We doubles players talk about poaching off of service returns quite a lot. I'm starting to wonder whether it is just talk. In my last match, I kind of noticed that I hadn't done much poaching. Sure, I was picking off balls during rallies and handling any floaters in the appropriate way. But I wasn't doing much about service returns -- very little shooting across the net to pick off a service return. I decided to Get Serious and see what happened. I'm not sure of the number, but I managed to pick off a few service returns in the second set. Maybe five? Of these, three were winners and two were returned. Not a huge number, I admit. So. Not a lot of poaching off of returns is going on when I play. Yet much of what we discuss here presumes that the net player is picking off service returns. We say she should start the point close to the net, the better for putting away service returns. We say she should confer with the server about placement of the serve, the better to anticipate when a poach will be possible. Yet at my level, there is so little poaching going on that I am starting to wonder whether it makes sense to do any of this strategizing. I mean, I just confessed that I'm not poaching much. Worse, I have partners I have played with for years who, so far as I can remember, have never once took off aggressively to try to poach a service return. So why keep positioning and communicating to plan for something that Ain't Gonna Happen? I think it would be interesting to see exactly how many service return poaches us doubles players get in a typical match, with "poach" being defined as a ball you move to aggressively and offensively. I'm not talking about floaters that come right to your racket that any small child could put away. I have a match tomorrow. I'll keep a mental tally of my poaches and report back. I'd be interested to hear how many service returns you other doubles players are poaching.