Pokemon Sword and Shield: ‘You Can’t Throw a Poke Ball, It Won’t Let Its Guard Down’ Explained

Pokemon Sword and Shield: ‘You Can’t Throw a Poke Ball, It Won’t Let Its Guard Down’ Explained

Getting the ‘You Can’t Throw a Poke Ball, It Won’t Let Its Guard Down’ message when trying to catch a Pokemon? Here’s what it means.

While exploring the Wild Area in Pokemon Sword and Shield, you're likely to encounter some powerful Pokemon, but when trying to catch them you'll get the message ‘you can’t throw a Poke Ball, it won’t let its guard down’. We'll explain below what this message means and how you can get around it to start catching Pokemon again.

On this page:

‘You Can’t Throw a Poke Ball, It Won’t Let Its Guard Down’ in Pokemon Sword and Shield Explained

If you're seeing the message ‘you can’t throw a Poke Ball, it won’t let its guard down’ in Pokemon Sword and Shield, it's a result of encountering Pokemon in the Wild Area that you don't have a sufficiently high enough gym badge to catch. Whereas in previous games you could catch Pokemon of any level, but having too few gym badges would make them disobedient, now you simply can't catch Pokemon if they're too high level for you, getting the message above.

How to Catch High-Level Pokemon

To make sure you don’t get the ‘Can’t throw a Poke Ball’ message while exploring the Wild Area, you will need to collect more Gym Badges. At the end of each Gym battle you’ll be told the maximum level of Pokemon you can now catch, so keep it in mind while facing new Pokemon.

Gym Badges and Catching Pokemon

Below we've listed out all the gym badges and what Pokemon they'll allow you to catch up to. If you want to start catching Pokemon of a certain level, check the table below and aim for the right gym.

If this message is coming up, you'll need a better gym badge to catch a Pokemon of that level. | Nintendo
GymLeader/TypeAllows You to Catch Pokemon Up to Level:
TurffieldMilo/Grass25
HulburyNessa/Water30
MotostokeKabu/Fire35
Stow-On-SideBea/Fighting (Sword) or Allister/Ghost (Shield)40
BallonleaOpal/Fairy45
CirchesterGordie/Rock (Sword) or Melony/Ice (Shield)50
SpikemuthPiers/Dark55
HammerlockeRaihan/Dragon100/Max Level

That’s everything on the ‘Can’t Throw a Poke Ball’ message in Sword and Shield. For more on the game be sure to check out our guide on all of the TM Move Locations. There;s also our detailed breakdown on all of the Evolution Stones in the game, and info on getting a Charmander.

Jake Green

Guides Editor

Jake is a former freelance writer who now heads up guides for USG. He spends his days dreaming of an X-Files dating-sim and will play literally any game with monkeys in it. He has an unhealthy obsession with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and would pretty much trade a kidney for Skate 4 at this point.

In other news

Shigeru Miyamoto Expresses Confidence in the Younger Generation of Nintendo

The legendary creator says the spirit will stay alive.

NPD: PS5 Sets New US Console Launch Records While Switch Holds Strong

A strong debut for Sony hasn't stopped Switches from flying off shelves.

The Last of Us Part 2 Takes Home Top Prize at The Game Awards: Here Are All the Winners

Hades, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Among Us did get some well-earned love too.

You may also like

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: Death by a Thousand Cyber-Cuts

Even if you get beyond the bugs, it's just not worth it.

Stardew Valley Just Got Beaches, Fish Tanks, Swimming Ducks, and a Whole Lot More

Nearly five years on, Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone just pushed what he says is Stardew's "biggest update yet."

Alien: Isolation Is Free on Epic and Just As Good as It Was in 2014

Get the motion tracker and don't go in the vents.