Ultimate Frisbee Head Coach Scott Hoenig Inspires his Players to Follow the Values of Sportsmanship, Integrity, and Hard Work

Head Coach Scott Hoenig started coaching Ultimate in 1999. He holds a Level II coaching certification through USA Ultimate, and decades of experience playing at the college and club level, in mixed and open divisions. His coaching style heavily relies on sportsmanship, enthusiasm, and hard work.

In 1994, Hoenig was inspired by other students at his college to play. The spontaneous decision led him to eventually play in the Massachusetts High School Ultimate League (MAHSUL) All-Star game in 2009 and 2010. 

“I started playing Ultimate my Freshman year at college and I got into it because I started playing it during orientation and I thought it was a lot of fun. In one of the early days of the year, I was walking past the athletic fields and I saw the ultimate team playing and I went out and gave it a try,” said Hoenig.

The aspect of Ultimate that resonates the most with Coach Hoening is the camaraderie and self-accountability. During games, players work together to run the games.

Hoenig said, “There are no referees, and it’s self officiated even at the highest levels of the sport… Overall this means that there’s a really high level of sportsmanship in the sport. And that’s a thing that really draws me to Ultimate. The sport itself is a really exciting and fun sport to play. But the way that you play it, the self appreciation, sportsmanship, and respect is what kind of kept me playing.”

Hoenig emphasized the complexity of the sport and how it has led him to many exciting games, as well as social connections.

“There are a lot of really exciting plays, it’s really challenging. And can be really complex. And there are many different kinds of strategies utilized when playing. It has allowed me to really connect well with other people and make connections with them,” said Hoenig.

Co-captain Michela Rowland 24’, talked about the specific aspects of Ultimate Hoenig tries to focus on at practice.

“Coach Hoenig really pushes us to work on the fundamentals of good cuts and throws. He’s also big on mental toughness as well as physical,” Rowland wrote in an email to the Phillipian.

Co-captain Sakina Cotton ’24 also spoke on Hoening’s leadership traits. He motivates his players to be the best all around and appreciates hard work. 

Cotton said, “He really pushes people to be their best as an athlete, Ultimate player, and communicator. I also think that he values putting in energy and work and making the right choices. He definitely leads by those values and it’s clear during practice on the field or in his talking circles.”

Cotton continued to speak on how Hoening prepares the team before games. Specifically, his tradition of quoting other Ultimate role models. 

“Usually the day before he’ll share some motivational quotes. It’s kind of [a] tradition. So he’ll speak about John Wooden and other past players who’ve really paved the way for really great Ultimate. And then he also reminds us to go over strategy and talk with each other, get comfortable and make sure we’re ready for a lot of running and being able to perform really well, even when we’re tired,” said Cotton.

As a coach, Hoenig hopes that his players use lessons they learned in Ultimate out in the real world.

Hoenig said, “I hope that they’ll take away some lessons that they can apply in other areas of their life. Lessons about hard work, and enthusiasm, and integrity. Hopefully the players I coach are able to take some of these lessons that they learned from Ultimate and apply them in other areas of their life where they need to.”