Once you have found your Pokémon - whether it was by finding the Pokémon Type by location, or from using the in-game radar or a tracker like Pokevision - you then have to then catch it inside a Pokéball.
The process is easier said than done, especially when Pokémon you find can be more powerful than your Trainer level, and there's several ways to increase your chances of trapping them inside a Pokéball - and get a little extra XP in the process.
How Nice, Great and Excellent throws work
Once you've found a Pokémon on the map, tap them to start the capture process. Whether in augmented mode (placing the Pokémon in the real world) or in-game, time your throws to when the coloured circle round them is at their smallest. If you manage to land the ball in the circle, the greater the chance of success in capturing the Pokémon.
To do this, press and hold on the Pokéball to make the circle appear, and then throw it when you're ready with a swipe. Remember, the closer you get to the centre, the better the throw type - it goes from Nice for most of the circle, Great for around half, and Excellent when it's close to the middle.
Of course, the risk rewards is the smaller the circle, the easier it is to miss and / or more of a chance the circle will loop back around, so be sure to practice the timing to get it just right. It's worth it, though, as the XP gains are pretty substantial:
- Catch a Pokémon with a Curveball - 10 XP
- Catch a Pokémon with a Nice throw - 10 XP
- Catch a Pokémon with a Great throw - 50 XP
- Catch a Pokémon with an Excellent Throw - 100XP
Use Curveballs to get a bonus when catching Pokemon
As well as the above timing and position-based captures, you can also throw Curveballs at Pokémon, which not only increases your chances of capture, but also gives you a little extra XP for your trouble, as you can see in the above list.
To throw a Curveball, start by holding the Pokéball and rotating it round. When you throw, it'll then curve in the rotation you spun the ball; if it's clockwise, then it'll go to the right, and if anti-clockwise, to the left. As such, if you throw it in the opposite direction, it'll curve towards the centre.
Throw perfect Curveballs with the 'L throw' technique
Players have recently discovered a technique that allows you to easily throw a Curveball with almost every attempt.
The process is simple; spin the Pokéball going clockwise, then move the ball up the left-most side of the screen, and release at the same height as the Pokémon. Assuming the Pokéemon didn't move or attack, it should land and start the capture process.
If you position it just right, you'll also land the ball within the circle, increasing your chances of capture and netting you bonus XP. And of course, if you prefer, you can release the ball on the right-most side of the screen - provided you spin the Pokéball anti-clockwise instead.
YouTube user MegaToys Collector shows the L-throw technique in action:
Use items and Razz Berries to help catch stubborn Pokémon
As you play and find more creatures, you'll soon notice that Pokémon become more difficult to catch.
You can spot this in two ways; the throwing circle will become graded from green to yellow to red (easiest to toughest), or Pokémon won't even have a CP level, suggesting they are too powerful for you to catch. In you come across these more powerful Pokémon, expect them to take a little longer to catch, or to run away sooner than other types.
It's during these instances that items come in handy. As you level up your Trainer, you'll unlock and receive items that can help. Razz Berries are best dropped at the start of encounters to soften creatures up (if you check in at enough PokéStops, then you should have plenty to then drop one at the start of most encounters) as well as the ability to collect and use Great Balls from level 12, and Ultra Balls at level 20. These are rarer, more powerful variants than the traditional Pokéball, and while they don't guarantee a capture, are worth switching to if you find a creature you want is proving difficult to catch.
Want more help with Pokémon Go's Gen 2 update? Our list of new Gen 2 Johto Pokémon can teach you where to find each one, what you need to know about new Pokémon Go Berries, Special Items to evolve Pokémon such as King's Rock, Sun Stone, Up-Grade, Dragon Scale and Metal Coat, and how to get Eevee evolutions Umbreon, Espeon, and updated Egg distances and best Pokémon charts, as well as other Pokémon Go tips, tricks, cheats and guides.
Other tips and pointers to catch Pokemon easily:
- Turn off the augmented reality (also known as AR) mode. Not only does this save on your phone's battery life when playing Pokemon Go, but it means the Pokemon are fixed in position and can be easier to throw balls at. That said, with some Pokémon appearing on screen at different heights and distances - such as the particularly annoying Zubat - then switching AR on and positioning it in a more accessible place on the screen could be a good idea.
- The speed and length of the swipe impacts the trajectory of the ball, with longer swipes arcing into place, and shorter ones zipping there a little faster. Experiment with what you are more comfortable with and have greater success doing.
- If you find yourself multiple Curveballs over and over in the same encounter - without seemingly spinning them in the first place - then you might have encountered the 'Curveball bug' that some users have encountered at some point. Your best bet is to run away from the encounter and go back in again, and hopefully it should clear.
- The 'quickthrow' technique - which had you ping a ball at the Pokémon as soon as the encounter would allow you to, making for easy captures - has seemingly been nerfed as part of the July 31 update. While it could return, it's best to assume that you'll have to rely on some of the more 'standard' techniques going forward to capture creatures.
- Most of Pokémon Go's Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals and Catch Bonus requirements ask you to catch a lot of Pokémon - so if you need a reason to catch extra creatures while you hone your skills, then think about unlocking 'em all.