I would often stand under the boards to shoot basketball. The action was way too fast for me to even consider manual focus, particularly since i was usually shooting f/2.8 at ISO 6400 to freeze the action.
I'm old school, in the film days you had to nail it, I did similar shots (not sure what 'under the boards means') of netball players and got them right.
If you focus on a stationary person near where the action is and stop down, there will be enough DOF to cover you. We didn't have ISO6400 speeds back in the film days, the fastest (off the shelf films) we had were 400 black and white (which could be pushed to 800) and Gaf 500 for colour. I managed to freeze the action with 1/250th of a second or 1/60th with a flash. You don't need 1/2000+ to freeze action.
A few years ago I shot a football match in dull weather with my D40 at 400 with the 80-300 and in manual focus. 90% were spot on sharp. Those that weren't had camera shake, not out of focus.
Go a full day in manual focus, or better still shoot only in manual focus. Read up on focusing techniques.
This was second nature to us oldies.
Not sure where you got the idea that I was using really high shutter speeds. I was using ISO 6400 to get 1/500 of a second. Flash was not allowed. My keeper rate would have been much lower with a film camera and slower shutter speeds.
Last Edit: Jul 29, 2020 19:15:01 GMT -5 by dismayed
I got the idea that you were using high shutter speeds from the ISO you were using. Of course I didn't know exactly what speed you were using but you say 1/500 - I consider that pretty high for indoors
I agree, in film days there would have been fewer keepers.
One thing we were taught in film days about action and sports shots was to pick a target and follow it. In netball and basketball you are going for that shot where the player has jumped up and is tipping the ball into the basket. You shoot when the player is at the top of their jump. That takes practice and fast reflexes. 1/60th - 1/125 is plenty of speed for that.
Cricket is the easiest sport to shoot. They only play when the light is good