Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and www.collegevolleyballcoach.com - glad to know that I have been able to assist you with the recruiting process.
The most important thing that college coaches do is recruit, and their number one focus in recruiting is their employment. Because of their recruiting efforts, they keep their jobs, they get raises, they get better jobs or they get fired.
With this in mind, of course the DI college coaches are telling families to engage in the recruiting process earlier. As for the clubs, the larger ones tend to have the best pathways of communications with college coaches and the club's motivation is business; looks great when they have players going off to major universities as a selling point to future club families.
I have three reasons for making the broad statement that families should not worry about the recruiting process as Freshman:
1) This is the most important decision of a young person's life, and to make it as a freshman in high school is illogical. The athlete is only 15 years old, and sometimes 14 years old; the vast majority of these young kids don't have the maturity to make such a decision, even with the support/input of the parents.
2. Even though the early recruitment/commitments gets our attention, this is a very small percentage of the total club volleyball population. For every Porsche who commits early, there are 1000 Toyotas who won't; don't get caught up in another's recruitment cycle. Unless your child is clearly a top 10 recruit, it is illogical to ramp up your recruiting tempo (and even if she is, see #3). Better to keep things mellow, as to better focus after the Freshman year.
3. There is too much uncertainty in today's DI athletics and college volleyball world. Between the propensity of college coaches to cut players (One and Done, and None and Done), along with the coaching turnover, makes for a very uncertain collegiate volleyball existence. Unless it is absolutely a player's dream school, and they would absolutely stay at the that school if no longer a part of the team, making a freshman commitment is not a good choice.
Parents have to remember that they have the power, even though they think that the college coaches do - The player/family says yes or no. There are any number of quality collegiate programs out there, at so many levels; if one DI program won't wait for a sophomore or junior commitment, then there will be another program (DI or not) who will.