Question: How do you determine the college level a player should shoot for? Just by metrics? By travel ball stats? My daughter’s strengths are not in metrics, but she has always been a solid performer, is a smart player, coachable and a good teammate. How do coaches evaluate those non-metric qualities and how does she showcase them?
Answer: There are several ways to approach your question. At the risk of seeming self-serving, let me start by saying I encourage you to get a copy of my book, Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level, because it will provide more in-depth info and guidance than I can give you in an email or post. I promise you it will be well worth the investment.
Having said that, one unfortunate fact of recruiting (like life) is that it's almost never fair. There are college coaches who recruit by numbers--e.g., stats, metrics, arm speed, pitch speed, and so on--even though some of the players they recruit never produce as expected. And there are coaches who will only recruit players who "wow" them--often in a single game--by big hits or lots of strikeouts. (Even though on the kaleidoscope of recruiting everyone knows that any player can have a great OR a terrible game at any time, and if you base your assessment upon that one game, you may miss out on a terrific player or pick up a dud!)
Fortunately, there are coaches who will take the time to follow a player at her travel ball games or work with her at camps or at a tryout and pay attention to her consistency, her dependability, her steadiness, her clutch ability, etc.
Where your daughter is concerned, I would suggest you follow the steps in my book for creating a packet to send college coaches by snail mail whenever the time is right. (This can start when she's a sophomore, but it might not be finished until she's a senior since many college coaches don't get serious about recruiting until the player is finishing her junior year.)
The process is fairly straightforward as long as her grades are top-notch (a solid B average or better in the required academic courses) and her SAT/ACT scores meet minimum NCAA/NAIA standards. The secret to finding the coach who will appreciate her steadiness and ability to produce will be to reach out to a lot of coaches at a variety of college teams! (How and when to do this is covered in my book.) Don't just target Div. I or local schools or schools whose names you recognize. Send information to Div. I, II, III AND NAIA colleges in order to get a sense of where her "Wow Factor" lies. (NOTE: Be sure that you understand NCAA/NAIA recruiting guidelines--also covered in my book and on their websites--so that you know when coaches can respond to her inquiries.)
In my many years of experience, this is the best way to begin to identify what I refer to in my book as your player's Target Zone and to ensure she finds a college coach who will appreciate her strengths, work ethic, consistency, etc.