Before I get to your questions, there is something which you should ponder with the recruiting process and ultimately the transition collegiate volleyball - In your email, you indicated that your daughter will be 13 year's old as a freshman in high school? So, she is a good year or year and a half behind her school year age?
I bring this up because of the following ramifications:
1. She is playing up a year in school age, but up 2 years in physical age (at least).
2. College coaches will evaluate her based upon current skill sets and potential collegiate playing ability; with your daughter's "young age" this will need to be managed/communicated during the recruiting process.
3. If my math is correct, your daughter may be a 16 year old going off to college? There is a huge physical difference between 16 and 18 with women's volleyball players and the physical gap between 16 and 21 is enormous....and I have not touched upon the emotional maturity differences.
Back to your questions:
- I would not start engaging in the recruiting process until your daughter is a sophomore in high school and then, not until that spring. There is just too much craziness in today's collegiate athletic's world and your daughter is very young for her year. These two facts lend themselves to go as slow as possible in the early stages of recruiting - Freshman Free, Sophomore Slow.
- Players need to play the position they like best as they consider college recruiting. Even if your daughter is exactly skilled in two positions, she will enjoy/like/love playing one position more than the other.
I caution PSA's/Families from switching positions in hopes of attaining a more desirable recruiting status, if it takes away from the enjoyment and comfort zone of the player. For example, I have seen too many times where a smaller MB thinks she has to switch to OH to get recruited, even though she is better/happier in the middle or a smaller OH thinks that by moving to Libero, the Pac 12 will come knocking on her inbox. It is better to stay with the position you enjoy the most, but adjust your recruiting parameters.
In theory, there is more demand for OH's because there are more OH's on the court than setters. But, the OH position (in my opinion) may have the largest turnover in roster positions - coaches are quick to cut a player who may not be playing well or has not reached evaluated potential, and for a coach, they can always recruit another OH quickly.
Back to your daughter's age concerns:
- Even though she is talented, you may wish to rethink her playing up to 16's when she is just a 13 year old freshman and also if next year she is 14 year old playing up to 17's. Both physically and emotionally, she may not be where the others on the court are.
- By keeping her closer to her graduating age group, this will make it easier for college coaches to find and evaluate her skill sets.
- Keep a close on her physical development; if she lags behind physically to her graduating year (since she is young), you should consider having her being redshirted her freshman year as part of the recruiting process.
Good luck with all the craziness, and I will close with this - Don't invite the Recruiting Vampire in your door this year......enjoy your kid being a fabulous freshman because the priorities of the college coaches and even the club program will not be the same as your family's.