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In the Harry Potter movies, when they are playing Quidditch you can see that there is only one Quaffle, but when one team throws the Quaffle into the other net you see it go through the hole and off a long way, far away from the Quidditch court. But then a second later you see someone on the team pass the Quaffle to a team-mate. How did they get the Quaffle back so quickly after they threw it so far away from the field? I doubt that magic can do that.

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"Accio quaffle!" – Valorum Mar 13 at 18:01
Because the films are nonsense? – Rand al'Thor Mar 13 at 18:04
No, the contestants aren't allowed to use wands, not the grounds staff. – Valorum Mar 13 at 18:05
You realise that you're watching a movie, not the Quidditch Super Bowl? – Lilienthal Mar 13 at 20:53
it's likely the magic of jump cuts – user13267 Mar 14 at 2:30
up vote 24 down vote accepted

According to "Quidditch through the Ages" modern quaffles are bewitched to remain in the air if dropped. Presumably it would be trivially simply to also include an enchantment keeps the quaffle within the field of play and/or return to the referee if thrown through a hoop.

Chasers were also becoming increasingly irritated by the necessity of diving continually towards the ground to retrieve the Quaffle whenever they missed a catch and so, shortly after the Quaffle’s change of colour, the witch Daisy Pennifold had the idea of bewitching the Quaffle so that if dropped, it would fall slowly earthwards as though sinking through water, meaning that Chasers could grab it in mid-air. The ‘Pennifold Quaffle’ is still used today.

Note that in The Philosopher's Stone, a player was evidently able to use this auto-return feature to an extreme advantage.

The whole crowd were on their feet, watching, terrified, as the Weasleys flew up to try and pull Harry safely on to one of their brooms, but it was no good – every time they got near him, the broom would jump higher still. They dropped lower and circled beneath him, obviously hoping to catch him if he fell. Marcus Flint seized the Quaffle and scored five times without anyone noticing.

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone

There's also the slim possibility that Hogwarts Quidditch matches operate on the same principle as professional matches, with match officials set around the perimeter to return the balls:

The effective Quidditch referee needs to be more than an expert flier. He or she has to watch the antics of fourteen players at once and the most common referee’s injury is consequently neck strain. At professional matches the referee is assisted by officials who stand around the boundaries of the pitch and ensure that neither players nor balls stray over the outer perimeter.

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By some camera cuts between scenes, I would assume.

When you're watching a film, often things don't happen on-screen at the same pace as they would really be happening. Don't assume that because one scene appears on the screen a second after another, things must necessarily be happening that quickly in-universe.

Nobody wants to sit and wait for the Quaffle to be recovered (perhaps by ground staff, as @Richard suggested in comments) and returned to the pitch for the players to reclaim. If you were a Hogwarts student watching a Quidditch match in real life, you'd have to do that waiting, but at least you're outdoors, surrounded by friends, and can talk to people or cheer for your team while you're waiting. If you're sitting indoors and watching a film, then "ain't nobody got time for that", as they say.

Quidditch is already massively under-represented in the films compared to the books: many whole matches cut out entirely, and others cut down to the bare essentials of what's relevant to the story. Part of that cutting down to the bare essentials would involve not showing any boring bits where the Quaffle zooms away and is reclaimed and returned to the teams.

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The novels would suggest that there are no obvious cuts where the quaffle is retrieved. In one case, it only takes a few seconds (while Harry and Malfoy banter) for the quaffle to be returned to play. – Valorum Mar 13 at 20:58
@Richard Yes, but I assumed the OP was talking about the film version of the Potterverse. A novel-based answer would have looked quite different, and would probably have started with the obligatory "Because the films are nonsense." – Rand al'Thor Mar 13 at 21:00
That scene wasn't 90 minutes long, so obviously they cut some stuff. That being said, in other modern sporting events they have extra balls available so that play may be restarted immediately. When someone hits a home run in Giant's Stadium, they don't stop play until someone can go fish that ball out of San Francisco Bay. – T.E.D. Mar 14 at 1:10
@T.E.D. Would be pretty awesome if they did, though. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 14 at 1:50
@Janus Bahs Jacquet - especially if it was one of the fielders, who had to get his Speedos on to do so. – Steve Ives Mar 14 at 12:07

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