Grangemouth Stags coach making the most out of match play break
The former Gala and Falkirk winger, appointed to that role back in May, is making the most of the coronavirus restrictions now in force to work with the key members of his squad and improve them as individuals.
He said: “When I took the job, I knew that we'd have a year of no normal competition with promotion and relegation. I thought that gave us a fantastic opportunity to develop the team.
"The year of the pandemic has been a positive from my point of view because it allows me to work through that transition and really get to know the guys.
"Had it been a normal season, we'd have been straight in to pre-season, getting guys up to scratch skill-wise, whereas I've been able to do individual planning and goal-setting and put sessions together and work with them on a one-to-one basis in areas of the game they typically wouldn't get.
"Don't get me wrong, the club is a social club, and we have about 60 playing members and about 40 of them train because if they don't, they know they don’t get picked and miss out, then we have the other 20 or so who are a bit more motivated and want to develop as much as they can.
"They are the ones we are working with to kick on and help them become the best they can be.”
Taking over during the height of the pandemic, Lawson knew what was in store and, following Scottish Rugby’s initial roadmap to returning to competitive action, he expected to be back playing matches at the end of last month.
However, the governing body last month stated, in line with government guidelines, that matches would be pushed back to January at the earliest.
"At first, it just felt like a prolonged pre-season where we could develop,” said Lawson.
"We were always preparing for the end of October date. Each year, you'd end a season around April or May then start preparing for a pre-season of six to 12 weeks.
"We had till October so it was like having two full pre-seasons.
"It was a fantastic opportunity to transition them from the game plan that the previous coach was doing, which might otherwise have taken them half a season to get fully used to.
"The guys are currently doing strength and conditioning individual training through the week then we have a group session on the Saturday in small bubbles working on individual skills.”
Despite all the positives he is finding in the restrictions, Lawson wants any sort of matchplay to return as soon as it is safe to do so.
"I'd like to be optimistic. It's January when we're supposed to be back and then round about February, you have the Six Nations, so I don't see any league-type fixtures taking place till March,” he said.
"I don't think there will be any structured stuff this season, but hopefully we can play two or three friendlies before the end of the typical season and try to build back into a normal structure before the next season.
"The guys want to play, it doesn't matter the level. You have to balance training and developing skills, but if we're just training all the time, we will lose motivation."