When I first started benching for PL purposes I was tucking my elbows to the extreme. I learned this was wrong and got my elbows out more, but still benching to my belly. I had a USAPL meet and had to flare my elbows even more to touch my sternum. I am weaker this way.
I am wondering if I should make an attempt to touch my sternum on all benching, or just compete in feds that allow belly benching? I lift raw and it will probably be a while before I get into a shirt. I realize everyone is different, but I dont have arms so long that touching the bar to my sternum is awkward. or puts me in a bad position, its just not what Im used to. Or am I just overthinking the whole damn thing?
You aren't necessairly over thinking it, but you should choose the fed on what your goals are. I used to compete in the USAPL but my experiences in that federation were not enjoyable. The USAPL is an extremely strict federation, however some people enjoy that aspect as well as the USAPL being affiliated with the IPF.
I went ahead and went to multiply federations because they were a ton of fun! I love the atmosphere. The rules are a little different, but that's the way I enjoy it. This is a hobby after all and it should be fun.
As for your technique in the gym, it sounds like you're more of a tricep powered bencher, which I am as well. My arms are short enough though that I can touch my sternum if I need to, while still tucking.
If you choose to stick with the USAPL, keep practicing touching appropriatly in training. Otherwise you won't get as much carryover to your meets.