UH Trainer Kim Crabtree Is Living The Basketball Life

 Crabtree and her players having fun at a recent training session

Crabtree and her players having fun at a recent training session

When Ultimate Hoops trainer Kim Crabtree plays pickup basketball at Life Time Fitness in Flower Mound, TX she’s often the only female on the court. And while newcomers might underestimate her ability to hoop, members who have played against Crabtree over the years know exactly who they’re playing against.

Crabtree is a mom of four. But she’s also a member of the Texas H.S. Basketball Hall of Fame and a four-year letterwinner at the University of Texas.

“Now that I’ve been playing here for years, nobody takes it easy on me,” says Crabtree. “The opposing team isn’t going to let me touch the ball because they don't want me to shoot.”

Crabtree is a Texas native who learned the game of basketball from a very early age. After leading Cleburne High School to the Texas 4A State Championship as a senior, Crabtree committed to the Texas Longhorns and went on to earn the No. 2 rank in all-time three-pointers made in school history, along with the career free-throw percentage mark (83.9 percent).

“From a really early age, I knew basketball was my passion,” says Crabtree. “After playing four years as a student-athlete, I spent my fifth year there as a student coach under Jodi Conrad. Career wise, I’ve been involved in basketball almost my entire life, either as a player, a student or a teacher.”

After joining Life Time Fitness as a member, Crabtree soon became a trainer with Ultimate Hoops. With her experience as a player, coach and parent, the move made perfect sense.

“My husband I were looking for a place to play pickup, and we found Life Time Fitness,” Crabtree recalls. “We have four daughters, and we were looking for a place where we could run games and have child care on site."

“Once I got into Life Time, I loved the facility and the staff was phenomenal. I thought they offered everything besides basketball training. I approached the gym and asked if I could start some kind of basketball program. I started with the younger kids, and it was a natural transition.”

Crabtree specializes working with children, especially middle schoolers.

“Demographically, my biggest group is that 10 to 14 year old range,” Crabtree said. “I have basketball classes that I offer from the age of four all the way through high school, and it’s small group work. Right now I’m training my youngest daughter who is four, and my oldest athlete is 22. It’s a broad range of age and skill.”

One of the more rewarding parts of training for Crabtree is being able to set good habits for young players early so they aren’t hampered as they get older. Sometimes, she’s training her own daughters, which is extra special.

“What I love is that when my kids turn four, I start them in my classes,” says Crabtree. “We show them how to have fun with fitness and how to stay healthy. They’re learning fundamentals at a very early age, so they don’t develop bad habits. I get to be their first teacher and show them how to handle a basketball, how to take a shot, all the little things that when they’re 9 or 10. It will pay off for them to have a head start.”

Another time that Crabtree feels like she made a difference is hearing that her athletes have accomplished their goals, like making a certain team.

“When you’re trying to prepare a kid for tryouts, as a trainer, I don’t have the ability to ensure they make a team,” says Crabtree. “All I can do is equip them and prepare them. We’re prepping for several months when they know tryouts are coming, and at Ultimate Hoops we’re trying to give them confidence. When they make it on their teams, those are cool moments.”

Between spending time with her family, training youth players for a living and jumping in on pickup games when she can, Crabtree’s days are filled with basketball. We have a feeling that she will continue to spread passion for the game throughout Flower Mound and Ultimate Hoops for years to come.