1. Use a Fast Shutter Speed
I like to have a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or faster for shooting action.
2. Use continuous auto-focus and back button focusing
3. Tap the AF button instead of holding it down continuously.
Many cameras will auto-focus better if you tap the AF button repeatedly during the action sequence rather than holding it down the whole time.
4. Use the center auto-focus point
I like to use the center auto-focus point and then crop the image later for the composition I want.
5. Use any custom settings available for tracking action.
Check out my post on optimizing your camera for shooting birds in flight.