will do so while watching a movie or television at home. Today I was actually able to pick 2 of my 5-pin locks pretty quickly, multiple times. And these were locks I wasn’t terribly familiar with yet. That’s a pretty big step for me!
Practicing lockpicking has allowed me to go from being a blind raker who gets lucky, to being able to better feel the matching of the pins and which ones are not yet locked. It has also given me my own ability (technique) to determine pin-counts before applying any torque and make guesses when a pin is locked too high or which one is just barely keeping the cylinder from turning.
Of note, I have a simple 21-piece lockpick set that I ordered for about $45, plus a series of practice locks that I found on ebay. I think the locks are about a total of $100, and I have 9 of them. Three of them are cut-away locks so I can actually see the pins. Two of the locks are 3 pins, the rest 5-pins, and I even have a 5-pin spool lock. I highly recommend grabbing a couple cut-away practice locks if you are just starting out, as that really helps.