How to get into sports' photography.......
For me it was relatively straightforward; progressing from playing rugby and cricket to photographing the same sports. I played amateur sport so didn't have professional competition from other photographers when I rocked up with my camera. I knew the Club, the players etc. so my attendance at matches was was never questioned. In 1999 I set up a Club website to record results of matches but also it was a great way of advertising my pictures. I still edit the website and still use it as a personal photo gallery to this day. I provide photos regularly for three Clubs these days and have a lot of experience in rugby, cricket and football photography.
If you don't have any 'connections' I suggest looking at the websites of local clubs in the sport in which you are interested and if no-one is taking the photos, email their secretary and ask if you can turn up to matches and take some pictures. Do not expect to be paid for this"work". Your reward is the experience it is providing you. Paid work may come later. Arrange to send your BEST photographs to the relevant person at the Club and hopefully he/she will post them on their site.
Use good quality equipment (normally a dslr camera) to help ensure you keep ahead of most competition. If someone else fancies taking photos of the same matches as you and your images aren't good quality then you are open to losing your role as Club Photographer. I use full frame Canon cameras and best quality lenses nowadays but it hasn't always been like that. My first digital photographs were taken on a digital camera attached to a key-ring in about 2000! Other than that I was using film slr cameras (Pentax MX).
Anyway, get out there and press that shutter a couple of hundred times per match and some will be good enough for publication, surely!