Head Coach Scott Hoenig values the ‘spirit of the game,’ a term used to describe the communication and sportsmanship that should be demonstrated while playing Ultimate.
Hoenig said, “I think [spirit of the game is] the most important part of the sport… In my mind, you can’t have it without spirit of the game because you need to be able to have that assumption that no player is going to intentionally violate the rules. You need to kind of have that respect built in. And that the idea that both teams are working to try to, to trust each other and to make the right calls. I think the way that that plays out, in, in, in our in our program is that we put a great deal of emphasis on learning the rules. It’s one of the most important things in a self officiated sport that players will know the rules.”
According to Everett Woo ’25, Hoenig values fostering an environment of high character players. Hoenig uses his expertise in Ultimate as a way to guide team members, while staying very close to them to foster team energy.
Woo said, “He always embraced his spirit of the game, and he always enforces good sportsmanship and uplifts other players… During practices, he’s very involved with the players… He’s very nice and hands on, you could say. He has a lot of knowledge because he’s been doing this for a long time it seems, but [for] his overall style, he creates good relationships with the players, so I think that’s really important.”
Hoenig tries to put a lot of emphasis on energy and teamwork by specifically assigning a “spirit captain” on the team. Hoenig believes that these unique elements of the team build up to establish healthy sportsmanship and awareness of team rules.
Hoenig added, “I make sure to introduce myself to the coaches and make sure that our players and our captains are introducing themselves to the other captains. We actually have a specific role that is a spirit captain that is charged with communicating with the other team’s spirit captain about spirit of the game and about upholding the expectations between the teams. So, basically a lot of emphasis on those kinds of things on sportsmanship and on knowledge of the rules. It’s a big, important part of our program.”
Sakina Cotton ’24, another member of the team, believes that Hoenig stands out as a coach due to his dedication and knowledge of Ultimate. Hoenig brings out the best in players, according to Cotton.
Woo said, “I’ve had a lot of coaches because I’ve played a lot of sports throughout my life. And I’ve actually never played Ultimate before. And when I was trying out for Ultimate, and I saw how much knowledge he had, the way he coached, and how much effort he put into coaching and also his canvas page and how he was available and how many resources he had so I could learn about Ultimate. I said, I want to I want to be coached by that guy. That’s what I said to myself. I said, I’m going to try hard, as hard as I can to make the team so I can be coached by him and become the best Ultimate player I can be. And I think it’s just the effort he puts in and how much knowledge he has. That makes him stand out.”
Cotton added in an email to The Phillipian: “Like all coaches, he is very strategic and dedicates a lot of time and importance of teaching the strategy of the fundamentals of Ultimate. He works well with the other coaches and is a good role model for everyone on the team in terms of kindness, athleticism, and teamwork. However I think what makes him different is his dedication to teamwork. He reads inspirational pieces, theories, and experiences of teamwork to share the messages with the team and it reminds us to trust one another, keep pushing to be our best, and practice effectively.”
Josie Banson ’22 echoed Cotton’s sentiment and believes that Hoenig is able to break down drills and teach the fundamentals of the sport in a clear way. Banson describes Hoenig’s style as one that is very thorough.
“[Hoenig] really breaks down the fundamentals for us and explains to us why we’re doing certain drills or using a particular strategy in a game. We do a bunch of work training the basics of cutting, sprinting, throwing, receiving, etc. I really appreciate all of his knowledge of the game and athleticism in general which has helped me improve a lot,” wrote Banson in an email to The Phillipian.
Hoenig describes his coaching style as a tool for players who seek to pursue Ultimate past their high school careers. He believes that the kind of qualities he helps students build are not only useful in Andover’s Ultimate program, but also as future adults in society.
“I try to coach in such a way that the things that we do in ultimate, the things that players learn as a part of this program are going to apply beyond just ultimate… I emphasize things like hard work, and enthusiasm. I think that it’s really important to figure out how to make hard work fun because both these hard work is essential for success, and it’s a whole lot easier to work hard when you’re having fun. So that’s one thing that we do in the program, try to work hard and at the same time, we tried to focus on the things that we can control,” said Hoenig.