One of the most significant things you can do to improve as a photographer (and as a person!) is to observe. To sometimes not take a photo, unless your observations of your subject lead to a strong emotion or idea.
Wander around places with your camera in hand. Watch the light. Watch the moving forms, the lines, the interaction between different subjects in your environment.
DO NOT put your camera to your eye, yet. Keep watching. Patience is indeed a virtue for the most compelling or meaningful photographs.
DO keep your camera at optimal settings. At a larger aperture (f/1.8) to isolate your subject against a hectic background. A fast enough shutter speed to freeze the subject’s action, or if you are trying to show the motion, let it be slower. Auto ISO so it will react best to the shutter speed/aperture combination.
Put your camera up to your eye when you see the moment. The light gets just right, the clutter is disappears, and the subject is prime. If your emotion or idea is strong, make the photo.
If you try these ideas out, you might find yourself with less sub-par snapshots, and more on-point photographs.
Get Out There, and Observe.