a lot of obedience clubs host "fun matches" so you can try it out without it being a serious competition. It's a good way to see what it's all about without the stress. You're little dog might surprise you with how much he knows. The novice level is fairly basic (healing, sits, downs, finishes, etc). ONce you do that and get hooked moving up to the advanced level isn't too much of a challenge. I'm struggling with the "excellence level" now. One of the requirements is taking 3 steps backwards which we are finding a supreme challenge. Gemma is just too smart; she feels its much easier to just turn around and walk forward than to step backwards so why waste energy walking backwards...
Lots of places also have "run-throughs", where a regulation course is set up, and people take turns practicing the course. These are even a little less formal than matches. Run-throughs are great, because you can train in the ring with food, and on or off leash as you see fit depending on how your dog is working that
Kodi had a great back-up until I stepped on his tail ONCE, and pulled out some hair. (I only stepped on the hair... Not his tail, itself, but he screamed) that was more than 2 years ago, and he is STILL prone to curving away from me on the back up, just to keep his tail out of the way of my big feet!
I taught him the back-up against a wall (and that's still where we practice a lot) so he had no room to turn around. Also, I kept food right in front of his nose as I asked him to back until he fully understood. Sometimes I still tip his nose to the outside with the food if I have to remind him about it just before going into the ring, if there is no wall or gate i can practice against.