I played Pokemon Go quite hardcore recently, and I just reached level 23. One thing I still can't convince myself is that does throw a ball closer to the certain of the circle give you higher chance to catch the pokemon?

Of course I know that the smaller the circle is, the higher chance I will have. But does that mean when the circle is at its smallest, I can just throw the ball anywhere and just barely hit the pokemon and still get a highest chance? Or do I still have to target the center of the circle? I have this question because I feel if I wait until the circle reaches its smallest, then I have to throw the ball swiftly, and thus having a poor control of targeting it closer to the center.

The offical guide doesn't emphisize on this "accuracy" point. And I can't conclude from my own experience either: sometimes it does seem throwing closer to the center increases my chance, sometimes it does not.

Any help is appreciated.

  • It's worth noting here that depending on how 'in the center of the circle' you hit the Pokeball, you can get 'Great' and 'Excellent' shots, that give you an additional 100 and 150 XP, respectively.
    – pay
    Jul 14, 2016 at 20:32
  • @pay Isn't it Nice (10), Great (50), and Excellent (100)? Jul 17, 2016 at 22:04

3 Answers 3


Getting a Throw Bonus will increase your chances of getting a Pokemon, with an Excellent Throw resulting in a rather sharp spike to catch chances.

However, to get the XP bonus (and the catchrate bonus), you actually have to hit inside the shrinking circle. It isn't enough to wait for the circle to become small, you must still hit inside the circle and get the bonus.

You can also take your time throwing: the circle will expand out after hitting its smallest point.

  • I see, but the throw bonus are pretty rare. So if say I didn't have a bonus throw, do throws that are closer to the center give higher catch chances than throws that barely hit the pokemon? Jul 15, 2016 at 5:13
  • 1
    "Getting a Throw Bonus will increase your chances of getting a Pokemon" Did you look in the game's code or have a source for this? I know from what Niantic wrote that smaller circle increases your chances. I don't know about bonuses (nice, great, excellent) Jul 17, 2016 at 21:55
  • @CreativiTimothy You answered your own question! The smaller circle increases your chances but the smaller circle only takes effect if you hit inside it, thereby earning you the bonus and better chances.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Jul 17, 2016 at 21:58
  • @KazWolfe Hmm, from my experience, I threw a pokeball 3 times in a row, getting "Great!" each time, but all of them with the Pokemon popping out. Giving up on the bonus, I threw it at a very small circle, completely missing it by hitting outside the circle (didn't get Excellent), but it caught the Pokemon. From this experience, I think that regardless if you hit inside or outside the circle, the smallest circle gives the higher chance. Of course, if you looked into the game's code, that would disprove my experience? (re-commented because of typo) Jul 17, 2016 at 22:14
  • 1
    @CreativiTimothy Every time you get the bonus it ups your base catch chance. So the two Great!s increased your chances for the third attempt.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Jul 17, 2016 at 22:16

To catch a Pokémon:

  1. When a wild Pokémon is nearby, your device will vibrate, and the Pokémon will appear on the map. Touch the Pokémon to begin your attempt to catch it.
  2. The Pokémon will appear in front of you. Note: You may need to orient your device or switch out of camera mode
  3. Touch and hold your Poké Ball.
  4. A target ring will appear around the Pokémon. The ring’s color indicates the difficulty level of capturing the Pokémon. A green ring indicates the capture is low difficulty, orange indicates intermediate difficulty, and red indicates extreme difficulty
  5. You have the greatest chance of capturing the Pokémon while the colored ring is at its smallest diameter. At the opportune moment, fling the Poké Ball toward the Pokémon
  6. If you are successful, the Poké Ball will capture the Pokémon. Watch out, though—Pokémon can escape from the Poké Ball. Tip: Drag and rapidly spin the Poké Ball in a circular motion before you release it for a chance to receive a curveball bonus. Source:https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/221957648-Finding-and-Catching-wild-Pok%C3%A9mon
  • Thanks for adding the linked-reference; much more informational that way. Sep 12, 2016 at 20:25

This is all purely based on my experience, but I think that the smallest circle, regardless of whether you get the bonus by hitting inside or not, gives you the highest chance.

I threw a pokeball 3 times at a 79CP Growlithe, getting "Great!" 3 times in a row, but it popped out every time. I decided to give up on the bonus and aim for the smallest circle. I totally missed the smallest circle because the pokeball curved to the right and was overshot, but I still caught it.

So for difficult Pokemon, I usually give up the bonus and just throw it when the circle is the smallest. For easier and medium Pokemon, I aim for "Great!" throws to boost my XP.

Unless someone can look into the game's code or find a source, I'll update this answer with more experiences to confirm. Please comment below if you had the same or different experience.

  • My experience agrees with yours. I'd like to upvote you but I have no proof. Aug 7, 2017 at 23:32

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