Individualized programs help athletes become self-sufficient in the weight room
By Molly R. Kutz
Over the past two years, KU has hired two coaches specifically to support student athletes: Scott Hobbs and Connor Lawn were both hired in 2021, Hobbs as Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator and Lawn as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
The two have been building a new lifting program at Risley Hall, where they are tasked with working with KU’s varsity athletes.
Coach Lawn was hired in March 2021. He was familiar with PSAC teams and how competitive KU is in various sports, which drew him to Kutztown.
Coach Lawn has a substantial coaching background, as he worked with North Penn High School Football in 2016 and 2021 and Iron Athlete in 2016 and 2018. He then advanced to working with Villanova Football & Olympic Sports from 2017-2018 and the University of Florida & Olympic Sports from 2019-2020.
“[I want to] help build and continue to improve the competitive culture at Kutztown as well as building autonomy. I also strive to give the athletes a program that will make them self-sufficient and give them a competitive edge,” Coach Lawn said when asked about his main goal for the strength and conditioning program.
Coach Lawn was always into sports and competition, which means he is familiar with the competitive culture. As he was an athlete himself, he was no stranger to injuries, as he went to physical therapy a lot when he was playing sports throughout school. He also did a career study in PT, and his mom introduced the idea of a strength and conditioning coach, which piqued his interest. He pursued an Exercise Science degree at West Chester and an Applied Physiology & Kinesiology master’s degree from the University of Florida. He also is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and USA Weightlifting Coach.
Coach Lawn’s favorite lift is “Rear foot elevated split squats because I do it lighter at a slow tempo to help with my knee pain long-term, and it also brings blood to the arm,” he said. If he could only eat one meal for a whole month, he would choose a Western omelet, which consists of ham, cheese, onions and peppers. “I have also eaten alligator,” said Coach Lawn, “and thought it tasted like chicken, but it has a texture of a crunchy fish.” His favorite motivational quote is by Rocky Balboa: “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
In July 2021, Coach Hobbs began his journey at Kutztown. He was attracted to the town because he wanted to build and develop a successful program for KU athletes. He was also excited to move back to the Lehigh Valley, as his previous jobs have taken him away from his home.
Coach Hobbs has an extensive coaching background, with his last job being at Army West Point, coaching football and Olympic sports for five years. Before that, he was with the University of Pennsylvania for one year coaching football and Olympic sports. Before these two jobs, he was in London, UK, working as a strength coach with various professional and collegiate teams.
“I am passionate about college athletics specifically because I can work with athletes for four years and develop and watch their progress from freshman to senior year, both in their sports and real life,” Coach Hobbs said. He started in this profession because he was an athlete and competitive lifter. He has competed in amateur boxing and rugby as well as swimming and running. He also was a competitive Olympic and powerlifter himself, even winning the British National Powerlifting Championship in 2013. He went on to win the title of Pennsylvania State Champion in 2016.
Coach Hobbs started working at a gym when he was 16 and later moved on to slight personal training when he was 18. This prepared him for his vast education and various certifications that make him exceptionally knowledgeable in strength and conditioning and nutrition. He has a bachelor’s in Strength and Conditioning and a master’s in Sports Rehabilitation.
Coach Hobbs’ favorite lift is “Deadlift, because something is satisfying about picking something heavy and standing up with it. It is also useful every day. Then, of course, when you drop the bar and weights, it sounds awesome,” he said. If Coach Hobbs could only eat one meal for a whole month, he would choose an English breakfast consisting of eggs, fried tomato, sausage, toast, bacon, baked beans and mushrooms. He also has two children, ages five and three.
Here at KU, Coach Hobbs’ day starts at 6 a.m. and ends around 6 p.m. He has anywhere between 5-9 hours of active coaching in the weight room or on the field. The rest of his day is dedicated to administrative work like writing programs, meeting with coaches and athletic trainers and paperwork (and getting his own lift in, obviously). He also makes the lifting schedule. Coach Lawn also sees the 6 a.m. sunrise to 6 p.m. grind, as he carries the hours of actively coaching in the weight room or in the field, paperwork and program work (and his own lift, too).
Today, athletes face a new lifting program that Coaches Hobbs and Lawn have created from scratch that is individualized for each sport and dives into specific groups of people within each. This program was made to help students become self-sufficient athletes in the weight room. There are many goals for athletes to achieve through these lifting programs. The primary goal is “finding a competitive edge,” said Coach Hobbs. “The first goal is to maximize qualities such as strength, size, speed, power and agility, to optimize performance in athletes’ specific sports. The secondary goal is to reduce injuries. Without healthy athletes, they cannot maximize their — sports.”