The Tao of Koa
Tao of Koa
Here at Koa, we pride ourselves on being more than just a sports outfit. We like to believe we’re helping build community. Click here to view our FAQs!
After home and school, it’s often athletic fields and facilities that become the “third place” for so many kids. As such, we take our responsibility as community organizers very seriously. The text included below is a take on how we view our role and what we mean by “The Tao of Koa.”
Before Koa Sports had a name, a logo or a website, it was one man (Tony Korson) coaching a group of neighborhood baseball players. While our 501(c)3 has grown significantly over the last five years, our culture, customer service and central mission — ‘shaping kids’ lives through sports’ — hasn’t changed. That can only happen with a full-time staff who live, eat, breath, play, train, compete, sleep, don’t sleep, question, listen, improve, celebrate and champion Koa Sports. Everything we do starts with our full-time staff — from answering the phones to setting your schedules to hiring our coaches.
Click here to read our Founder & CEO, Tony Korson’s, thoughts on Shaping Kids Lives Through Sports.
Koa is committed to shaping kids’ lives through sports. Through the following approach, Koa aims to develop each child to his or her full potential as an athlete and a person:
-Employing trained and dedicated professional coaches and instructors who operate under the supervision and management of our full-time professional staff.
-Providing a positive community for our young athletes and their families.
-Using sports as a vehicle to teach life lessons like hard work, sportsmanship, self-discipline, and coping with adversity.
While many of our young athletes will enjoy long, successful playing careers in high school and beyond, we recognize not all are destined for professional, college, or even high school competition. Whatever the sport, activity, or level of competition, Koa’s basic philosophy is the same – shaping kids’ lives through sports. Consistent with this philosophy, Koa affords its young athletes the opportunity to develop in their sport of choice and, ultimately, in the game of life.
After locking ourselves in our own “situation room” (aka drinking coffee on the couches in our office), we decided Koa needed a set of core values. Yes, our mission statement articulated our operational approach and organizational standards, but mission statements are for board-meetings. We needed something we could use in the field.
As we train our coaches, introduce ourselves to parents, and psych ourselves up before leaving our heated cars to coach on frosty November mornings, what was the point? Who did we want to be? What were the things we needed to embody in order to achieve our mission?
Thus, our core values were born…
POSITIVE. DEDICATED. TEAM-FIRST. FUN.
They’re beautiful, aren’t they? They’re also universal.
From our full-time staff to our coaches to our athletes and their parents, these are the core values we ask everyone in the Koa organization to embody. If we can look at every component of the Koa operation and say we’re meeting these four core values, we’ll know we’re succeeding. If there’s a problem along the way, we can go back to these values and pin-point where it is we’re underachieving.
“But what do those values really mean, Koa? What does this look like in reality?”
The good part about these core vales is they’re obvious and really need no explaining. That said, here’s what these values mean to us internally:
POSITIVE means approaching things in a constructive way. Letting our athletes know if they’ve done something wrong, but also outlining the way to remedy the problem and instilling in them a belief that they’re capable of doing so.
It means showing up to work with the right energy, championing projects of real importance, and seeing our “problems” as “opportunities.”
DEDICATED means committing ourselves to the job at hand. It means showing up on time, with both a plan and the proper energy to execute it.
It means controlling the controllables.
TEAM FIRST. Sports is about team. Yes, sports teach discipline and sacrifice and instill kids with the habits of proper exercise, but the competitive advantage sports offer is the opportunity to function as a team.
In good times, we enjoy and share in the celebrations with everyone. In bad, we stick together as a group and pick each other up.
FUN. Because if we’re not having fun, what are we doing?
The “Tao of Koa” says that the being is in the playing. The journey is the destination. That the value of playing youth sports is found in the sports season and not in a gold-painted piece of plastic given out afterwards.
This isn’t to say we’re joyless or un-nostalgic, but we are adamant about our crusade against the gold-star culture. We’d rather our athletes finish their season and look back on the friends they made and skills they learned than look to their coach for a piece of material validation.
Depending on the age or outcome of a given program or season, we do occasionally outfit our athletes with a commemorative item, but only so far as it’s a piece of gear or equipment that encourages kids to keep playing. A t-shirt, beanie, pair of shorts or piece of athletic equipment will get a lot more mileage – and encourage a lot more practice – than an old trophy that picks up dust on a shelf.
Koa Sports- Refund Policy
Camps and Clinics
If you come to the first day of your Koa program (camp & clinics only, this does not apply for leagues) and have such a terrible time that you no longer wish to participate in the program, we’ll refund you with 100% of the cost.
Recreation Leagues- Flag Football & Field Hockey
If you cancel your registration before the registration close date, we’ll refund you 100% of the program cost.
If you cancel your registration after the registration close date and find someone to take your spot, we’ll refund you 80% of the cost.
If you cancel your registration after the registration close date and fail to find someone to take your spot, we’ll credit your Koa account with 80% of the cost.
Koa Teams that require Tryouts (BABL, Travel Baseball, Select Hoops, DT Field Hockey, and Club Field Hockey)
If you cancel your registration after you have accepted your position on the team you will be charged for the full price of the team.
*Injuries will be a case by case basis handled by Programs Directors and Koa Management
**Any refund policy disputes will go directly to Koa’s Board- Program Directors CAN NOT deviate from the stated policy.
Koa provides a fun, safe, and positive environment for kids of all ages and ability levels to learn about and participate in sports. To provide this environment, we must set forth a code of conduct that enables the Koa community to enjoy our events without any unnecessary distractions. We fully expect any and all participants, parents, spectators, coaches, and Koa staff to abide by this code of conduct. Repercussions for breaking the code of conduct could include anything from taking a break from the activity to expulsion from all Koa activities.
- - Say negative comments toward anyone at any time.
- - Confront a player, coach, referee, or parent at any time
- - Drink alcoholic beverages directly before or during any Koa event
- - Foster a hostile environment
- - Show disrespect toward anyone at any time
- - Argue with a coach’s decision
- - Argue with a referee’s decision/call
- - Leave trash at any game or practice site
- - Allow these behaviors from others
- - Encourage all players with positive comments
- - Meet as many people as I can
- - Bring snacks to the games as needed
- - Report any issues directly to the commissioner
- - Clean up my space before I leave
- - Support the positive Koa environment
- - Play hard
- - Have fun
- - Show good sportsmanship at all times
Tips from Koa’s preferred nutritionist Stephanie Mull, GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab and Adjunct Faculty at American University.
Thank You for Voting us Best of Bethesda!
CEO & Founder Tony Korson in The Washington Post | Check it out!
The MOCO Show Spotlight on Koa Sports & CEO Tony Korson | Check it out!
CEO & Founder Tony Korson in the Washington Examiner | Check it out!
Kojo Show Guest- CEO & Founder Tony Korson | Check it out!
CEO & Founder Tony Korson has also been a panelist for Project Play and the SEME Sports Conference: