One of the main steps (if not the biggest) in jumping onto the path of making better photographs is using MANUAL!! Manual mode allows the user to make adjustments to the camera to accommodate the surroundings(brightness, speed of subject, etc.) of the subject being photographed.
It may be much more difficult than Auto Mode, BUT when mastered Manual Mode can help produce photographs that cannot be done by Auto. Give it a try and if you find yourself stuck ask me questions and I will try my best to help out.