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What's the best flash to use for nighttime sports games?

What's the best flash to use for nighttime sporting events? I have a rebel XT and I'm pushing it to its limits trying to stop the action. I've tried a speedlite 430 but it didn't have a hook up for an external battery pack and I was told I'd need the extra power. Just tried the 580ex ll on Friday but at the 1/1 setting, it didn't flash for each frame in a burst, even with the external power. I should have backed it down to 1/4 but didn't know at the time. Any thought on a really good flash for night sports? Is the 580 a good choice?

If you're planning on using just one or two, I wouldn't say any speedlight is going to give you the fast recycle speed you're looking for. Based on the body you're using, I assume you don't have the budget to purchase several speedlights. The more speedlights you have, the less work each will have to do to produce the necessary overall light level.
I don't know what lens you shoot with, but using fast glass is you're best option.

For what it's worth, I use a 580 EX with an external battery pack for football. Over the last 4 years I have played with a lot of different settings. The best I have come up with is: camera in M, 1/640-1/800, ISO 6400, flash in ETTL with high speed sync enabled, FEC set to -1/3. I know the flash loses a lot of power with HSS but it is enough to give the high ISO shots a pop of color. The shutter speed is fast enough to stop most action. I use a 7D and put it in AI servo, continuous (low). With fresh batteries I have gotten three frames of flash. If there is enough light on the field I will go to -2/3 FEC.


JUst as Tim_S said. YOu will want a external battery pack. Unforatannly the 430 does not have the option to plug in a external battery pack so will want to pick up a 580 or one of the new 600 series. 


Then you start looking at the battery packs. I recommend Quantum power packs

5D III, 8-15L, TSE 24L, 24-105L, 85L, 70-200L, EX600 X2