When you encounter a wild Pokémon in Pokémon GO and tap on a Pokéball to target the Pokémon, a colored ring that constantly shrinks shows up around the Pokémon. The color of this ring indicates how hard it is to catch the wild Pokémon, whereas the ring itself is meant to be used as an aiming aid. Landing a Pokéball within the shrinking ring and then capturing the wild Pokémon will reward you with one of the game’s three Pokéball throwing bonuses – the Nice Throw bonus, the Great Throw bonus and the Excellent Throw bonus, depending on the size of the ring when your Pokéball landed inside of it.
Pokémon GO also features one more Pokéball throwing bonus apart from the three usual Pokéball throwing bonuses – the Curveball bonus, which is awarded when the Pokéball that captures a wild Pokémon is either spun before it is thrown or travels along a curved path before landing on the Pokémon. All Pokéball throwing bonuses – including the Curveball bonus – offer both a specific amount of XP in addition to the usual XP from the capture of the wild Pokémon, and improved chances of the wild Pokémon the Pokéball lands on being caught by that specific Pokéball.
The following are all of the Pokéball throwing bonuses in the game, along with explanations as to what they are, what they offer and how they can be obtained:
The Nice Throw bonus
If the Pokéball you lob at the wild Pokémon in front of you manages to make contact inside the shrinking ring around the Pokémon while the ring is pretty large (somewhere between around 60% and 100% of its total size, as depicted in the image below), you will receive the Nice Throw bonus. While the Nice Throw bonus only gives out 10 XP in the way of additional XP as a reward for the throw, it does much more in the way of increasing the chances of the Pokéball successfully capturing the wild Pokémon.
The Great Throw bonus
You get a Great Throw bonus when you manage to throw a Pokéball at a wild Pokémon that lands inside the shrinking ring on the wild Pokémon while it is neither too large nor too small (which is basically when the ring is between about 60% and 30% of its total size, as depicted in the image below). A Great Throw lands you an additional 50 XP along with the XP you earn from actually catching the wild Pokémon, and also improves the odds of the wild Pokémon in front of you staying comfortably encapsulated within the Pokéball that has made contact with it.
The Excellent Throw bonus
An Excellent Throw is when your Pokéball lands inside the shrinking circle while it is at its smallest size threshold (less than 30% of its total size), as depicted in the image below. Since the target becomes pretty small at this point, Excellent Throws are the hardest of the three normal Pokéball throwing bonuses to execute. A successfully executed Excellent Throw, however, rewards players with an additional 100 XP (doubling the 100 XP that players are usually awarded for catching a Pokémon in the wild) and exponentially higher chances of the targeted Pokémon staying inside the Pokéball.
The Curveball bonus
A Curveball is when a Pokéball is spun before it is flung at a wild Pokémon or is thrown towards a wild Pokémon in an arc pointed towards the Pokémon. There are two different kinds of Curveballs – the ‘arc’ Curveball and the ‘spinning’ Curveball. The ‘arc’ Curveball always awards players with an additional 10 XP, whereas the ‘spinning’ Curveball rarely awards any additional XP. Both Curveballs, however, reward players with improved chances of capture, more so than any other Pokéball throwing bonuses, according to most players.