Objective. To carry out a comprehensive analysis of the schemes of direct preparation of top-level athletes for the main competitions of the year or macrocycle focused on achieving the state of the highest readiness for the start.
Methods. Study and analysis of scientifi c literature and practice of elite athletes training for the main competitions, instrumental methods for studying the energy systems capacities, psychomotor capabilities, testing of specifi c working capacity, historical method, logical method, expert survey, and system integrative approach.
Results. Comparative analysis was performed of alternative models of preparation during the time immediately preceding the main competitions of the year or macrocycle. The short-term (2-3 week long) Western model of tapering is aimed at ensuring a full recovery after the previous loads, technical and tactical and psychological adjustment to the start. The Eastern European model, which is longer in duration (of up to 8 weeks), has a much broader focus. It is shown that the latter model make possible to address a wide range of tasks related to ensuring a high level of general and specialized preparation, the formation of a natural training eff ect as a response to the previous loads with achieving a peak of functional preparation at the time of main competitions and the highest readiness at the moment of specifi c events. The content of the concepts of ‘tapering’ and ‘direct preparation’ is subjected to analysis, detailed information is presented on the structure of two diff erent schemes of tapering within direct preparation phase: the one of 5 weeks in duration with two mesocycles and the other 8 week-long with three mesocycles. Their principal advantage over the widespread 2-3-week tapering models is shown.