>I was trying it out with the sports mode that the camera has >but the pictures kept coming out blurry..
Your shutter speed is too slow! If the background is is not blurry but the subjects are blurry it is blur due to subject movement. Using a faster shutter speed will solve that problem. Check the Exif data on a well exposed image. What was the shutter speed, Aperture (f/#), and ISO? The ISO was most likely set too low for the ambient conditions. We can extrapolate an exposure for that venue from the above information.
>I tried reading the handbook but since I don't have any photo >exp..it was actually difficult to understand it..lol..
You might want to get; Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. It will get you up and running in Manual exposure mode.
>I'll try the settings that you are suggesting. What type of >lens do you use?
If you look at my User Profile you will see that I am very well equipped. I typically shoot multiple bodies with different lenses. The lenses I use most often: All Nikkor: 70-200mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S VR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S 200mm f/2G ED IF AF-S VR
>I do have one question, if I shoot at 55mm >zoom, won't the pictures look like they are taken from far away?
55mm on a DX body like your D5000 has the same Field of View (FOV) as a short telephoto on an FX body. True it is not ideal but it will help you gain shutter speed, and you need a faster shutter speed to capture a usable (without blur) image! The reason I recommended using 55mm with that lens is because it will allow the most light possible thru the lens at that zoom setting. The 55-200mm is a variable aperture lens. This means that at 55mm the aperture is f/4. At 200mm the aperture is f/5.6. A full one stop difference. Remember if you can get an additional stop of light thru the lens, you can double the shutter speed (to freeze the motion) using the same ISO setting (keeping the noise to a minimum).
If you are shooting in a gym even a well lit (Ha Ha!!) gym lthe ambient lighting is problematic. If you are shooting at a National Event with high power stage lighting you may be able to shoot at f/5.6 if you are willing to turn the ISO up higher say from ISO 800 to ISO 3200 (two stops compared to f/2.8) zooming in will be less of an issue. The best lighting I have seen so far even at a National competition was: 1/500th sec., f/2.8, ISO 800 and that is only at one venue. Be aware if the backgrounds are black or lighted it can cause you to over or under expose. In many gyms you will be shooting at ISO 3200 or higher at f/4 already. Noise will be an issue.
>As you probably know, when her squad goes up to >perform, they allow the families to come up to the front so I >am not that far away yet the pics did look like I was. Not >sure if that makes any sense...
It depends on the type of images that you are trying to capture. If you are trying to fill the frame with your daughter, depending where her spot is (front row, middle row, or back row) and where you are shooting from focal length can be an issue. At some venues I shoot from the top of the bleachers at others front row center. When shooting from the front my 70-200mm can be too long (even on an FX body) for a full height shot of my daughter (she is front row center) and is way too long for shooting the pyramids. It does work well for the diagonal tumbling runs. I hope this helps! Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!