When photographing sports, the Continuous shooting mode is an ideal choice as it allows you to shoot continuously as long as your finger is pressing down on the shutter button—until the camera's buffer and/or the camera's card fills up.
What this means for you is that you can capture a lot of images as the action unfolds.
For great sports action shots, follow these simple tips: anticipate the action and practice, practice, practice. You want to keep the camera up to your eye and follow the action in the viewfinder; otherwise you might miss an important moment. Practice the timing of the sport you're photographing. Each sport has different timing—there's action, then downtime.
In some sports, the action can occur across the entire length of the field or court; in other sports there may be less movement in the action. For example, say your daughter plays soccer and you decide you're going to take pictures at all of her games. You may find that at the end of the season, you've become more aware of the timing of the sport and are capturing better images. This makes sense since you've had all season to practice. Even the pros find this occurs. You might even want to photograph a few practices before the team begins seasonal games.
Another tip is to make sure the puck or ball if there is one in the sport you're photographing, is in the shot, for context.
Not only do action shots make great photos, but there are also plenty of times when the athletes are off the field that you can be capturing great images. Look for the emotion in a player's face on the sidelines. Catch the excitement after a win. There's no rule that says you can't capture a nice portrait at a sports outing.
Some Nikon DSLRs offer more than one Continuous shooting mode. Your camera may have just a C (Continuous) or CL (Continuous low) and CH (Continuous high). The differences between CL and CH are often a few more frames per second continuous shooting when CH is selected than you'll get when CL is selected. Check your camera's user's manual to see what Continuous shooting options your camera offers.