Objective - improvement of annual preparation of highly skilled track and fi eld athletes on the basis of qualitative approach to participation in the competitions.
Methods: theoretical analysis and generalization of scientifi c and methodical literature and information of Internet, printed and electronic sources of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), methods of mathematical statistics. The total number of competitions participated by the winners of the IAAF World Championship (n = 127) during a year was determined; the number of competitions before and after the 2017 World Championship; a study of the relationship between diff erent age categories of athletes and the number of competitions in the system of annual preparation was conducted.
Results. Depending on the specifi cs of the discipline, event and age, quantitative indices of participation in competitions of the World Championship winners have been determined. The total number of competitions during the year for the best athletes in the speed-strength events of track and fi eld constituted 12, in the endurance events 2-7; before the World Championship - 7-11 (short-distance running, hurdling, track and fi eld jumps, throwing events) 1-3 (long-distance running, steeplechase, marathon running, walking); after the championship - 1-3 in various types of competitions. According to the number of competitions in diff erent age groups and gender characteristics, the parameters were insignifi cant.
Conclusion. The fi ndings prove conclusively that highly skilled athletes tend to implement an intensive approach (i.e., based on usage of qualitative preparation characteristics - optimum number of competitions in the system of annual preparation, their rational distribution within a year).