I went to an NHL game once live. It was pretty impressive. I had watched on TV for years and even been to a few college hockey games. Icing calls in the NHL have to get touched by a player. This means they are "sprinting" after the puck. They are REALLY fast. It's a speed that you can't quite grasp when watching the sport on TV.
One thing that I encourage families and athletes to do more is go watch college volleyball. Being in DFW we are a little spoiled with the amount of programs that are in and around our area. Not only are there a lot of programs, but they cover a huge spectrum. Everything from D3 to P5 D1 schools are just a drive away.
Why is this important? If you want to know what level you can/should be playing at, you should go watch some of that volleyball. If you want to play in the Big 12, then go watch some of their volleyball games LIVE. Watching it on TV is different. You really need to be there in order to figure out the speed of the game and how hard the ball is hit.
One of my least favorite emails to receive as a college coach was an email from a club or high school coach that said, "She will make your program better." Now that statement might have been true or false, that wasn't what would make me mad. What upset me was that the statement was coming from someone that I didn't know; they had never been in my gym; they had never been to a practice; they had never been to an actual match. How could they possibly know one way or another if an athlete could help my program? The fact was, they had no idea. They were making a statement to which they never had the premise to make.
I would love to see more athletes go watch college volleyball. Go find out if that level is where you want to play and if that level will be a good fit for you. Remember that volleyball is insanely competitive and that 1.2% of the athletes that are playing high school volleyball will play at the D1 level.
I talk pretty often in the difference between the TOP of D1 and the bottom. Wanting to play D1 is a fantastic goal, but it's important to remember that the 300+ RPI teams are not at the same level as the Top 25. In the same way the TOP of D2 is NOT at the level below those 300+ RPI teams. There isn't necessarily a specific metric that gives us an idea of where at D2 program sits compared to D1 programs. Safe to say that Tampa (D2) has one several National Championships, which would put them ABOVE plenty of D1 programs.
This is why camps are so important.
Go play with those athletes. See if you fit. Go see if you match up with their other recruits.
If you can't get to camp, try and go watch them play live. Schools travel across the country during the first 4 weeks of the season. Chances are that school or maybe another school in their conference (sometimes a good comparison) is coming to play somewhere near you. I know it's a lot with high school school season being at the same time, but do your best to take advantage of those opportunities.