Before answering with a YES or a NO, let us just look at what difference does the weight actually produce and what kind of “weights” are there…?
Without going too much into detail, there are basically two weights, which should interest the normal “club player”, namely the actual weight of an un-strung racquet lifting it up from the ground and the weight it produces, when we swing it, the swing-weight. If the racquet is head-heavy (meaning the head dips down when held on the balance-point) then the swing-weight will be more than the “lift-weight”. If the grip dips down, holding the racquet on the balance-point, the swing-weight will be less than the actual lift-weight. Generally, heavy racquets will have a lighter swing-weight than weight (grip dipping down) and lighter racquets will have a heavier swing-weight than weight (head dipping down).
Now, the heavier a racquet is/swings, the more power it can produce but it also takes more power to swing it. You could also say, “I don’t need to swing it so hard to produce the same power as my lighter racquet”. A lighter racquet produces less power but can be swung easier. This also means then that you have to swing faster in order to produce the same power as a heavy racquet with less swing speed. Top ATP/WTA players are naturally capable of swinging heavier racquets faster and for a longer period of time, i.e. producing enormous power. Normal club-players will probably have to make the choice of playing with lighter racquets in general (typical between 245-315 grams unstrung) and swing the lighter ones in this category faster and the heavier ones a bit slower.
Is it then better or worse for my shoulder/elbow to play with a lighter racquet? Provided you are built “normally” for your height etc. the weight difference in itself (within reason), actually does not make a difference for your shoulder or elbow. It has more to do with HOW you swing (are you a flat-hitter, an aggressive top-spinner etc.) and your technique in general. Normal tennis-shoulder/-elbow problems are mostly generated from in-adequate techniques and/or over-use, i.e. having played too much. Now, I could then ask the question: “ If you are in a state of having an elbow or shoulder problem, is it then better having to swing faster with a lighter racquet or slower with a bit heavier racquet”?
So, as a conclusion to the question above, the answer is YES, “weight” does matter but maybe not where you thought it mattered. Too light a racquet is not always the way forward! More players have generated injuries playing with too light racquets compared to players playing with heavier racquets! Lighter racquets also “invite” players to make over-extended swings and wrist movements, which are not really intended for the tennis game…..
For children up to an age of around 11-12, special children racquets are used, which fit to the individual sizes during their growing years. At teenage stage, most juniors start to play with normal size/weight racquets.
If you want to know more about weights and your racquet etc., please ask the Tech Guys in the club.