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Practice kicking your legs. Whether you're floating on your back or still holding on to the side of the pool, you can practice kicking. (To see how far each kick can propel you, practice it using a kickboard. This allows you to focus on your kicking technique without worrying about keeping your head above water.)[6]
Try a flutter kick. Point your toes out like a ballerina, keep your legs mostly straight, and alternate legs as you make small kicks. You should feel the most flexion in your ankles.
Try a whip kick. Keep your legs held tightly together from your hips to your knees, and from your knees to your ankles. Bend your knees so that your shins come up to about a 90-degree angle, then quickly bring your shins apart and move them in a circular motion, keeping your thighs together the whole time. (That is, trace half a circle with each leg, moving your right leg to the right and your left leg to the left.) Bring your shins back together at the bottom of the circle, and lift them up again to restart the kick.
Try an eggbeater kick. This kick is commonly used to tread water, and stay in a vertical position with your head and shoulders above water. Start with your knees bent and your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Then "pedal" each leg as you would on a bike, only they'll go in opposite directions: while one leg pedals "forward," the other leg should pedal "backward." This one takes some practice to get used to, but it's handy for "resting" when your feet can't touch bottom.
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