The lighting created a couple of different problems. First, there's really not enough light to keep shutter speeds fast enough to freeze the action. Second, metering - even spot metering - can be all over the place due to the uneven light depending on where the spot happens to be aimed.
I sort of solved the shutter speed problem by choosing the camera's highest ISO setting of 3200 and using the 70-200mm lens wide open at f/2.8. I would have liked to use my 300mm lens but f/4 simply wasn't fast enough. I guess I need an f/2.8 300mm lens. I think the discontinued non image stabilized version can be found for under $3000.
Of course, ISO 3200 brings with it lots of noise which needs to be fixed in post processing. Here are some 100% crop samples of before and after added noise reduction in Canon's Digital Photo Professional:
|Before added noise reduction|
|After added noise reduction|