You need a tripod for panning shots. Ideally, the subject doing the action is in focus and the background is blurred. To achieve this, use a slow shutter speed and pan with the subject. I use lower shutter for jogging people (e.g. 1/15) and higher shutter for fast moving subject, like cars. You have to move the camera on the tripod as smooth as possible. Start to move your camera as soon as you spot the subject.
When I got to the scene, I set the settings on my camera so I could focus only on the moving subjects (bicyclist) or objects (car). Another hint: focus on the area where you expect your subject to appear. Here are my first panning shots. In the last image the girl is not in focus because she is running, but the object and her leg are in focus. See above my panning photos. For other ideas on panning shots, try a merry go round in your area. More panning pictures by other photographers go to this blog: http://www.photographyblogger.net/spinning-on-the-merry-go-round/