There may be multiple phases, but there is no separation between each phase. Each phase transitions smoothly into the next. There should be no stops, stalls or pauses. That does not mean that every phase moves at the same pace, just that there is no separation.
The Setup is perhaps the most important phase of the stroke. If you do not position yourself to make a good Setup, you can not make a good Catch. If you do not make a good Catch, there is nothing you can do downstream in the stroke to make up for it; it’s a lost stroke. So, the first rule of the Setup is to be deliberate with the positioning of your blade and your body. Be patient with the Setup and you will be rewarded with a more powerful Drive.
#1: Reduce top arm movement
As your top arm moves around, so does the bottom arm, there are many symptoms to look for, but the biggest will be a paddle that is all over the place, going vertical to horizontal etc.
Try and envision your top arm almost perfectly straight, just slightly relaxed. Keep the top hand in front of your forehead area, from about the height of your head to the height of your adams apple. If you pay attention you will notice that the top hand will move in a D shape. When paddling on the right side the straight part of the D is the drive, the curved side is the return.
Increase reach, increase A Frame
The next issue is the size of your A frame. We need you to open up and get a bigger reach, a bigger frame, so you can have more leverage into your drive. Once you have the correct frame you will begin to train your body to be built with the appropriate strength to allow you the highest potential leverage, but this requires time and training. You will get there.