11 things you know to be true if you were a shy child.

Thanks to our brand partner, NRL

As a shy or introverted kid, you may have felt that pull to conform to the extrovert mindset.

Messages like ‘just get out there,’ ‘push yourself’, or ‘get out of your comfort zone’ do little to reduce the butterflies that thump in the chest of the quieter child.

For me, shyness meant hiding behind my mother’s legs whenever she spoke to another adult. Or crying at the side of the tennis courts when my parents dared to spend a whole 45 minutes away from my side.

These days, my friends would not use the word ‘shy’ in a top 10 list of adjectives about me (now that would be a fun game to play). Yet the memories of those awkward moments are still vivid in my mind.

My two kids are fairly confident, but still have their own moments of shyness.

Taking part in team sports is often cited as a way to help your child feel more comfortable in group environments. But even that still sounded a little nerve wracking to me.

I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted my eight-year-old son signing up to a contact sport – this filled me with fear, even though he does love to watch the NRL.

But when I dug further, I learnt there are lots of different ways kids can play Rugby League with non-contact options like tag, or League Stars where they learn the skills to play. All of these versions of the game are underpinned by values of mateship, strength, resilience and courage, which resonate with me.

Junior Rugby League, which has the tagline of creating a ‘League of Strong and Confident Kids’, is an inclusive game that aims to help break barriers for shy kids to build their confidence.

Think learning fundamental movement, skills, teamwork, and making friends that can last a lifetime rather than scrums and tackles. And mixed boys and girls teams (up until age 12). Find your local club and remember, sport is for all kids, not just the outwardly confident ones.

If you were a shy child too, these are the 11 things you know to be true before you discovered your confident self…


1. When a new teacher makes the class all ‘stand up and tell me about yourself’.

Maybe they won’t notice me? via GIPHY

Excuse me while I vomit into my hat.

2. Waiting to get picked for team sports.

Actually me. via GIPHY

Can the ground just open up and swallow me, please? Look I know I can’t run fast, catch well, and I don’t understand the rules, but…oh whatever, I wouldn’t pick me either.

3. When the slow song comes on at the school dance.

Those opening beats of Madonna’s ‘Crazy For You’ come on and you freeze. Your crush is walking right towards you and…oh God….could it be…no he’s just going to the toilet. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be making the most of the dark.

4. When you can’t find your friends to sit with at lunch.

Didn’t we agree to meet RIGHT HERE? If anyone needs me I’ll be eating my pie in my locker.

5. Answering a landline when you didn’t know who was calling.

Terrifying. via GIPHY

Was it your mum? The principal? Who knows? Kids these days have no idea how lucky they are to have caller ID. Text messaging was a welcome gift for shy people.

6. If a waiter dared speak to you directly, you’d go red and silent.

And if they brought you the wrong order you would rather just eat it than say anything. ‘Aren’t you allergic to nuts though?’ ‘IT’S FIIIIIIINE.’

7. Giving a speech in class would be proceeded by a day of ‘nervous poo’

Then when you got up to speak, the loud mouth of the class would yell out ‘can’t hear ya!’

8. You saved up for a Walkman/Discman/iPod so that you could put headphones on and ignore everyone.

Or was that just me?

9. Sometimes at a party you’d hang out in the bathroom for a while, just to have a breather.

Because the loo is the place to be.

10. Vacation care was its own kind of hell.

Thanks Mum and Dad, I love nothing more than coming to school in the holidays and hanging out with a bunch of random kids. IT’S GREAT.

11. Group work could cause you to break out in a rash.

No, no, it’s fine, I’ll do all the work, I can see you’re really busy writing your name in liquid paper on your pencil case.

Can you relate? Were you shy as a child? We would love to hear your stories in the comments.

Feature image: Getty.


Sign up to play league and sign up to your child making friends for life, building inner and outer confidence, and developing healthy minds and bodies. Register now to play tackle or tag rugby league at your local club. Visit and join our league of strong and confident kids.