[While I’m already thinking of it I should write some stuff down about Barry being a trainer
I talked about it a lot already in this post, but Barry isn’t a fantastic trainer. He falls slightly about the curve of trainers at his current skill level. Most of the lower portion of that curve is from people who let go of training early to pursue other things.
While on his journey, Barry was completely focused on becoming stronger. Everything he did was about training. He wasn’t exactly good at it at first, but he learned to do what worked for him. He had to focus on training one Pokemon at a time or he would get run off the track. Find a Pokemon your Pokemon couldn’t beat without a hassle? Run and move onto the next one, because if he swapped out, he’d then be focused on using that Pokemon in training and forget that his new Pokemon still needed to be trained.
That’s one reason his Pokemon have a fairly good coverage of types. Almost all of his Pokemon have at least one move to take out opponents that would be strong against him. In battles against other trainers, he’ll swap out and consider which Pokemon would be strong against that one, but if he doesn’t have anything obvious (he has no counter for ghosts, psychic types, fairy types, things like that), generally he won’t switch out. He’ll just chip with whatever Pokemon he does have until they faint because he doesn’t know what else to do. If a Pokemon is strong against the Pokemon he has out at the moment, but he doesn’t have a Pokemon strong against that, his Go-to Pokemon is his Snorlax (in the event that the other Pokemon isn’t a fighting type). He sometimes forgets what moves a Pokemon he was just fighting knows if his opponent switches out a lot, so high tier competitive battling is not something he’s ready for yet.
Now a days, Barry of course still wants to get stronger, but that focus and motivation he had while collecting gym badges has sort of wavered. He’s at a weird point where he’s become a bit too strong for the trainers he meets on the road, but still too weak (not actually weak, just without a strategy, but he doesn’t understand that yet) to take on the elite four or do very well in the battle frontier. It doesn’t stop him from trying whenever the thought hits him, but he’s been getting more and more distracted by other points of traveling. He goes into the tunnels to explore, looks over points of interest in towns, things of that nature.
To others, it appears that he’s slowed down, but he hasn’t really slowed down so much as he is taking the winding paths of the road. That’s why he has a job now. That’s why he’ll stop and do things for strangers.
He’s at a point in his trainer career where it takes serious determination, strategy and focus to rise up the ranks. One way he’s compensating for this rut is by getting more Pokemon he can train up to his current team’s level, since he doesn’t get that it’s not his team composition that’s the problem (though, honestly, it isn’t the best team out there), it’s how he’s using them.
But, on the other hand, he’s very attached to his Pokemon and doesn’t want to replace them.
Another thing I forgot to mention is he’s also scared? Of not being strong enough to do what he needs to? So going against a new tier of tough trainers after the events with Galactic are super daunting and one reason he’s off track.]