A Javelin Drill That Was Inspired by the Karate Kid

Coach Young Athletes to “Paint the Roof”

Do you remember Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) learning to “paint the fence” in the original Karate Kid movie?

If you don’t, or never saw it, check it out sometime. The “coach” – Daniel’s teacher and karate master – Mr Miyagi – used “painting the fence”, “sanding the floor”, polishing the car (otherwise known as the classic “wax on, wax off”), etc, to ingrain basic karate blocking skills into his skeptical and increasingly impatient protege, who at the time thought he was simply doing chores.

“Paint the fence” was aimed at teaching Daniel an upper and lower blocking technique. You can try something similar yourself. Pretending your fingers are the bristles of a paintbrush, drag them vertically up and down an imaginary fence post in front of you, allowing your wrist to fully flex at the top of the motion and fully extend at the bottom, and you have basically got it.

I took this idea and now use it to teach young athletes how to perform the overarm throwing action required when launching a javelin. I use the coaching cue “paint the roof”, which was inspired by Mr Miyagi’s “paint the fence”.

I use the coaching cue “paint the roof”, which was inspired by Mr Miyagi’s “paint the fence”.

To mimic the javelin throwing action, I instruct young athletes to drag their fingers like a paintbrush forwards and backwards over their throwing arm shoulder, like they are painting a long beam above their head. (Try this action yourself). The forward motion is very similar to a tennis serve (which is another good coaching cue!)

Paint the Roof Javelin Drill Sequence

“Paint the Roof” Javelin Drill

This drill can be used with young athletes to initially familiarise and then ingrain some of the basic technique points required of an effective, safe and legal overarm javelin delivery action.

Where have you found inspiration?

Have you ever found coaching inspiration from an unusual source? I would love to hear if you have. Let me know by leaving a comment/reply.

Further reading


How To Introduce Javelin to Young Athletes (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes


How to Introduce Javelin to Young Athletes

10 of the Biggest Mistakes Young Athletes Make When Throwing a Javelin

How to Control the Point of the Javelin

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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