Unless you’re shooting lawn bowls, most sports action tends to happen quickly, giving no time to manually focus on the action. The solution? Set your camera’s focus mode to A.I. Servo (or burst) mode which is made to shoot continuous movement and for panning.
You will also need to make sure your focal points are active, so you have the best chance of capturing the shot in focus. Even Aperture Priority mode can be used, as exposure is crucial, and there is often no time to toggle the shutter speed manually.