Mark Scognamiglio has been involved with football on the Northern Beaches for the best part of his 40 years. First as a local player with the Cromer Football Club, St. Augustine’s and the Cromer Collaroy Strikers, then as a coach with Pittwater and now Avalon football clubs. Over his 20 years of playing the game, one coach sticks out as having a significant impact on him as a player.
“In my first ten years of playing, I always chose to be in defence and was never confident when I found myself upfront. But then my coach Rene challenged me by keeping me upfront and kept reinforcing that I had the skill and knew what to do, but I needed to find the self-confidence. After many woeful games, one day something just clicked. I had a cracker, and I left the pitch on top of the world and never looked back as an attacking player. I reflect on this a lot. Rene didn’t make me focus on technique or developing skill or just keep me out of the way — his focus for me was to be challenged and develop self-belief and self-confidence. This is something I try to keep front and centre of my coaching. Each session may have a different focus in terms of skills, but I always support and develop self-belief and challenge players to be confident in everything they do.”
Mark’s coaching journey started in 2015 at Pittwater FC, coaching his son’s U6 team. He has coached every year since.
“I started coaching my son’s team without really thinking about it. My family has always been involved with MWFA clubs, either playing, coaching or within club committees. When it came to putting my hand up to coach, it was a no brainer. I quickly realised how enjoyable it was, even at a junior level. It’s quite a rewarding challenge.”
In 2017 Mark and his family moved to Avalon FC and he started coaching both of his son’s teams in the U6s and U8s. It was there that he started investing a bit more into his development as a coach and attended a few courses with MWFA. He quickly realised that there is so much to learn, even at junior level.
“Since the first few MWFA coaching courses, my interest and passion for coaching has increased. Coaching the U10s in 2020 I was fortunate to have some real quality players within the team, and I quickly realised that I needed to develop my knowledge and confidence to keep pace with them. I also was given the opportunity to pull together the top U8 players into one team. Experiencing two teams, where each player is focused and throwing themselves into training and games, gave me a glimpse at coaching above social football, and it’s certainly a pathway I am interested in.”
In 2021 Mark will keep coaching both his son’s teams, now in the U9s and U11s, as well as his daughter who will start her own football journey in the U6s. Alongside that, Mark has put his hand up to work with Avalon as a CCC (Club Coaching Coordinator) and being part of the Avalon 2030 plan. It looks like being a busy year from him, but he is excited to see what the club can achieve and developing his three teams into confident footballers.
“I also need to keep learning as a coach. The Future Coaches Program came along at the right time for me, given my increasing involvement in coaching, The experience and knowledge, as well as the network of coaches and mentors, will certainly prove to be a wealth of support.”
MWFA is looking forward to seeing an ever growing number of confident footballers coming out of Avalon in the coming years.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming months.