She has a strong desire to play at the next level, and she did not get a lot of exposure this past season. However, she did get some interest from colleges in spite of the limited playing time.
My question is this. Let's say coaching is equal and knowing that next year is important recruiting wise, what would be the better option? Staying with the elite club and limited playing time or going with a mid tier club and getting extensive playing time and more opportunities to showcase her talents?
Move to the mid level club to get the playing time, especially if the club coaching is equal. She needs to be on the court as much as possible to demonstrate her talent level. If she wants to be an Outside Hitter in college, and with her physical stats she would slot into a variety of collegiate levels (lower DI, DII, NAIA….) the college coaches need to be able to evaluate her doing all the various things that an OH does.
As families move into their 17's or Junior year of club volleyball, they must take a hard look at what they are receiving for their club payments. All too often, the status of a certain club or a certain team within a certain club takes on too much importance. Granted there are situations where being with a name brand, national elite program has specific recruiting advantages but older high school players must be playing to be recruited.
There is a difference between playing and starting - It is ok not to be a starter in the recruiting process, as long as the athlete is afforded the opportunity to get on the court and play meaningful rotations in a club event. It can be a delicate balance for the coach/team and the player/family for competitive success and individual playing time. While acknowledging that I have never coached club volleyball, I lean toward athlete playing time (if the athlete has come to practice, worked hard and had a positive attitude) over team success simply because the families pay money to play club volleyball; while many teams specifically don't mention or emphasize the college recruiting avenue, it is the unwritten understanding that club volleyball is the vehicle to college volleyball.
Back to your daughter, if and when you move to the mid-level club, you must follow the change by actively reaching out to the college volleyball programs. Moving to better fitting club is step one; the next step is making sure the appropriate college volleyball programs know about your daughter and were they can evaluate her in person after reviewing her bio and video. This outreach should start in later November/early December, so when the active recruiting season of mid January hits, you are ahead of the curve!