In my opinion, site reading skills, search techniques and good metal detecting equipment make all the difference in this great hobby.
These three things help each other and will lead to a successful treasure hunt more often than not.
I learned my site reading skills while scouring tidal river banks for old bottles and clay pipes in England, using good metal detecting equipment and the right search techniques help me to find what I am searching for.
Just showing up to metal detect and hoping to get lucky is not an option in my book, its not an option in any of my books lol
You learn site reading skills every time you search a site and every time you detect and recover something at a site.
Unfortunately, beginners often do not realize at the time how important certain things are during a hunt until many years later.
For example, leaving a really productive area with a plan to return and hit it later. Or not recognizing the importance of an uncovered object or exposed layer at a site.
Take notice of the site and ground conditions present during every recovery, the detected target depth and the matrix the recovered target came out of.
All of these things are probably going to be the reasons you have a chance of recovering something similar in the future at the same site.
When you detect targets you are searching for it tells you that the metal detector you are using is the right tool for the job, especially if you can recover a variety of size targets at various depths.
You made the right choice of equipment and search techniques and you are learning how to read a site, even if you do not think you are.
The learning experience that is metal detecting all comes together when you take note of where you find stuff, the conditions present at the time you found stuff and what equipment helped you to be successful.