I do convict conditioning as well. I went from close squats to pistols (woo, step 6 to 10 in one shot). I played with the one where you do a pistol with your foot on a basketball/soccer ball but I had balance issues. Anyway, I'd recommend holding a weight to counterbalance yourself; an excellent use for a kettlebell if you have one lying around. Try to keep getting lower and lower and sink into the pistol. The counterweight should help out with keeping your balance while getting progressively lower and lower. Try to think of it as PNF stretching to get all the way down. That way you get used to using your leg stabilizers to stabilize yourself instead of your upper-body.
Poke it quickly, with a stick.