shy instructor

Tips for the Shy Instructor, Part 1: Make Your Anxiety Work For You, Not Against You

It is commonly thought that you must be an extrovert, a performer, to get up in front of a class and teach indoor cycling. It’s not necessarily true. A shy instructor can be a terrific motivator. If you are that shy instructor, it may be time to unlearn a few falsehoods about performing in public. Are you ready to change some behaviors that may be limiting your performance?

In an earlier article I compared teaching an indoor cycling class to acting in a stage play. Do you have to be a natural actor to succeed as an instructor? The answer is a definite no. Shy or introverted people can be wonderful, dynamic instructors.

How? I want you to stop doing four things. Two of them we will cover in this article: (1) stop trying to calm your anxiety, and (2) stop thinking of performing in public as a natural gift. We will discuss two more things to stop doing in a subsequent article.

In part 2 of this series, I will look at two more things to stop trying:

  • Stop trying to be perfect.
  • Stop trying to be someone else.  

In the meantime, I ask you to practice thinking about your anxiety in a new way. It’s not anxiety. It’s energy.


  1. Great article! I consider myself a strong introvert and I think that can be leveraged as a positive thing. I’m much more intentional about how and when I speak. My class focus is about giving my riders a great experience and not about being in the spotlight and the center of attention.

    1. Author

      Thanks Erin. Your comment makes my exact point. Thanks for sharing your commitment to your students.

    2. Erin, this is a great point. In fact, it may be that introverted instructors make some of the best ones because not only do they recognize that it’s more about their riders and not about their own workout or glory…for them, there is no other option!

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