The Case for Session Summaries: All Students Need Them

February 7, 2024
Ann Smiley


Session summaries are an essential tool for students to improve, and for them to retain the knowledge they gain through their lessons. They are also instrumental in ensuring that students return for ongoing coaching. In this article, we’ll review a few simple guidelines to ensure that your students receive the guidance they need at the end of your lesson.

Why Complete Session Summaries?

Simply put, it’s a sound coaching strategy. For a deeper dive, we asked our learning expert Craig “Ed” Eddon to explain the science. Here’s what he told us.

  • All students have longterm ambitions, and those ambitions cannot be realized with a single session.
  • Session summaries create a bridge that naturally flows into a longterm commitment to ongoing lessons.
    • They help recap the lesson that just occurred.
    • They demonstrate the need for another lesson.
    • They tease what will happen at the next lesson.
    • They motivate students to stick with their game and work toward their goals.
  • Session summaries increase student retention by 40 percent.
  • Session summaries increase the likelihood that a student will tip.
  • Fifty percent of students who receive a summary will book a follow-up session.

💡 To hear Ed’s analysis in his own words, check out: Why Complete Session Summaries?

How to Incorporate a Summary into your Session Flow

It’s best to start thinking about your session summary ahead of time, and preparing a document that you can make notes in during the lesson and as you conclude. Once that’s in place, you can opt to incorporate your summary into your lesson time with your student live, as the lesson progresses. On the other hand, saving the summary step until the end can serve as a logical way to wrap up a lesson.

Pros who prefer to focus on summaries uninterrupted opt either to dismiss the student a few minutes early or complete the summary after the session has ended. The important thing is to share your summary with your student, and task them with referencing it as they work on their game before your next session. You can get your summary to your student by sharing a document, sending an email, or even pasting your notes into a DM.

Recommended Session Summary Prompts

We’ve determined that an effective summary needs to answer four questions, in order to reinforce learning and motivate a student to schedule a follow-up lesson. These topics are just a starting point, and you can remove/revise the sections to better suit your needs. We recommend providing your students with a sentence or two that answers each of the following questions.

  1. What did the student do well today?This is your opportunity to give some positive feedback. In your response, you can highlight the student’s successes and talk about ways they’ve shown improvement.
  2. What should the student practice?With this response you should focus on areas where your student has had areas of difficulty and challenges, and where deliberate practice will help them improve. Remember to be honest, but constructive.
  3. What should we work on next time?This question is great for student retention. In your response, you should think about the next logical step, based on today’s progress, and let your student know what you’ll be working on next. Giving them something to look forward to will lay the groundwork for their next booking.
  4. What are the specific tasks the student should complete before the next lesson?This section should be a to-do list for the student. Give them some general tasks (play ten matches) as well as some specific ones (use this specific attack five times), and if you have the ability to create a checklist, do so.

Quick Tips

  • Break your summary up into small, digestible points (like these).
  • Give clear activities to practice on, to help drive improvement.
  • Consider adding “Book your next lesson” as a student task.

Remember to follow up with your student, to see how they’re doing on their task list. Your Pro Studio will help you to keep track of lesson dates and student contact information.

The Bottom Line

Not all session summaries are created equal. Well-crafted summaries serve as effective coaching tools, while shortcut summaries, like copy-pasted text, random words, standalone links, and other non-informative content, don't benefit your students. And they definitely won't help grow your business.

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