My advice here is to first buy a cheap toy with flight characteristics close to the quadcopter you will build. You need to realize that crashing your full size quadcopter might cost you every single time the price of this toy. It worths it to train and experiment to the extremes with a cheap and very hard to break toy.
I bought this one: Hoverdrone by Tech Team at Toys r Us for less than $100 but a lot of clones are based on this same platform and are even cheaper like the WLtoys V212/V222 or UDI U818A.
Have fun training with it, the rough steps I took to improve my piloting skills were :
- Hop it vertically to get a sense of the throttle
- Hop from point to point with it facing away from you
- Start to put it in the sensitive mode (this will be what you'll have on your definitive model)
- Push the limits on going fast towards a wall, and tilt it quickly to stop close.
- Outdoor : go up, cut the throttle, try to recover
- Start to train with the face to the left or to the right (10 o'clock / 2 o'clock then 9 o'clock / 3 o'clock)
- Start to train with it facing you (8, 4, 5, 7 then 6), here imagine you are balancing a stick to intuitively get the correct reactions.
- Try to make coordinated move : rudder + stick left/right
- Throw it in the air spinning, recover the situation (if possible ;) )
You'll have plenty of time to play with your toy waiting for your parts coming from possibly far away. Let's see what we need.