Depending on the zoom power of your compact you may have to move closer or just choose a sport or event where the subject is not so far away. On these occasions, very long focal length lenses are too powerful and you can fill the frame using more modest focal lengths.
My ball, © Kevin Evans-Jones 2011, Canon EOS 40D
However, if you have an IXUS or Powershot with a super zoom lens providing 12x optical zoom or more, you will be able to capture distant subjects with ease. But even with the highly effective Image Stabilizer, at sports events it is always a good idea to mount your camera on a tripod or steady surface to minimise the occurrence of blur.
Focus on your subject
With the fast, accurate focusing of current Canon cameras, focusing is often taken for granted. If your subject is in daylight, in the open, fills the frame or is in the centre of the viewfinder, then your camera should have no problem producing sharp images.
Jamie vaulting, © Simon Moore 2011, Canon EOS 1000D
However, sometimes events take place at night and it may take longer for the camera to focus. Select the option to focus from the centre and keep your subject in the centre of the frame. You can also enable the Servo AF option which continuously tracks the subject and keeps it in focus for as long as you keep the shutter release button half-pressed. Then press the button all the way on the decisive moment to take the shot.