Sounds good. Make sure to try auto ISO with an acceptable minimum shutter speed, too.
With an AF-S lens I doubt that the a1 setting will make much difference in most situations. I noticed the difference when shooting in low light/low contrast situations where the AF sensors struggled, and when using slower screwdriver AF lenses. With an AF-S lens in decent light focus is not the reason for your issues.
If nothing else it's good to know what different functions offer. I've still got a lot of settings to learn myself. Hopefully this discussion will help you see different possibilities. There is no one right way.