I am a total novice with little technical skills!! I have a Nikon D3100 and have a Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens. My son is playing mini rugby on Saturday and would like to take some shots. Whilst I appreciate this is not the right kit, has anyone any tips for the best set up to try and get a few shots? Would a monopod help?
Any extra support like a monopod will help you to get the sharpest shots possible so if you have one then use it , as for your set up it might be a good idea to use your cameras sports program setting , that way you stand a good chance of getting the shots your after and then in time and with more practice you can start to use more of the manual settings .
I think if you don't know how to use a monopod, it's likely to get in your way rather than helping. Use aperture priority (A on the dial (do you have a dial?)) and set the aperture to 8. Enable Auto ISO, with a maximum ISO of 1600 and minimum shutter speed of 1 / 250. This should give you well exposed shots, without too much noise.
Enable VR on your lens, and make sure that when you take a picture, you've held the button down half-way for a half-second or so. When getting ready to take a shot, press the shutter half way to get the camera ready.
Not sure what focus modes you have, and how to set them. You want Continuous, I think, rather than Single.