Thanks for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and I am glad it can be of help to your family as you progress with the recruiting craziness.
Your question is the first one I have had specific to the skill of jump setting. My understanding of jump setting, which comes from the perspective of having played the setting position and having coached many years of Division I Volleyball, is it speeds up the tempo of the attack options, while also tightening up the release/technique of the setter.
Jump setting is not so much an opportunity for a setter to illustrate her athleticism, or to look more dynamic for the Triple C's (Crazy College Coaches).
The basic tenant of a setter, is she/he is to deliver the ball to the hitter. When evaluating setters, college coaches look to the hands first; how quick is the release, how does the setter present her hands before setting the ball, where does the setter finish with the hands, where does the setter actually set the ball from in relation to the forehead, are the hips squared to the target, is she stopped and balanced when she sets the ball, does she jump set, how well does she jump set, etc.
After coaches get done with the physicality of the setter, we move onto the nuances of the mentality of the setter. Does she run an offense or just set the ball, does she positively interact with her team mates, does she apply what the coach tells her to do, does she set the correct hitter in specific situations, does she lead the team in some fashion?
With elite Division I programs, jump setting will be an important skill because these programs tend to run a faster offense with taller hitters. The skill of jump setting allows the setter to deliver the ball quicker to these players and at a better trajectory for attacking.
Outside of upper DI, college coaches would like to have their setter jump set, but more important is that their setter set the ball well. If they find a very good setter who encompasses all the physical and mental skills listed above, but happens to stand and set, then not jump setting is not a negative. If a setter has the ability to set well when jump setting, then they should jump set.
A sometimes positive of jump setting, is it can clean and quicken up a setter's hand release. A jump set forces a setter to use just her hands to make the set, and to direct the ball where it needs to go, a quick release will be used. It is volleyball magic to see how much faster a setter's hands become when they are forced to jump set. It would be better to call it 'hop' setting, because it is a small jump, not a big jump. A big jump tends to take too much energy out of the eventual set; when you view good setters who jump set, the jump is not huge.
Many younger setters, or older less talented setters, will use their legs to push the ball to the target; this use of the legs to push tends to slow down the hand release on the volleyball. I have found that the less time a setter's hands are on the ball, the better. When one of my setters was struggling with targeting, I would tell her to quicken up her release and jump set whenever possible.
But, some setters have become so 'attached' to their legs when setting, that jump setting is a negative; they cannot compensate with their hands for the loss of the leg push. They have no consistency with targeting. I have seen a number of good setters, who are very poor jump setters; in this situation, jump setting should be only used in tight passes.
Thank you once again for the compliments about Inside College Volleyball.
Coach Matt Sonnichsen