Once you catch your first few Pokèmon, you feel compelled to explore other aspects of the game. It isn’t all about catching Pokèmon; players can also join teams and gyms, level their Pokèmon up, and of course, do battle with other trainers. Joining a team doesn’t have much of a benefit unless you eventually join a gym. You can join a team without joining a gym if you want to do it for the sake of it but the real benefit comes into play only if you join a gym. If you’re looking to join a gym, here’s how to do just that.
If You Haven’t Joined A Team
Step 1: Find a gym nearby. If you have several gyms nearby that are easily accessible to you, find them all on a map and pay close attention to what color they are. Each gym is controlled by a certain team and only players who belong to the same team can join it. The alternative is to capture the gym from the team that already controls it and that involves battling all the trainers in that gym. The gym turns the color of the team it belongs to blue for Mystic, red for Valor, and yellow for Instinct.
Step 2: Join a team i.e. join the same one as the gym you want to join. Pictured below is gym controlled by team Instinct. You can see the ‘Yellow’ color as well as the Pokèmon that the gym leader owns i.e. Pinsir.
If you’ve Already Joined A Team
Step 1: Find a gym that is controlled by the same team that you’ve joined. Again, use the color of the gym on the map to tell which team controls it.
Joining A Gym
Step 1: Visit the gym you want to join. When you’re in proximity, the gym ‘opens up’. You can now join it if it has slots available. Slots in gyms depend on its level and prestige. The higher it is, the more trainers can join it.
Step 2: Tap the join button indicated below and pledge one of your Pokèmon to the gym. This is like volunteering one as tribute. The Pokèmon will help defend the gym against other players who are trying to take control of it. By default, the game will volunteer your most powerful Pokèmon but you can choose a different one. Once the Pokèmon is assigned to the gym, you can’t get it back unless it’s kicked out. After you pledge one of your own Pokèmon, you are now a member of the gym you’ve pledged it to.
That’s all it takes. You can now start training your Pokèmon in the gym by battling them.